LD-6 Senate Candidates Sylvia Allen (R) and Bob Thorpe (R) went to Texas last week to get their marching orders from ALEC. LD-6 Senator Sylvia Allen (R) and LD-6 Representative Bob Thorpe (R) went on what was likely an all-expense-paid trip to Austin, Texas for the ALEC conference at the luxury J.W. Marriott hotel, according to The Phoenix New Times. The Facebook timeline for Senator Allen (who is chair of the Arizona Senate Education Committee) showed public posts of her experience at the conference, including at least one misspelling of a U.S. Cabinet Member’s name.
What is ALEC?
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) a right-wing think tank whose purpose is to influence state legislators. The work goes beyond influence to writing bills which is often submitted word-for-word by Republican legislators. According to NPR, over the years the group has helped usher in laws including mandatory minimum sentences, California’s three-strikes law and Stand Your Ground. In 2015, The Phoenix New Times reported ALEC “has been behind numerous bills to reduce corporate regulation, strengthen voter suppression efforts, promote gun rights, and decrease the power of unions. Arizona’s anti-immigrant Senate Bill 1070 bill was modeled on ALEC legislation, as was Florida’s “stand your ground” bill.”
What are Allen and Thorpe doing in Austin?
Thorpe never tells us what he’s up to; however, Senator Allen gave us a glimpse of some of the things she’s being indoctrinated with. On August 14, she posted on Facebook that she attended an energy briefing that told her “must not allow regulations to be the road block [sic] to producing oil and gas.” Not surprising given ALEC’s ties to the Koch Bros and other oil and gas billionaires.
Also that day, she posted that, in talking with her constituents, she was told that she must “explain have [sic] Democrats [sic] socialist principles will affect them personally.” We look forward to hearing her views of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and on Trump’s proposal to cut the payroll taxes that support those important Democratically-enacted systems which are the lifeblood of the communities she supposedly represents.
Trump’s had two years in office, but the international “experts” at this conference are still blaming Obama for China’s power in Asia according to Allen’s Facebook posts.
We can be sure that Thorpe will bring back a stack of prepared bills to dump in the “hopper” at the beginning of the next legislative session just as he’s done through his terms in the Arizona House. Like the one to prevent college students from voting where they live. And the ones stripping local control from cities and towns.
In 2020, we need to elect Democrats who will take their marching orders from their constituents.