GOP gubernatorial candidate Len Munsil has unveiled an ambitious agenda for his first 100 days in office if elected, but refused to offer details.
The sixpoint plan he released Thursday includes the standard Republican mantras of getting tough on crime, tax cuts and securing the state’s porous southern border. It also includes a proposal that some political experts warn would sharply weaken the state’s executive office.
If elected, Munsil would surrender the authority to appropriate more than $9 billion in federal funds to the Legislature, which for several years has repeatedly failed to wrest that power from the governor.
Munsil claims the change would bring more accountability to government.
But others caution it would not only weaken the office but jeopardize much of the funding that pays for things like roads, education and homeland security.
Wes Gullett, the chief of staff for former Republican Gov. Fife Symington, said most federal money is earmarked for a specific purpose. If it was left to the Legislature, that money could end up some place else.
Gullett, a Republican who recently crossed party lines to endorse Napolitano, said the move also would make it harder for the governor to be an effective leader.
“Arizona already has a weak executive (branch) and when you weaken it further, it would really make it hard for the governor to do their job,” he said. During the Symington administration, lawmakers passed several bills attempting to take away the power, but each time it was vetoed.
Gullett went on to say that Munsil likely offered this proposal in exchange for endorsements. “I’m sure he made some concessions,” he said, referring to the more than 30 endorsements Munsil received from state lawmakers in the primary.
But officials with the Munsil campaign disagree with the argument that letting the Legislature control spending of federal funds would hurt the office.
“I think Len Munsil believes the legislative process is the best way to appropriate the money,” said Nathan Sproul, a campaign consultant. Munsil, a longtime conservative activist, revealed his agenda to a Republican Party that appeared united as several key state lawmakers who endorsed Don Goldwater in the primary pledged support for Munsil.
Sen. Thayer Verschoor, RGilbert, and a Don Goldwater supporter, said he now supports Munsil even though he believed that Goldwater was more qualified to solve the state’s illegal immigration problems.
“I think (Munsil) can shore up the border. I think that’s going to be a huge issue in this campaign,” he said after the news conference.
During the conference, Munsil didn’t elaborate on the details of this plan,
saying he would release more specifics as the campaign moves forward.
• Secure the border by deploying more troops and enacting sanctions against employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
• Improve education with better teacher pay and more school choice.
• Reduce crime by appointing “conservative” judges.
• Cut taxes and wasteful spending.
• Protect children and families.
• Reform government and stop politics as usual.