Updated: Mar 1
Arizona Republican Candidate for Governor Talks with the Pinewood News
A note to our readers:
Politics matter. Elections matter. Politics affect our everyday lives, even when it isn’t an election year. The quality of our lives and our safety is directly impacted by political decisions made at the state and federal levels.
Because getting unfiltered political news is critical to voting in the best candidate, the Pinewood News is diving into politics for the first time in twenty-nine years. Yes, our teeny-tiny-hyper-local newspaper of Munds Park is jumping into politics to bring our community unfiltered interviews with candidates and politicians that affect our everyday lives.
We are starting with the Arizona race for governor. We will go directly to the candidate, interview them in person whenever possible, and print their words without a filter so our readers can decide for themselves.
Grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and take the time to read what our candidates have to say.
Kari Lake, former Fox 10 News anchor for over 20 years, left a successful career to run for governor. Recently endorsed by President Trump, Kari Lake is Arizona’s leading Republican gubernatorial candidate. She is outspoken, unafraid, and willing to fight for Arizona and common-sense conservative principles.
Genna and I sat down with Kari for a face-to-face interview and spent almost an hour talking about issues facing our state. Read what she has to say, and see what you think.
Q. We have one of the worst school systems in the United States, ranking a dismal 48. Currently, Arizona spends $10,000 per student, about $5,700 less than the national average. The unions and politicians all scream from the rooftops that we need to spend more on education—That money is the answer. However, private and charter schools are educating their students for less, and they are doing an exceptional job.
If money isn’t the primary factor for an excellent education, what do you think is?
A. We spend 13 billion dollars on education. That’s 55% of our budget. So when people say we are not spending enough on education, that’s just not true. That’s not the problem. We can’t expect to throw money at a problem and get results.
When you look at a teacher’s salary over time, their salaries are pretty much flat once you factor in inflation. But if you look at the administration’s salaries, their wages have shot way up. Too many administrators are on staff, and I don’t think any administrator should be making more than teachers, other than the principal.
We have too many administrators, we’re paying them too much, and not enough money goes into the classroom.
My father is a teacher, and my nieces are teachers. We need to talk to the teachers, especially those working in public schools. We need the teachers to tell us which requirements and mandatory testing are actually working. The teachers are the ones that know. They are the ones in the classroom.
Finally, we need to look at the curriculum. The curriculum has become a political agenda. It’s CRT and anti-American history rather than teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic in our schools. As a result, we are churning out kids ill-equipped for the world, with a skewed vision and opinion of our country that is not accurate or fair for our kids.
So, I don’t believe in throwing more money at the problem—I am all about funding the student. If parents find out their school is teaching CRT or not doing a good job, they can pull their kids out and move them to another school, and the funding follows that student. Competition between schools for Federal funding is the best way to get schools to shape up. We need to have educational freedom.
Q.What about the teacher’s unions? They will fight you on this.
A. I am going to take them on. I think the public wants to take the unions on too. The teacher’s unions don’t give a damn about the teachers, and they don’t give a damn about our students, and they hate the parents. They are working against us and poisoning our future. Our children are our future. Even if you don’t have kids, education is important because we will be hiring them, and one day, they will be taking care of us.
Also, regarding Arizona’s ranking of 48, I don’t believe that is true. These are numbers pumped out by the Teachers Unions to panic parents and make the argument for more money. If you dig into the stats, you will find other states with the same ranking*.
You can’t compare apples to oranges. It’s not easy to compare private and charter schools with public schools. We are also a border state, and we have kids who are not proficient in English. So you bring those kids into the class when we’re trying to catch them up, and you will naturally see lower test scores. It’s hard to learn math and science when you are not proficient in English. It’s a tough stat to come up with and challenging to rank our schools properly.
*I took Kari’s advice and dug further into the school rankings. I found that Louisiana, Idaho, and Alaska also rank 48. Each report looked at different factors, but each ranked their schools at 48.
Q. How can the State support and increase the number of trade schools to meet the ever-increasing need for skilled labor?
A. Our educational system is not serving our country or our economy well. We have math, science, and literature requirements but no requirements for preparing our kids for life outside of school. We’re preparing everyone for college; we need to prepare kids for work.
We have students coming out of college with a ton of debt, and they end up with low-paying jobs. Kids can actually come out of high school making $80-$90 thousand a year if we prepare them properly in the trades.
We need to rethink education, and I think there is an appetite for it now because of what we’ve been through these last two years. We can work with the legislator and the Superintendent of Public Instruction to make some big moves and reimagine how we are educating our kids so they can hit the ground running when they turn 18.
On Health Care
Q. Most small business owners cannot afford health care for their employees. The available plans are extremely expensive for inadequate coverage. More Arizonans would have health benefits if small businesses had access to affordable plans. Is this a federal issue, or can you solve this problem as governor?
