by David Safier
We LD-26-ers certainly remember Pete Hershberger as our moderate Republican state rep who was chased out of office by the right wing that took over his party. Al Melvin beat him in a Senate primary, and the rest is part of our shameful history.
Hershberger is still a Republican and still a moderate, the kind of guy you can disagree with on some issues and agree with on others, always knowing his opinions are based on something we in the reality-based universe refer to as "facts."
All this is leading up to a wonderful letter Hershberger had published in the recent issue of the Explorer (where I write a monthly column). He's responding to an op ed by Richard Brinkley complaining that Barber and his supporters are lying about Jesse Kelly's record. Hershberger's letter is succinct enough, I can't excerpt it, so you can read it all below.
As Mr. Brinkley pointed out last week—character does count in politics. Unfortunately, Mr. Brinkley’s column was riddled with factual inaccuracies, misleading arguments and ad hominem attacks. As a lifelong Republican, I know that I won’t agree with Mr. Barber on everything, but I do know that he and his campaign have presented his positions in detail and with factual basis.
If we are concerned about character, let’s at least be honest about where these candidates stand. If we disagree with them, let’s disagree—but the issues that Southern Arizonans are facing are too important to let this election devolve into a personal back and forth. We should examine the candidates’ positions on the issues that matter most to us here in Arizona.
With all that said, here are the facts:
On multiple occasions, Jesse Kelly has stated his support for the so-called FAIR Tax. This is a 23 percent national sales tax that would—according to the non-partisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy—raise taxes on middle class families by an average of $3,806 per year.
Jesse Kelly has stated many times that he wants to eliminate the minimum wage—at a time when many Arizonans rely on one and sometimes two or three minimum wage jobs—just to scrape by.
Jesse Kelly has said over and over that he wants to eliminate, privatize, or phase out Medicare and Social Security. For perspective, there are currently 933,435 Arizonans on Medicare and the 753,962 Arizonans who are depending on Social Security.
Jesse Kelly has stated that he would eliminate the federal Department of Education—which provides school loans and funding for our students here in Southern Arizona. Losing that funding for our schools will mean more teachers are laid off and even larger class sizes.
If Mr. Brinkley thinks that these statements are attacks on his candidate of choice, perhaps he should rethink his support. Because simply re-stating long-held views of a candidate isn’t an attack. If these statements reek of insulting policies that Arizonan’s can’t afford, maybe the honorable thing for Mr. Brinkley to do is vote for Mr. Barber.
Pete Hershberger, Oro Valley
Hershberger, I should add, has officially endorsed Ron Barber, along with former Mayor Bob Walkup, current Tucson Council member Steve Kozachik and many others Republicans.