The Goldwater Institute has issued a statement against a proposed statewide smoking ban — a move its namesake likely would not back.
If legendary Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona were alive, he would favor a smoking ban, his son Barry Jr. told the Tribune last week.
"My father was not a smoker, and he hated cigarettes,'' said Goldwater Jr., a member of the institute's board of directors.
The institute said the plan by Rep. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, is based on "shoddy science" that doesn’t support the danger of secondhand smoke.
The ban also would be an attack on property rights, according to the institute's Jan. 15 statement.
The institute's board does not have authority over the think tank's standing on issues.
"We're entirely . . . confident that we are promoting public policies in Arizona based upon the principles that Barry stood for, which were limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility,'' institute spokesman Tom Jenney said. Others are not so sure.
Wilfred Potter, chairman of the Scottsdale For Healthy Smoke-Free Workplaces, took issue with the think tank's stand.
He and Leland Fairbanks, retired physicians and members of Arizonans Concerned About Smoking, met last week with Jenney and Mark Brnovich, the institute's constitutional government director, who wrote the release.
"I'm very much opposed to the fact that the Goldwater Institute would be representing something that Barry Goldwater himself would not support,'' Potter said.
Potter said he has proof Goldwater would have disapproved.
Goldwater wrote a letter dated Oct. 3, 1985, responding to Potter's request to support a ban in government buildings.
"You will be pleased to know I support an even stronger solution to cigarettes,'' Goldwater wrote on U.S. Senate letterhead.
Goldwater said he was co-sponsoring a Senate bill to "prohibit smoking in all public buildings, not just government buildings.''
"Cigarettes are no favorite of mine, and I do not smoke,'' Goldwater wrote.
His son, however, said he supports the institute's stance.
"They are opposing it on the basis of property rights and the right to use your property however you want it,'' said Goldwater Jr., who added that he's kicking the habit.