August 19, 2004
Candidates in different political races — a longtime Scottsdale lawmaker and a newcomer to politics — took turns criticizing socially conservative Rep. Colette Rosati in a Tribune-sponsored debate Wednesday.
In a wide-ranging videotaped forum featuring Republican state Senate and House candidates from District 8, Sen. Carolyn Allen and House hopeful Royce Flora frequently sparred with Rosati, saying the lawmaker is out of step with Scottsdale voters and represents radically conservative ideas.
Rosati defended her positions, saying that her fellow legislators and challengers — and most of the state’s Republican lawmakers — betray the party by voting for liberal spending programs and social causes.
The hourlong forum showed clear differences in the candidates’ positions on illegal immigration, abortion, education spending and the budget.
Held at Scottsdale CityCable 11 studios, the forum is scheduled to be replayed several times before the Sept. 7 primary election.
Challenger Robert Ditchey, an Arizona National Guardsman, is aiming for Allen’s Senate seat. He trumpets himself as a more conservative choice.
Flora is trying to win one of two open seats in the House. Reps. Michele Reagan and Rosati were elected in 2002.
District 8 covers most of Scottsdale, Fountain Hills and Rio Verde.
Rosati said lawmakers passed a bloated budget last session, paying for such items as light rail and full-day kindergarten programs.
The oft-heard rhetoric about an irresponsible budget is overblown, Reagan
"It was a budget that provided basic government services, funded education, increased education spending and still didn’t raise taxes," Reagan said.
The debate about budget issues hit a crescendo when Allen accused Rosati of reading notes from one of her conservative campaign advisers.
"She has to find her notes that Constantin Querard gives to her because without them, she can’t speak for herself," Allen said.
All of the candidates but Rosati supported the recently adopted full-day kindergarten programs, though several candidates, particularly Allen, said the state needs to find a dedicated funding source. Rosati said the program is not a wise use of taxpayer money.
Rosati and Ditchey supported what’s known as the "informed consent" legislation, which would require women to wait 24 hours before undergoing an abortion.
"We are talking about the decision of ending a life," Ditchey said. "Is 24 hours too much to ask?"
Allen, Reagan and Flora opposed such legislation, saying government should not meddle in private matters.
Rosati and Ditchey also support Proposition 200, an initiative that would require proof of citizenship to vote and would require local and state governments to verify legal residency before extending public benefits.
"We are talking about fraud; we are talking people that are not citizens of the United States; not citizens of Arizona; not taxpayers often in Arizona, yet they want access to health care," Rosati said.
Allen and Flora said the initiative is rooted in separatism, while Reagan said the initiative would be ineffective.
District 8 debate on TV
On air: Wednesday’s videotaped debate among five candidates in the District 8 state Senate and House races is scheduled for replay nine times on Scottsdale’s CityCable 11. The schedule:
Saturday: 2, 6 and 9 p.m.
Aug. 28: 2, 6 and 9 p.m.
Sept. 4: 2, 6 and 9 p.m.
Note: The Sept. 4 replays may be pre-empted if coverage of the Aug. 31 City Council meeting runs late.