Meet Our Candidates: Terry Goddard for Arizona Secretary of State

The Arizona general election will be held on November 4, 2014. Reproductive health care access has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who have shown strong commitment to reproductive justice. To acquaint you with our endorsed candidates, we are running a series called “Meet Our Candidates.” In order to vote in the general election, you must register to vote by October 6 — and can even register online. Make your voice heard in 2014!

Terry_Goddard 2014[T]erry Goddard is running for Arizona secretary of state — one of eight executive positions that are open during the 2014 general election. This seat is currently held by Ken Bennett, who is barred from running for re-election under Arizona’s term-limit restrictions. As attorney general under Gov. Janet Napolitano and Gov. Jan Brewer from 2003 to 2011, state director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1995 to 2002, and four-time mayor of Phoenix from 1983 to 1990, Mr. Goddard is no stranger to Arizona politics.

The secretary of state is the first in line to succeed the governor in the event of removal from office, and primarily serves as Arizona’s chief election official. In a time when states are actively working to mandate strict voter registration laws to disenfranchise voters under the guise of minimizing voter fraud, it is essential that Arizona elect a secretary of state who understands Arizona from the ground up. As secretary of state, Mr. Goddard will ensure that we all retain our right to vote for individuals who will serve on our behalf and protect our basic human rights.

Mr. Goddard was kind enough to talk to us on September 22, 2014.

“One of Arizona’s greatest strengths is our diversity. We should celebrate it, not demonize it.”

Tell us a little about your background.

I am an Arizona native and ASU College of Law graduate. I am proud to have served on active duty in the U.S. Navy. I retired as a commander after 27 years in the Naval Reserve.

I was elected mayor of Phoenix four times, serving from 1983 to 1990. In those years, the city greatly increased citizen participation, expanded and modernized law enforcement, revitalized downtown, and set up nationally recognized programs in economic development, the arts, and historic preservation. During that time, we worked closely with Planned Parenthood to control potentially highly disruptive demonstrations at clinics and protect the rights of women patients.

I was elected attorney general in 2002 and reelected in 2006. During my eight years in office, I received praise for protecting consumers and fighting transnational organized crime. I made significant progress in attacking drug cartel money laundering, seizing approximately $20 million and negotiating a historic $94 million settlement with Western Union. After over 50 years of inaction by Arizona authorities, I started a comprehensive effort to investigate and prosecute allegations of spousal and child abuse in the town of Colorado City on the Utah border in northern Arizona. In 2010, I received the Kelly-Wyman Award, the highest recognition given by my fellow attorneys general, in recognition of my work fighting border crime and consumer fraud.

I’m running for secretary of state to bring my experience and reputation for excellence in public service earned as Arizona attorney general, mayor of Phoenix, federal housing official, CAP board member, and teacher to the job of protecting Arizona voters from election fraud, including fighting back against anonymous dark money.

How would you like to bolster the public’s trust in the election system and make voting in Arizona more open to all citizens?

Arizona ranks 45th nationally in voter turnout, and more and more eligible voters in our state feel their votes don’t matter. Independents face additional challenges to voting, and so-called reform legislation like HB 2305 would have made participation even more difficult. That bill, fortunately stopped by the voters of Arizona who signed referendum petitions leading the cowards in the Legislature to repeal it rather than face justifiable wrath at the polls, actually threatened to make voting by mail even harder for Independents. It also would have virtually extinguished any chance for a Libertarian to run for office, and would have made citizen initiatives much more difficult.

Rather than developing new ways to make voting harder, as my opponent state Sen. [Michele] Reagan did by supporting and defending HB 2305, the secretary of state ought to do more to encourage our fellow citizens to vote. That starts with using the federal HAVA funds (Help America Vote Act) to expand voting centers, providing additional polling places where there were lines last election, especially on college campuses, and taking all politics out of the office whether it is in the form of candidate endorsements or political stunts like investigating the President’s birth certificate.

