On February 18, 2013, Democratic Perspective hosted Frank Camacho, Communications Director of the Arizona Democratic Party. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, the former news anchor and political reporter, jokingly refers to the Arizona State Legislature as “the meth lab of democracy.”
In recent years, the legislature has lived up to that name.
We began our interview by asking Camacho about Democratic-sponsored bills on gun safety which have been denied a hearing by the Republican majority leader. “Both are common sense approaches,” said Camacho. “One would close the gun show loophole for background checks. The second would revive the program of school resource officers which was cut a few years ago.”
According to Camacho, Majority Leader Andy Tobin is upset because the bills’ Democratic sponsor, Chad Campbell, didn’t call him to tell him these bills were coming. “It’s childish when you consider what’s at stake,” Camacho said.
Another of the important issues facing the legislature is the expansion of Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act proposed by Governor Brewer. “It caught everyone by surprise,” said Camacho. “The expansion would result in a 10 to 1 return on Arizona taxes. 50,000 Arizonans would get health insurance and it would help save regional hospitals because 1 in 5 Arizonans lack insurance,” he continued. “It’s the bill that most affects Arizona’s economy and future.”
During the wide-ranging interview, we covered numerous other topics, including potential candidates for the 2014 state-wide elections, the possibility that Brewer could run for a third term and the prospects of Arizona turning blue. “Arizona is going to turn blue, sooner or later,” said Camacho, “but we have to provide people reasons to be Democrats. On the other hand, Republicans are giving people lots of reasons not to be Republicans.”
“We need to figure out why people are not yet Democrats. We have to let them know that Democrats are offering common sense solutions,” he stated.