Arizona governor candidate Republican Doug Ducey is a big fan of Christian nut job Cathi Herrod and the Center for Arizona Policy or CAP???
Most people don't even know who Cathi Herrod is, but she runs the Center for Arizona Policy which is a group that is pretty much intent on turning Arizona into a Christian Theocracy. And sadly Cathi Herrod and the Center for Arizona Policy have been very successful at getting the Arizona legislator to pass their bills into law.
Social issues influence governor's race
Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, The Republic | azcentral.com 6:45 a.m. MST October 8, 2014
Abortion, religious freedom and marriage rights haven't dominated the competitive governor's race, but whoever occupies the executive tower for the next four years almost certainly will grapple with such social issues.
Democrat Fred DuVal, 60, a former Clinton administration staffer, lobbyist and Board of Regents chairman, has made those issues part of his campaign's rallying cry as he blitzes the state with a message that includes marriage equality, women's rights and an end to "ugly political score-settling" with divisive legislation such as Senate Bills 1062 and 1070.
As he campaigns, Republican Doug Ducey, 50, the state treasurer and former Cold Stone Creamery CEO, has tried to steer clear of those topics, saying they distract from his economic message. But he's been confronted with questions about why he put Cathi Herrod — architect of controversial social legislation through her presidency with the Center for Arizona Policy — front and center in his campaign even before he officially declared his candidacy.
While Arizona's most controversial social policies have generally originated in the state Legislature and the courts have had the final say, the governor is the gatekeeper. As the state's chief executive, the governor holds the veto stamp and has historically used it to push back on legislation deemed too far outside the public interest.
No other issue exemplifies the gubernatorial contenders' contrasting views on social issues more than SB 1062, which would have offered a legal defense for individuals and businesses facing discrimination lawsuits if they could have proved they acted upon a "sincerely held religious belief." Critics say the bill would have instead legalized discrimination, and, on Feb. 26, after corporate America rose up against the bill, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed it, saying it did not "address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona."
DuVal declared his opposition to the bill on Feb. 21, the day after lawmakers passed it. He posted on Facebook he would have stopped the bill from reaching the governor's desk. On Feb. 24, he joined a rally against the bill outside the state Capitol and announced through a bullhorn that Brewer should reject the legislation. He has remained consistent in his opposition to the legislation and any similar legislation in the future.
At the same time, on Feb. 21, Ducey said he would take time to read the bill before taking a stance. A day later, he said as governor he would veto SB 1062 "but would then bring together all the interested parties before this legislative session adjourns to forge consensus on acceptable language protecting religious liberty."
Ducey has refused to say how he would handle similar legislation if it comes before him next Legislative session.
In a Center for Arizona Policy candidate questionnaire, Ducey answered that he supported "protecting individuals and businesses from being required to provide services or use their artistic expression in a manner that violates their moral or religious beliefs." The question, like SB 1062, deals with increased protections for people based on their religious beliefs.
Ducey said Tuesday he thought the Center for Arizona Policy's religious-protection question was related to the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, in which the court ruled corporations with religion-based objections can't be forced to pay for insurance coverage of contraception.
The candidates' positions on abortion and marriage reflect their party's long-held platforms. But SB 1062, which opened a rift in the Republican Party, has put Ducey in a difficult spot. The Center for Arizona Policy, the most influential Christian conservative lobbying group in the state and author of SB 1062, tends to return with its legislation until it passes. The organization will not discuss its plans for the upcoming session.
To win, "Ducey can't rely solely on Republicans, he has to rely on independent voters," who tend to be younger and more liberal on social issues, said Rodolfo Espino, an associate professor at Arizona State University's School of Politics and Global Studies. "That is why, when he talks about some of this stuff, he automatically moves it back to the economy and education. It's, 'Let's not talk about this stuff any more.' "
But those issues will be unavoidable for the next governor. During her five years as governor, Brewerhas frequently considered questions touching on religion, abortion and same-sex partnerships.
Brewer and state lawmakers tried unsuccessfully, for example, to eliminate health coverage for the domestic partners of state and university employees, most of whom are same-sex couples.
Employees sued the state and got the law halted; the case is still moving through the courts.
On abortion, Brewer signed what at the time was the most restrictive abortion law in the country, prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks. The courts also halted that law.
DuVal and his campaign have tried to cast Ducey as a "hardcore social conservative" who has embraced and validated some of the most divisive voices in Arizona and the Republican Party. They point to Herrod, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
DuVal has also seized on donations Ducey's family foundation has made to the Center for Arizona Policy, saying his financial support of the center, and relationship with Herrod, signal that he would "breathe new life" into SB 1062 and other legislation she wants to advance.
Ducey Family Foundation tax documents show the foundation has donated $2,000 to the Center for Arizona Policy in recent years, but hundreds of thousands more to Catholic organizations and various other causes, some that benefit children and battered women.
Ducey's campaign has not attacked DuVal over his stances on social issues. Instead, it paints hm as a big-spender whose "credentials in job creation or matters related to the economy are largely non-existent."