Perhaps most important, the secretary of state must take action to stem the tide of anonymous, corporate “dark money” flooding into our state and trying to buy our votes. Voters rapidly lose confidence in a system of elections where the chief elections official is seen working actively and publicly to support one team, and it is very hard to think one’s vote has value when, because of the lack of transparency in political contributions, the voter has no idea who is really supporting one candidate and opposing another. I would eliminate the “dual ballot” system of elections, which has been horribly expensive, confusing to voters, and improperly denies voting rights to United States citizens. I would do everything possible to eliminate the extra steps not required of the major party members that Independents must take to vote or to run for office.

During her last term as state senator, representing the 23rd legislative district, your opponent, Michele Reagan, voted for HB 2284, which permits the health department to inspect abortion clinics without a warrant. What do you think about this new law?

HB 2284 was an unnecessary piece of legislation deigned to harass health care providers. The Health Department had the right to inspect clinics whenever they wanted with an easily obtained court order — a step that was never tried until the bill was pending in the Legislature — nor was there any evidence of health risks requiring this change.

The special privacy rights and requirements of patients of the Planned Parenthood clinics deserved at least the minimal level of protection from unannounced inspections provided by the warrant process. Because of the inordinate power one special interest group wields at the Capitol, our legislature, and specifically state Sen. Reagan, wasted time and money passing this bill — a solution in search of a problem.

Michele Reagan also voted in favor of SB 1062, the infamous bill that would have given business owners the right to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals based on religious beliefs. How would you work to make Arizona inclusive of all of its residents and visitors?

Legalizing discrimination is a reprehensible idea. SB 1062 never should have passed the Legislature. The dangers to the LGBTQ community and to Arizona’s economy were obvious to all who cared to look.

Again, one special interest organization cracked its whip and legislators like state Sen. Reagan fell in line. Nor did she ask for a governor veto as many in her party did after the dangers of the bill were fully explained. One wonders how someone who voted to approve discrimination against a large group of our fellow Arizonans could possibly oversee our elections in a fair and impartial manner.

If elected secretary of state, I will treat all voters exactly the same. I will work as I did as attorney general, mayor of Phoenix, and in my personal life to treat everyone the same regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or political affiliation. One of Arizona’s greatest strengths is our diversity. We should celebrate it, not demonize it.

On your website, you identify SB 1062 as the kind of bill that leaves Arizona open to “National ridicule.” In contrast to bills like that, what kind of beneficial legislation would you like to see signed into law, and why do you think it is important to fight for it?

I believe that Arizona, having gained the reputation as the Cayman Islands of dark money, could become a national leader in exposing the sources of this anonymous, corporate money, which is flooding our state, something that in just a few years has cast a dark cloud over our entire election process.

I’ll use my experience prosecuting the drug cartels who laundered their drug money to go after the dark money organizations and fight for full disclosure of all political contributions. My full plan for going after dark money can be found on my website.

I believe with new leadership, Arizona can once again be the inclusive and innovative national leader it was when I was growing up here.

As a parent of a son in public school, what do you think of the importance of including scientifically accurate, age-appropriate comprehensive sex education in the K-12 curriculum?

I view the need for medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education as a public health issue. Unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and other complications arise at a much greater rate when our children and young adults are not given the necessary and appropriate information. Parents who prefer to give such instructions to their children may opt out, however, one way or the other every child should have the opportunity to receive sex education before engaging in sexual activity.

Why do you think it’s important that people make their own health care decisions?

The ability to make one’s own health care decisions in consultation with a health care provider is a right that should not be infringed. The government should not interfere in this deeply personal activity. The personal, religious, or political views of lawmakers, or the special interest groups that far too often control them, should not dictate what choices Arizonans have when it comes to health care or what options they have in consulting the medical professional of their choice.

Why was it important for you to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona?

As a former advisory board member of Planned Parenthood and a lifelong supporter of women’s reproductive health rights, I value the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona endorsement and look forward to continuing to work with members of Planned Parenthood to protect the rights of all Arizonans.

To learn more about Terry Goddard’s background and platform, visit his website (haz click aquí para español). You can also like him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter at @TerryGoddardAZ!

You can also contact us if you’d like to volunteer for any of our endorsed statewide candidates, or an endorsed candidate in your legislative district.