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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    David and Goliath: Regents nomination hold smacks of partisan politics

    You might not have realized it, but you’re in danger of losing your representation in state government. And for purely political reasons, too.

    Friday, the Arizona Daily Wildcat reported that the Arizona State Senate is holding up the nomination of UA pre-education senior David Martinez III to the Arizona Board of Regents. That might not mean much to the average student, until you consider what Martinez will be responsible for if he’s confirmed.

    The board of regents is the governing body of Arizona’s three state universities, charged with everything from setting tuition to establishing curricula and courses. While it’s probably not well known by students, the board exercises enormous influence over our everyday lives.

    As a non-voting student regent, Martinez will be tasked with representing both Arizona students in general and UA students in particular. Under state law, he’ll have all of the rights and privileges of a board member during his first year, and he’ll win the right to vote on board decisions in his second year.

    Unfortunately, Martinez’s nomination has hit an unnecessary obstacle. Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Higher Education held Martinez’s nomination with little or no explanation, though Martinez suspects that it has something to do with his political activities here at the UA.

    “”In conversations with a lot of different people, it is my involvement in the transgender committee,”” Martinez told us yesterday, referring to a campus committee that seeks to expand protections and rights for transgender individuals at the UA. “”Also, if you do a basic (Internet) search on my name, you’ll find that I have a lot of involvement with the Democratic Party.””

    Sen. Tom O’Halleran, R-Sedona, the chairman of the Higher Education Committee, indicated yesterday that Martinez’s work on the transgender committee “”is not a concern of mine, but I think David needs to make sure he is able to explain (to other senators) any positions he has had in the past.””

    Martinez, for his part, is playing the good nominee, conceding that some senators have “”legitimate concerns”” while avoiding the fact that this reeks of a political hit. That’s all fine and well – Martinez would have little chance of being confirmed if he were to call a spade a spade – so allow us to cut through the euphemisms and doublespeak: there’s nothing to this but pure politics.

    It’s not a matter of qualifications; Martinez boasts an impressive rǸsumǸ. He’s held posts for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona (elections commissioner), the UA Young Democrats (president) and the UA Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Office. What’s more, he represents an area of the state – southern Arizona – that is woefully underrepresented in the state’s Phoenix-centric decision-making.

    Instead, some state legislators seem bent on blocking Martinez’s nomination because of his political ties and involvement with the transgender committee. That’s a curious stance, especially since those activities would seem to benefit a nominee to the board of regents. There are few people, after all, more qualified to serve on the governing board of higher education than a student who has extensive experience serving on committees related to higher education.

    Sen. O’Halleran indicated yesterday that “”whether (Martinez’s) nomination goes before the committee next week depends on his conversations with the (objecting) senators this week.”” Martinez will undoubtedly do well. But his nomination should never have been blocked in the first place, and the objecting senators would do well to lift their hold before their motives are exposed for what they really are – petty politics.

    Opinions Board

    Editorials are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Damion LeeNatali, Stan Molever, Nicole Santa Cruz and Matt Stone.

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