From the 1950s throughout the 1970s, Arizona was synonymous with conservatism. While this hasn’t been the case for decades since, a new group of leaders, together with a new generation of leadership, is quickly restoring Arizona’s prominence within the conservative movement.
First and foremost, the new change is led by Arizona’s new governor, Jan Brewer. Brewer is among the most competent chief executives anywhere in the nation and one who is most in touch with the needs of the electorate. The strong record of fairness and achievement that she garnered as a legislator over her 26 years in public service is surpassed only by her proactive leadership and the original, yet common sense, solutions that she brings to the table on various issues across the board.
Brewer is exactly what we need in government: a small business owner who has consistently brought an array of common sense solutions to the forefront. In the early 90s, she was among the first legislators in the nation to recognize the harmful effects of violent music lyrics on teenagers (such as increased delinquency, truancy, substance abuse, etc.), as she proposed proactive measures to limit their availability to those under 18.
Jan Brewer’s reputation for fairness was first noticed as far back as 1988. When Arizona was in middle of impeaching then Gov. Evan Mecham, Brewer blasted his performance while arguing against impeachment. Her unique style was not appreciated by those less discerning, but her reputation for making thoughtful decisions and of being an effective advocate for the positions she chose to advance was established.
Brewer’s common sense approach made her a national leader in election reform. As Arizona Secretary of State, she revamped the state’s entire voting system, streamlining it to be fair, effective and transparent. Even the minor steps that she took, such as moving primaries up a week, helped assure a fairer counting of ballots and gave officials time to properly address and rectify election challenges.
As governor, Brewer has made several bold moves. One of her first was to drop Planned Parenthood (the former eugenics based society, first named the “American Birth Control League,” whose workers still coerce indecisive minors into having abortions – as many of its former workers have personally attested) from a state sponsored health fair. Brewer has also recognized the valuable work that pro-family organizations play in society, such as the Center for Arizona Policy. She is living up to her reputation of putting children first, while also restoring that same level of common sense to the economic realm by keeping taxes low and encouraging new business to come to the state.
That is not the end of the story. While a new and vibrant governor sits at the helm of the state’s power base, conservatism is furthered by the unending and heroic efforts of emerging Arizonan leaders within the movement.
One of these up and coming leaders is someone I met first hand when he was sent to Florida to direct a countywide McCain office - Clint Van Wuffen. One of the GOP’s best organizers, Van Wuffen was quickly catapulted from volunteer, to office director, to county director and by midway through the campaign, was touring the nation and founding groups such as Bikers for McCain as an official member of the McCain-Palin team.
Van Wuffen is a down the line common sense conservative who can defend and articulate his views with sincerity. He’s a hard worker who’s well organized and is an inspiring leader, one who people want to work with. Most importantly, he’s exceptionally community minded and has recently founded the Hope Animal Foundation to assist owners with medical expenses for their sick pets.
With leaders like Governor Brewer and Clint Van Wuffen, Arizona seems poised to once again be a bastion of conservative leadership. And the kind of leaders that Arizona is turning out isn’t just good for Arizona. They’re good for America.