A. This is primarily federal. Obama Care is a complete disaster. What we need is an open market and introduce competition. We don’t have that right now. We need to repeal Obama Care and start from scratch. President Trump wanted to do that, and the Democrats would not work with him. Our own Senator John McCain gave a thumbs down on it. I believe President Trump would have given us better healthcare options, but John McCain torpedoed that.
I have no idea when healthcare will be brought back up again. There are a lot of fires to put out, but I am willing to work with the legislature on any issues that will help Arizonans.
Q. Most of our homeless are mentally ill or addicted to drugs and alcohol. Generally speaking, they are not people who are temporarily displaced. They need care. They also need off the streets.
I know this is a complex issue, but how do you begin to solve this problem?
A. I am glad you mentioned that. I believe I am the only candidate with a policy on homelessness—It’s coming out in a couple of days. We are releasing our policies every two weeks. Our first one was on the border because that’s our most critical issue right now. How can you address drugs on the streets when drugs are pouring in at record numbers? Joe Biden has turned control of our borders over to the narco-terrorist. And so, my first policy was on how to protect our borders.
Regarding the homeless issue, I am proposing a comprehensive approach that involves providing real treatment and support to people willing to accept it. They will have beds, treatment, support, and hope. Those who refuse will find something else entirely: a state that simply isn’t willing to tolerate their abuses any more.
So we’re going to solve the issue and provide more beds for the homeless. As long as there are beds, we can’t have homeless on the street.
Q. What about the homeless that want to live on the streets? They don’t want a curfew or any rules, so they prefer the streets.
A. As long as you have a bed, you can outlaw city camping. You can’t outlaw homelessness—if you don’t have a home, then you don’t have a home. But you can move the homeless from the streets to a bed, and if they refuse, then there can be an arrest. We’re going to have to take a tougher approach. We can’t allow what is happening in LA, San Fransico, Portland, and Seattle to happen here in Arizona. They are dead cities now. Shops are shutting down, and no one wants to go there. I am not going to allow Arizona to turn into a bunch of dead cities because of terrible city leadership.
We won’t look the other way while people are shooting up drugs, we also will not legalize drug use on the streets. We’re going to take a tougher approach. It’s actually the compassionate thing to do. Is it kind to enable drug addiction and prolong their misery? Or is the compassionate thing to do is say, look, sit down. We’re going to get you help. You can no longer go down this path. You’ve got to get help, and here is the help.
We’re no longer going to cater to junkies that want to live on the streets. They get help, or they are subject to arrest.
On Reproductive Rights
Q. You are unabashedly Pro-Life. Do you support overturning Roe v. Wade? If so, do you believe there are exceptions for an abortion?
A. I am pro-life, and I support overturning Roe Vs. Wade. Personally for me, I do not believe in exceptions for an abortion. I believe all life matters. However, if a mother’s life is at risk, then, of course, there should be an exception.
On Growth in Arizona
Q. Arizona is growing fast, especially with the mass exodus from states like New York and California. You mention that some states, including ours, grow too fast without considering our limited water supply and housing.
How will you balance growth while protecting our resources?
A. That’s a good question because I believe we will grow even more, especially as states around us begin to crumble under radical leftist policies.
We talk about water issues all the time. But you cannot regulate your way out of a drought. What we see happening from these regulations is that our agricultural communities are getting the short end of the stick, and the fields go fallow.
We need to start looking at bringing in new sources of water. That’s why I have been pushing D-Cell Water. We need to bring in new water sources and ensure the regulations are not hurting our farmers. We will soon end up in a food crisis, and I am not talking years down the road.
Q. Do you have any ideas on how to make housing more affordable?
A. With California’s lack of governorship and lower quality of life, Californians are flooding our state. They sell their average looking home in California from $800,000 up to a million dollars, and they can plop down cash for the above asking price here in Arizona. They are simply outpricing us. So we have a housing crisis, and I think we should treat it as such.
Q. So what does that mean—a housing crisis?
A. That means we can pull out all the stops to help our developers build homes. The cities put so much red tape in permitting that it slows building down. If we can cut red tape, we can build more quickly. That doesn’t mean we cut safety inspections — we don’t want shotty housing. We simply want to streamline the process.
I’ve talked to homebuilders, and they said 25% of the cost of a new home comes from the excessive amount of permitting and regulations. We need to build houses, and we need to do it fast. As a State Government, we need to help our builders do that for the people. We need housing for the workforce.
The other part of the issue is that we love to draw business to Arizona. Growth is good. However, when you bring a large company in from California, scrape the desert to make room, and offer tax incentives to bring them to the Valley, then we should expect them to hire some Arizonans and not just transplants from California. When looking at deals like this, we need to consider the side effects for Arizona.
I want to attract businesses to Arizona, especially for our smaller communities. Bringing 100-150 jobs to a facility in Williams, Arizona, will be equivalent to 5,000 jobs coming into Phoenix.
Q. Will you protect our deserts and forests from urban sprawl? For example, can we entice developers to rebuild parts of our cities that are in decay rather than encroach on our untouched land?
