Wendy Rogers: Wrong for AZ Senate

Legislative District 6 Deserves Better than This Republican

Character and competence are on the ballot this year, a proposition applicable to all campaigns, including state and local races. However, as right-leaning Arizona Daily Independent News Network notes, Wendy Rogers, the Republican candidate for State Senate, cannot run on the issues “because she doesn’t know them.”

Instead, Rogers parrots worn-out slogans and hollow arguments, bullying, labeling, and belittling those who have had different life experiences from her own or who hold different values. She repeatedly refers to anyone who does not share her self-constrained worldview as “the radical left,” “socialists,” and “Marxists.” She compares modern Democrats to Stalin and Mao, and panders to fear and the false patriotism that debases the American flag by using it to cloak racism and xenophobia.

Voters in LD6, however, are smarter than that and they deserve better. They are resilient, hard-working, and kind. They understand that the world is rapidly changing, and that much is uncertain in how we respond to public health crises, our battered economy, the faltering education of our children, and the degradation of our environment. They understand that it is necessary to face challenges with courage and imagination. They welcome inclusion and collaboration, confident that the best decisions – the most effective solutions to our problems – are made when everyone has a seat at the table, a meaningful opportunity to be heard and participate in decision-making, and a full and honest explanation of the reasons why any particular decision is made.

Sadly, Rogers not only does not comprehend the magnitude and complexity of the problems facing LD6, she does not understand the need to come together, with open hearts and minds, to solve our problems and thrive.

Rogers Advocates for Public Education Cuts

It’s telling that with Arizona running at the bottom on all states in educational funding and achievement, Rogers places education dead last on her website’s list of issues in this campaign. And, she says nothing to indicate she understands the most basic facts about public education in our state. Even after years of devastating state cuts that have resulted in greatly increased class sizes, low teacher retention, and reduction of full-day kindergarten to half-day, Rogers has called repeatedly for funding cuts.

As for higher education, Rogers believes that all universities should be privatized and that any student loans should be granted by private schools, not public funding. Even though her own daughter attended a public university (ASU), Rogers would deny that opportunity to others.

Despite COVID-19 hazards to students, teachers, and staff, and their household members, Rogers has argued for full return to the classrooms with little regard for the extent of community spread of the virus nor the need to employ safety precautions. Indeed, Rogers’ Facebook page ridicules the necessity for physical distancing and the use of protective shields to separate student desks.

Public Lands

Rogers’ platform calls for the elimination of federal stewardship of our National Parks and National Forests, claiming that the Founding Fathers “would never have allowed this to happen.” Of course, it was a Republican President, Teddy Roosevelt, who started the formation of our National Park System. As for National Forests and BLM lands, the State of Arizona would have to vastly increase taxes if it alone were responsible for the maintenance of these forests and properties.

Rogers Calls for Full Repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Rogers, like Trump, supports complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), including provisions requiring health insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. Anywhere from 19% to 50% of all people in the United States under age 65 have pre-existing health conditions that would put them at risk for losing their insurance coverage and/or expose them to much higher insurance and healthcare costs.

Keeping Faith with Oath Keepers, Far-Right Extremists Associated with the Militia Movement

On her Twitter account, Rogers proudly proclaims her membership in Oath Keepers, an anti-government organization that trades in baseless conspiracy theories and paranoia. While Oath Keepers welcome all rightwing extremists, it recruits current and former military members, police officers, and firefighters.

Oath Keepers subscribe to the theory that the United States, through evil forces, is becoming subsumed into a global governance regime, and will at some point, attempt to use its military and law enforcement agencies to enforce a New World Order. Oath Keepers thus engage in a variety of militia-type activities, including patrolling cities riven by civil unrest over racial injustice, guarding unarmed military recruitment offices, acting as security during public lands disputes, and advocating for constitutional sheriffs.

Rogers Traffics in Fear: A Quick Review of Her Social Media Posts

This month, Rogers called for a suspect to be “put down” at the scene of a crime without due process as though this human being were a mad dog. While waving the Constitution, she ignores it.

Rogers’ pride in her Oath Keepers membership is in complete alignment with her fear-based campaign. Everywhere she looks, Rogers sees athletes kneeling to disrespect the flag, not athletes using their First Amendment Rights to call to attention to systemic racism and police brutality. Rogers supports Trump’s efforts to compel the teaching of white supremacy propaganda. Like Trump, she seeks to conceal the harsh realities of slavery and America’s long history of racial and ethnic discrimination and violence, and what that has meant for our history and ongoing cultural development. To provide for public safety, Rogers would bring back former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his Tent City prisoner “concentration camps.” Rogers finds all immigrants uniformly lazy and evil, with no comprehension of America as a country of immigrants, nor of the economic and cultural contributions immigrants make every day and have been making for hundreds of years. She is enthralled with Trump’s border wall, gushing over its “beauty” and cannot see it for the symbol of fear, hatred, and cruelty that it is.

