PHOENIX – Forty candidates running for state office in Arizona have promised their constituents that they will protect their individual rights. Incumbents and challengers from almost every county and legislative district also promised to vote only for budgets that are balanced and to reject policies that benefit just a handful of people or businesses.
“The Arizona Constitution opens with the plain language mandate that the purpose of government is to protect and maintain individual rights,” said Starlee Rhoades, vice president of external affairs at the Goldwater Institute. “The candidates who signed this pledge have publicly declared they will fulfill their primary duty to the constitution and the people of this state.”
In 2008, the Goldwater Institute asked candidates for elected office to sign a pledge to open the hidden recesses of government to public view. Over the past three years, the Arizona Legislature has passed laws requiring state and local governments to post their spending checkbooks online. The laws passed in recent sessions, drawn from Goldwater Institute recommendations, will make Arizona governments some of the most transparent in the nation.
The Institute’s new pledge encourages elected officials to focus on their core responsibility of protecting the individual rights of citizens and respecting the boundaries given to the government in the Arizona Constitution. On July 1, the Goldwater Institute asked every candidate for state or county office in Arizona who will appear on the ballot in the primary election to sign the Individual Rights Protection Pledge. Approximately 15 percent of all candidates running for governor, the Legislature and other state offices have signed the pledge so far.
Only a handful of candidates who have signed the pledge are incumbent officeholders. Ms. Rhoades said this reluctance to support the principles of the state constitution reflects what has happened in recent years at the state Capitol. “Many of our current elected representatives have shown they are unwilling to govern based on the principles in the Constitution, like balancing the budget without gimmicks and treating all taxpayers equally,” Ms. Rhoades said.
The Goldwater Institute is an independent government watchdog supported by people who are committed to expanding free enterprise and liberty.