Thursday, September 29, 2016

LD2 House race: Ackerley must go

Here is some of AZBlueMeanie's analysis of the three candidates for LD2 House: incumbent Rosanna Gabaldon (D), Daniel Hernandez, and incumbent Chris Ackerley (R).

Ackerley is a math and physics teacher who runs on education issues. He is frequently cast by the media as a “moderate” because he is sane and occasionally departs from his party’s ideological leadership, e.g., referring to Governor Ducey’s and the GOP leadership’s budget for K-12 education funding and Prop. 123 as the “robbing Peter to pay Paul plan”; he was a sponsor of the bill to restore JTED funding slashed by the previous Tea-Publican legislature; he voted to restore KidsCare funding over the GOP leadership’s objection; and he voted against SB 1516, the GOP’s “dark money on steroids” bill, which was enacted into law.

Ackerley sponsored HB 2056, a bill to allow parents to opt their children out of the statewide assessments such as AzMERIT, the state’s rigorous Common Core-based standardized test, and Move On When Reading, the state’s K-3 reading program. The problem is, Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued an AG Opinion in October 2015 that parents of public-school students cannot opt out of statewide assessments. tests

Note: Ackerley also favors parental control of vaccinations. I challenged him on this one back in 2012 when he first ran for office. He seemed OK with, or did not understand the implications of, making kids walking disease factories. So the following is no great surprise to me.

But for the occasional headline grabbing departure from his GOP leadership, Ackerley otherwise votes with his GOP leadership. Leadership tolerates him occasionally going off the reservation in recognition of the fact that Ackerley has to do this to be electable in a Democratic district.

Ackerley voted with the Center for Arizona Policy on 8 out of 11 legislative priorities. Despite his interest in education issues, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) give him a score of only 20% on their priority issues. Incumbent Democratic Rep. Rosanna Gabaldón scored 100% (as did Democratic Senator Andrea Dalessandro). The Children’s Action Alliance gives Ackerley a score of 83% on its priority issues, but incumbents Rep. Gabaldón and Sen. Dalessandro both received a perfect score of 100%. The Sierra Club Report Card assigned Ackerley a grade of “F” on environmental issues. Incumbents Rep. Gabaldón and Sen. Dalessandro both received a grade of “A.” This is a big deal in a district where the controversial Rosemont Mine is opposed by many residents.

We need to elect both Gabaldon and Hernandez and thus reclaim the house seat in this Democratic majority district. Ackerley does not represent LD2. Give him the boot in November.

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