'Matters of conscience'
DuVal, an Episcopalian, says many social issues are "matters of conscience for me. I soul-search, reflect on my faith, my Constitution."
On abortion, DuVal says he believes women's "reproductive choices" have been eroded "year in, year out" and that would end if he won the governorship.
"I believe that women's reproductive choices are for women to make, in consultation with family and physicians," he said.
He favors allowing same-sex couples to marry, saying his family has experienced the pain of marital restrictions. He has an uncle who "lived in the shadows of shame" with his partner, whom DuVal did not meet before his uncle passed away. A cousin lives happily in a civil union with her partner in Delaware.
"I am, as a matter of culture and faith ... pro-marriage and I believe we should have more of it — the more the better," he said. "Marriage equality is good for loving couples and is good for society and is good for our economy — it's good to have an inviting, inclusive place for us to draw talent, and marriage equality is right as a matter of law, and a matter of human rights."
DuVal, who is comfortable talking about these social issues, says he seeks advice from a variety of close advisers and friends, including the Rev. Phillip Jackson, of Christ Church of the Ascension, former Republican Attorney General Grant Woods and Sheila Kloefkorn, who serves on the national board of the Human Rights Campaign.
"Fred and I, we've had long talks together on spiritual growth and development and some of these hot-button issues and he brings his faith, his relationship with Jesus into this process," Jackson said. "Fred will do that with everything he's faced with as governor."
Woods, a friend of DuVal's since high school, said DuVal "has a had a lifetime of standing up for non-discrimination," and would take that philosophy to the governor's suite.
"He's a guy who doesn't have a mean bone in his body," Woods said. "He's been way ahead of, I think, the country on issues related to sexual orientation, and for that matter, issues related to civil rights in general."
'What I'm going to govern on'
Ducey, a Catholic who attends St. Patrick's Catholic Community, addresses social issues only when directly asked, and frequently pivots to a broader message about "economic opportunity."
He has said he favors "traditional marriage" but added the issue isn't one that will be decided by a governor. In his candidate questionnaire with Center for Arizona Policy, he answered he opposes "government granting unmarried domestic partners the same employee and health benefits as married couples."
Ducey is anti-abortion, answering in his survey that he supports "prohibiting abortion except when it is necessary to prevent the death of the mother." He touts his endorsement by Arizona Right to Life political action committee.
He is less forthcoming on religious-rights issues. During a meeting with The Arizona Republic editorial board last week, he was asked how he would approach abortion, religious freedom and marriage. He responded by saying he wanted to talk about "what animates my campaign" — the economy and education.
"I'm focusing on the issues that bring people together and build broad majorities," Ducey said. "I believe what I believe, but to me, I think the area for opportunity in this state are on those two issues, in addition to projecting our state outward, in terms of I'm proud to live here."
When told there was still confusion about how he would act on future religious-rights legislation, he referenced his prior statement that he would veto SB 1062 and added that he's been married for nearly 24 years and that he and his wife, Angela, don't agree on every issue.
"But we found a way to work together," he said. "I don't agree with everyone in my coalition on every issue. I'm campaigning on what I'm going to govern on."
Asked how he would act on legislation similar to SB 1062, he said, "To say that I'm going to veto something that I haven't read, is just — or sign something that I haven't read — I don't think is good policy for any chief executive."
He added, "I don't know that legislation has to put us unnecessarily in the national spotlight." When asked what was objectionable about SB 1062, he said, "I don't think it was necessary."
Ducey says his beliefs and principles guide him on most issues. When he needs guidance, he calls former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, a conservative on social issues.
Ducey's campaign said he also seeks advice from people like Republican Lea Márquez-Peterson, president of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Lisa Graham Keegan, an independent voter and former schools superintendent.
Márquez-Peterson said she has not given Ducey advice on social issues. She hopes Ducey would veto bills such as SB 1062, which she says "would hurt the economy."
Keegan, who mostly advises Ducey on education issues, says she has told Ducey of her support for marriage equality and reproductive rights.
"It's very clear he's a committed Catholic and he follows that doctrine," Keegansaid, but seeks advice from others because "he's a thoroughly decent human being who wants to understand. Sometimes, all you can do is try to plant a seed."
Herrod downplayed her role in Ducey's campaign. She played up his "pro-life and pro-family" positions.
"The advisory group is just symbolic of the broad coalition that Doug Ducey has pulled together," she said. "It shows that he's willing to listen to people from different segments of the policy arena in Arizona."
She said Ducey, as governor, would "pull people around the table and develop a consensus when there might be disagreements," among advisers.
Most of the lawmakers who have endorsed him are among the Legislature's most socially conservative, consistently introducing bills written by the Center for Arizona Policy.
Herrod would not say whether she will push another version of SB 1062 this session, or how Ducey would act, if elected: "I will make no speculation at all. The issues raised by 1062 are real issues. But I have no speculation on what will happen next."
Republic reporter Alia Beard Rau contributed to this article.