Women’s healthcare, including reproductive healthcare, are perceived as anti-life, requiring a total ban on abortion and necessitating the closure of all Planned Parenthood services. Rogers reflexively supports Trump’s “Born-Alive” Executive Order, bringing cruel and unwelcome federal-level interference to the most painful decisions that parents and doctors face when there is no hope for a newborn’s survival.

Rogers is “pro-gun” as though the inanimate objects themselves have some sort of absolute right, without consideration of the rights and responsibilities of gun owners and the needs of communities for programs that would provide some measure of safety from irresponsible owners. And despite the lack of any evidence whatsoever, Rogers believes that Trump has won Nobel Peace Prizes.

The most cursory review of her Facebook page shows, as even right-leaning media concluded, Rogers does not know understand the issues and is unwilling and unable to learn about them.

Rogers Cannot Be Trusted to Safeguard Social Security and Medicare

In her earlier failed campaigns, Rogers called Social Security unconstitutional and supported calls to phase it out or privatize it. She has also called for privatizing Medicare as a voucher program. More recently, Rogers claims to support Social Security. Either way, Rogers’ commentary on Social Security and Medicare shows little comprehension of the critical importance of these programs in keeping older Americans from falling into poverty and to prevent reducing both the length and quality of their lives.

Rogers Espouses Despotic State Control, Not Responsive Local Solutions to Local Problems

When it comes to local government, one size does not fit all. Local governments should have the ability to craft and tailor public policies and programs to meet the needs of their communities. Rogers, however, has little regard for elected county supervisors, mayors, councilmembers, and local officials, not only belittling them as “tyrants,” but also finding them utterly useless, having “no business imposing on free people who already have a duly elected legislature and governor.”

Lies and Deception: the Underpinnings of Rogers Campaign

On July 18th, Rogers claimed that she had 1,313 Arizona donations and has taken no money from lobbyists or PACS. “No one owns me.” (Interview with Jeff Oravits on July 18). In a letter to the editor published in the Arizona Daily Sun shortly after, Rogers repeated the lie, “I am not backed by any PACs, lobbyists or special interests. 100% of my donations come from conservatives and Trump supporters, and most of my donations are $5 – $50 just like President Trump’s.”

This is blatantly false. “Defending Rural Arizona” is a single-candidate super PAC in support of Wendy Rogers. Rogers campaign finance reports show that her donations come from conservatives and Trump supporters, including many large donations, the largest of which comes from Colorado billionaire Tatnall Hillman, heir to an industrial fortune, contributed $235,000 to Rural Arizona (Federal) PAC, which in turn contributed $200,000 to the Rural Arizona (State) PAC, which then spent $100,000 on Rogers’ behalf for mailers, radio ads, and signs. Moreover, according to the right-leaning Arizona Daily Independent, “more than $250,000 has been paid to Go Right Strategies of Orange Park, Florida for ‘professional consulting services.’  Go Right Strategies, whose president is Rogers’ nephew Spence Rogers, has received more than twice the total amount of money raised by the Allen campaign.”

Laughably, on her Facebook page, Rogers claims to be the “First Republican running for Arizona State Senate LD6,” even though there has never been a time when Republicans have not run for, much less held, the LD6 seat.

Rogers May Not Even Reside in LD 6

The Arizona Constitution explicitly requires in Article 4, Part 2, Section 2 that “No person shall be a member of the Legislature unless he . . . shall have been a resident . . . of the county from which he is elected at least one year before his election.”

After retiring from the military in 1996, Rogers and her husband settled in Tempe, where they purchased a large home and acquired a home-inspection business franchise. Rogers continues to maintain her Tempe home and operate her Tempe business. She also owns a small manufactured home in Flagstaff. But does that make her a “resident of the county” as required by the state constitution? In her unsuccessful 2010 state Senate campaign, Rogers ran as a resident of LD 17, situated in Maricopa County.

In fact, Gila County Republican Chair Gary Morris stated on behalf of the local party, “it’s the committee’s opinion that anyone with practical logic, and an open mind, can see that candidate Roger’s claim of a legitimate primary residency in Flagstaff is a scam. With much of the $400,000 in contributions coming from out of state, who will Rogers be beholding to?”

Conclusion

Felicia French has reached deep into all corners of LD6 to hear people’s stories and learn about their concerns. She is prepared by virtue of education, experience, and temperament to represent all residents of LD6 fully and fairly, and to work together with all residents and public officials to advance the public health, safety, and well-being of our district.

Wendy Rogers, on the other hand, is simply unfit to serve as State Senator.

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