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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Editorial: Gov. Brewer should govern as pragmatist, not GOP partisan”

    There’s a secretary of state who’s causing a major stir in Arizona politics -ÿand we don’t mean Sen. Hillary Clinton.

    With the announcement of Gov. Janet Napolitano’s ascendancy to President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet, Jan Brewer, Arizona’s secretary of state, is set to be our next governor. A veteran of Arizona politics with 25 years of experience in her pocket, the Glendale-based Brewer is a fairly consistent Republican whose views are far removed from Napolitano’s on nearly every issue.

    Napolitano has been a staunch supporter of abortion rights who hasn’t hesitated to veto anti-abortion bills; Brewer once co-sponsored legislation that would have required parental consent for minors. Napolitano has been working with other Western states like California to institute climate change policies; Brewer hasn’t shown any particular interest in the subject.

    That’s why the announcement has sent some Arizona Democrats into panic mode. Some of them are even begging Obama to grant Brewer a federal post so that the job would go to Arizona’s Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Democrat.

    We imagine that the new president’s response will sound something like “”Thanks, but no thanks.”” Or, as the Phoenix Business Journal put it, “”it is unlikely Obama’s transition team will focus much on the machinations of Arizona politics.””

    There’s something that ought to trouble all Arizonans about the prospect of a Republican in the governor’s office until 2010. With Republicans already in control of the state legislature, the change threatens to effectively turn Arizona into a one-party state.

    Yet there are signs that Brewer could surprise us. The Journal deemed Brewer’s record as secretary of state largely “”nonpartisan,”” and she’s taken strong stands on voting reform and helping the homeless. It doesn’t mean she’s a closet Democrat, but it does indicate that she’s not an ideologue who can’t work across the aisle – of whom, unfortunately, Arizona has more than a few on both sides.

    When it comes to immigration, Brewer is more of a business-oriented Republican, advocating tougher policies but generally opposing stricter regulations on businesses that hire illegal aliens. That’s a stance that might lead her to clash with legislative Republicans, many of whom want to see those businesses punished.

    When Brewer takes her new position next year, she’ll be under enormous pressure from the state legislature to follow their lead. She should resist that temptation.

    Arizonans didn’t elect Brewer to the governorship, they elected Napolitano. We can’t reasonably expect Brewer not to vote based on her personal principles. But for Brewer to spend the next two years governing as a strict partisan Republican would be a betrayal of the voters’ hopes. She doesn’t have that mandate.

    On the other hand, with the state facing crushing deficits, a governor with a sensible distrust of excessive spending could prove to be an asset. Brewer will find herself facing the same dilemmas Napolitano would have faced over the next year. We hope she’ll remember that in a time of crisis, there aren’t “”liberal”” or “”conservative”” positions on matters. There are only solutions that work and those that don’t.

    Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Andi Berlin, Chris Carter, Justyn Dillingham, Lauren LePage and Lance Madden.

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