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Goddard, Reagan Clash on SB 1062 in Secretary of State Debate

Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer

The debate Tuesday night for secretary of state was supposed to be about qualifications to be the state’s chief election officer. But, as Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports, it turned into a discussion of religious discrimination.

It started over why Republican Michele Reagan voted for SB 1062. It would have allowed owners of businesses to cite sincerely held religious beliefs as justification to refuse to provide service to some. It eventually was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer. While the legislation did not affect voting, Democrat Terry Goddard said the issue was one of civil rights which he said is tied closely to voter rights.

“If the secretary of state is not making it clear to all the citizens of Arizona that they’re going to be absolutely fair in the execution of the voting laws, that every vote is counted and every individual is equal, the message that goes out is going to have what we have today, which is a rapidly decelerating number of people participating,” Goddard said.

Reagan admitted her support of SB 1062 was a mistake. But, she said Goddard was participating in what she called hyper partisanship by making an issue of one vote out of perhaps 10,000 she cast in 12 years as a legislator.

“Let’s blow them up and try to make people angry. And let’s try to look backwards. And let’s try to upset people. And that’s the kind of stuff that turns people off from politics, from public policy, from government, the exact opposite of what a secretary of state or secretary of state candidate should be doing,” Reagan said.

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