A. We don’t own much of that land; most of our land is owned by the Federal Government. If you look at a map of our state, you will see there is not a lot of private land available. You can’t go into Sedona or Munds Park and scrape a little piece of land out to develop. Most of the land is already accounted for by the Feds.
I’d actually like to claw back some of the land from the Feds, to be honest. The cities could use more land for growth and development. We are starting to see a lot of infill where they are taking a blighted property and working to improve it, but we need more space.
I loved President Trump’s economic policy, and I want to bring that to Arizona—His America First policy. He had Opportunity Zones that the media never covered, but they really were a bright spot. You could take your capital gains earnings and pump them into struggling neighborhoods that are not attracting interest. Opportunity Zone’s allowed for tax savings and lifted up struggling neighborhoods.
We want to create the same program in Arizona. It’s similar to Trump’s Opportunity Zones, but it won’t be limited to just struggling neighborhoods, we want to encourage that, but we want to bring back manufacturing from China. China has taken our economy, and we’re going to take it back. We will encourage manufacturing to come back and set up shop in Arizona. I am talking about the essentials. When COVID hit, it was shocking to see bare shelves. We shouldn’t be relying on the evil scourge on the earth, communist China, for our PPE and medicines. I frankly don’t trust them to produce our medicines.
Here’s the deal. I don’t have all the answers. No politician does. I love this state. I have lived here for 27 years. I drove here in 1994 from Idaho and felt like I had arrived. Arizona is the most amazing place in the world. I still think it is. However, I feel like we are declining a bit, and I want to ensure our state stays a great place to live.
On The Younger Generation
Q. Kari, many adults, have lost faith in our government but remain hopeful. I think our hope comes from experience. We’ve lived through good times, and we’ve witnessed nobel leaders outside of the history books. We still have pride in America.
What do you say to young adults who have lost faith in not only our government but our country?
A. They have been taught that way. They have been indoctrinated K-12 and through college. What’s not taken care of through the schools, the media will take care of through propaganda.
Personally, I am so encouraged. I actually got goosebumps. We have a movement with our campaign—it’s mainly young people.
In the last two years, our young adults have realized just how bad our government is. They didn’t get to go to prom, go on a date, or walk the line during graduation. Everything was taken from them during what should have been some of their best years by tyrannical policies that hurt them.
Our young adults are awake, and they like that we are taking our government back. The government belongs to the people, and the government we have been experiencing is heavy-handed. We are the ones who are in charge.
They know what good leadership is. They can recognize it. It’s showing strength, having courage, knowing right from wrong, and doing what is right with no fear.
Even with Kyrsten Sinema, someone asked me what I thought of her the other day. First of all, I have known her for many years. I think she is a nice person; I just disagree with her on probably 99% of her policies. But she is strong, and that is what people want. They want to know that you are a strong leader.
That’s what Donald Trump did. He inspired people to be strong, take the hits and do what is right for the people.
I feel a real movement here in Arizona. I really believe we’re going to set things right.
I will be the first governor in a long time that is genuinely working on behalf of the people of Arizona. I don’t have a donor class and my special interest group is Arizona. Young adults are seeing this, and I think this is why we have so many young interns on our campaign.
And that’s it, folks! I had more questions on border security, keeping Arizona safe, election integrity, the economy, and bringing the left and right together. Kari gave us a generous 50 minutes of her time, but we got caught up talking with her, and we ran out of time.
For now, for the question I missed on the border, I’ve pulled her plans for border security from Kari’s website. The topic is too important to leave out.
Secure the Border - Finish the Wall
As Americans, we welcome all legal immigrants into our country, but what we have now is a security and humanitarian crisis. International criminal cartels are fully in control of Northern Mexico and have turned the flood of people wanting to get into the United States into just another lucrative revenue source to be exploited – they are raping, ransoming, and extorting some of the most vulnerable people in the world, and they won’t stop until we stop them.
That’s why I am committed to finishing the wall. I will not let this suffering continue.
As governor, I will direct the Arizona National Guard to deploy along the border and assist Border Patrol for as long as it takes to get control of this disaster. Additionally, while our Department of Public Safety doesn’t have a direct role in immigration enforcement, they are a frontline resource in combating sex and human trafficking and drug smuggling. I will expand and redeploy elite elements of DPS to our border to coordinate a massive increase in our efforts to stop these evils. Further, trespassing is a crime, and another area where DPS can take a leading role in addressing illegal immigration as many crossers traversing private land.
But we can go further, I will empower Arizona sheriffs to deputize Arizonans, including retired law enforcement, military, and others with critical training, to assist DPS in enforcing the law and securing our border. Additionally, I will allocate state resources to assist in funding these programs as well as provide hiring and retention bonuses to our law enforcement agencies to help address their staffing shortages.
While the Biden administration may turn a blind eye to all the crime and suffering illegal immigration is bringing with it, we will not. We will enforce our laws every time, without fail. And we will keep the pressure on Washington.
For more about Kari’s vision for Arizona, please visit www.KariLake.com.