Gov. Jan Brewer said her Monday night visit to Sun City reminded her of why she entered politics.
“Hearing my own introduction kind of takes me down memory lane,” she said. “It reminds me of why I wanted to get involved in the first place. Coming to Sun City, it always feels like I’m coming home.”
Brewer spoke at the Quail Run Pavilion during the annual barbecue sponsored by the Sun City Republican Club.
Over the weekend, there was speculation that the event would be met with some supporters of Americans for Prosperity, which has been pressuring Brewer to sign several bills that the conservative organization is backing.
Brewer was not met with protests or criticism, though. She was greeted by a standing ovation and supportive contingent of about 100 Sun City residents. The Republican governor said her interest in politics was born from an interest in education, and education was the theme of the evening.
“A board meeting at the Deer Valley (Unified) School District was the start of my career,” she said. “Education reform was something I was concerned about then and, of course, it is something I am concerned about now.”
Brewer pointed out her plan to overhaul the system by which the state grades its schools, creating a single A-F grading system every school would be required to use.
“Parents will be able to go online and get that information for every school,” she said. “That puts parents in the driver’s seat when it comes to their child’s education.”
Right now, she said, it is clear most parents do not know how well their schools are actually doing.
“You can go across the state, as I have, and you will see nobody knows,” she said. “Everybody thinks their school is the best, their child’s teacher is the best, but the truth is we have a lot of failing schools. We need to gather all the data we possibly can and enable parents to make good decisions.”
Asked if she had made a decision on Senate Bill 1593, which would allow insurance companies licensed in other states to issue policies in Arizona, Brewer said she had not. That is one of the bills that Americans for Prosperity wants the governor to sign.
“That bill is on my desk,” she said. “Today, I signed about 40 bills into law and that took about four or five hours.”
As for border security, Brewer responded to one person’s concerns over the safety of Arizona residents even as far away from the Mexican border as the Valley.
“A lot of families are concerned, and it is unfortunate that these dangerous people have the run of our deserts,” she said. “It’s unfair, and the federal government needs to step up.”
Brewer did concede that the increase in National Guard troops at the border had made a big difference, and as a result she said she would put pressure on President Obama to keep them there.
“We cannot tolerate a reduction in National Guard members at the border, and we will not tolerate it,” she said. “We absolutely need to have the guard down there.”
Jeff Dempsey may be reached at 623-876-2531 or firstname.lastname@example.org.