Sunday, August 9, 2009

Rep. McComish's letter to Rob Haney regarding the Sanctuary City bill





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Arizona House of Representatives

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August 3, 2009

Mr. Rob Haney

Chairman MCRC

Dear Rob,

As you know, HB 2280 was defeated in the wee hours of the morning on July 1. The fact that this very complicated and controversial bill was first seen on the floor of the House at 5 am and had never had a hearing in the House is reason enough for it to be voted down. The fact that it was sponsored by Russell Pearce and dealt with the problem of illegal immigration is not reason enough for its passage.

A number of Republican members voted no because they thought the bill was flawed and there was no opportunity for it to be amended. Some were not present. (Considering the hour this is understandable.) Some Republican members voted yes because they feared the consequences of the vitriolic, bullying campaign that would surely follow a “no vote”.

Based on the experience of myself and others, their fears were justified. The rude, and sometimes vulgar, emotional rhetoric in the correspondence that followed was disgusting. I am pleased to say that many persons responded with an apology after I explained the facts of my decision to vote no on this bill.

In this environment, I would have expected the Chairman of our county party to play the role of peace maker, trying to unite those in our party who disagree on policy issues. Instead, you chose to side with those who were impugning the motives of sitting Republican Legislators and pile on with your own inflammatory speech.

I will quote some of your documented comments:

“Keep these folks in mind when elections roll around.”

“I am ashamed of our representatives.”

“The following Representatives voted against your God given unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and Property”.

“Give considerable thought before you support the following representatives in the 2010 Primary.”

“ …….committed repeated egregious Constitutional offenses.”

“”You have every right to favor one candidate over another in a Republican Primary”

Now, I am a strong advocate for free speech, and you are certainly entitled to your opinions and have a right to voice them. However, as our county party leader, by the very nature of this position, you have voluntarily placed some restrictions on that speech. For example, I believe that the County Party has some rules regarding endorsements that require 60% approval of the EGC. By implication, it would seem logical to me that 60% approval should be necessary before you, as the County Chairman, take sides in a public policy dispute between Representative Barto and Senator Pearce, to cite a recent example.

Public policy disputes are common amongst Republican Legislators – that’s how we get things done. It would be unwise indeed for a County Chairman to have the prerogative to harangue members on one side or the other whenever he felt like it. Perhaps what we need is a formal declaration of policy by the EGC as to what the conditions should be before any member or officer took official sides in an intra-party debate.

My opinion is clear: your job is to help elect Republicans – raise money, provide volunteers, provide other resources, etc. Perhaps even to “referee” and bring warring sides together when necessary. Surely it is not to exacerbate and make public a dispute among Republican family members. Character assassination, threats and bullying tactics are way out of bounds.

I am asking that you desist in such behavior and apologize to the aggrieved members of the legislature. If you cannot do that, you should resign your county position. That way you will have no encumbrances and can criticize whomever, whenever you want.

I know that Senator John Nelson shares my concerns with your actions; and I know that Representative Adam Driggs has contacted you about his concerns.

We have too many enemies outside the boundaries of our conservative Republican family. That is where our energies should be focused. I hope that going forward we can address our differences within the family in an amicable way and that you can play a positive role.


John McComish

Majority Leader

State Representative, District 20

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