On Tuesday, May 25th Phoenix.org was given the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with former Tucson city councilman Rodney Glassman. Mr. Glassman is currently running for Senator John McCain’s seat in the senate on the democratic ticket. During our interview we were able to discuss local Arizona issues such as the new immigration bill, border control, boycotts and education.
The team at Phoenix.org would like to thank Mr. Glassman for his time and hopes that you will enjoy the results of this interview.
If you are interested in hearing from local personalities or politicians then please contact Phoenix.org to suggest an individual to interview.
Now please enjoy the interview.
Phoenix.org: The response to the recent immigration law created by the state of Arizona has garnered national attention, with intense support as well as intense opposition. Do you think that Arizona made the proper choice with this law, if so why or why not? Do you have any ideas that you think would help Arizona deal with the issues that come with being so close to the border?
Rodney Glassman: Washington and John McCain have failed us. John McCain has been in Washington for 28 years and has really taken all sides of the immigration debate, while the problems have only gotten worse and the people of Arizona are searching for answers. The recent Arizona immigration law was created out of frustration. It is simply a rash attempt to score political points while not focusing on the issue, which is that immigration reform needs to be done at the federal level and it needs to be championed by our US Senator, who so far has refused to acknowledge the issue.
We are a nation of laws, we need to secure our borders and keep Arizona families safe, while at the same time we need to acknowledge that the economic realities of our county do not match our current immigration policies. Arizona cannot do it alone to solve the problem, it needs to be the federal government, we need to make sure that the US Senator that we elect from Arizona is someone who is able to bring all of the various stakeholders to the table together.
2010 and the immigration issue truly is about electing a consensus builder someone with a track record of solving problems; we need someone that can bring people together to move our state forward and champion immigration reform at the federal level. We do not need a US Senator that runs away from the issue. We need a US Senator that will tackle the issue. That is the kind of US Senator I plan to become.
Phoenix.org: Do you have any specific ideas that you think would help Arizona deal with the issues that come with being so close to the border?
Rodney Glassman: Well, first and foremost we need to secure the border which means using the appropriate resources. We hear time and again the concept of a wall. The reality is that in rural areas where no one is living a wall is simply a waste of resources. We need to utilize technologies, technologies like the kind that have been created and developed in Arizona, such as unmanned aerial vehicles which can monitor the border utilizing technology. Sadly and ironically we have had a US Senator that for the past 28 years has consistently said that he does not want to bring resources to the border, but we need to secure the border with the appropriate technologies.
Additionally we need to have a guest worker program that matches the economic realities of the state. We need to have the ability for individuals to come to Arizona to work and return home so that our agricultural industries, our restaurant industries, our tourist industries are able to function and we need to have a plan for the 11-12 million undocumented individuals that are already here. But in order to accomplish any of these things we have to have a senator that is a capacity builder, a senator that is willing to work with all the various stakeholders and my background is unique, having served on the Arizona Farm Bureau Board of Directors, having worked in the home building industry, having worked for a congressman that represents a significant segment of our Latino population. I have been endorsed and supported by a variety of stakeholders that represent a myriad of opinions in regards to the immigration issue and that is the type of person that we need in Washington DC and championing this issue.
Phoenix.org: Also regarding the immigration law, some local governments and organizations have been calling for boycotts on Arizona and Arizona based industries. How do you believe Arizona should deal with these actions from others?
Rodney Glassman: The reality is that in these difficult economic times Arizonans can’t afford a boycott. Arizonans are struggling with record high job losses and foreclosures. A boycott on Arizona really harms those who need the work the most. We have to be careful not to punish millions of Arizonans from the actions of a few leaders from the fringe. Arizonans truly want a fresh approach and are ready to work for new direction for Arizona’s future. While I have relationships and respect for some that have called for this boycott, the reality is that we need federal immigration reform and we need a champion that is willing to take that to Washington DC.
Phoenix.org: Some claim that there is a feeling of overall discontent in the air coming from the voters this election cycle. Would you agree with this assumption that voters are more upset this year then they typically have been in the past? If so, why do you think that is and how do you plan on dealing with this mentality as a candidate and possibly a US Senator?
Rodney Glassman: People and voters are frustrated sending representatives to Washington DC, like John McCain, who for 28 years forget the fact that they represent Arizona. Arizonans have a US Senator in John McCain that has built a very strong reputation by giving speeches in New Hampshire about what he does not do for Arizona. To have a US Senator like John McCain, who for the past three decades has spent time shifting positions and doing nothing to solve our problems, has created a significant amount of discontent.
Our campaign is unique in that I plan on raising a family in Arizona. I am the candidate that plans on bringing resources to Arizona, on creating Arizona jobs and supporting Arizona schools. And what Arizonans want is a US Senator who is committed to putting Arizona first and to moving our nation forward.
Phoenix.org: You have been discussing the issue of “water conservation” recently and you also have a degree in Arid Land Resource Science. Due to the desert nature of Arizona naturally the allocation of resources, especially water, is an important one. What are some of your plans or ideas that you want to see put into effect regarding water and other resource conservation?
Rodney Glassman: Arizona sits at the bottom of the Colorado river and therefore water and water conservation will continue to be an important issue for our state. As a candidate for the Tucson City Council I campaigned on requiring rainwater harvesting on all new commercial developments, gray water plumbing on all new homes and solar power water heating on all new homes. As I campaigned I not only received the endorsements of the Sierra Club and local labor unions but I also received the endorsements of the Tucson Association of Realtors, the Tucson Homebuilders Association and the Tucson Chamber of Commerce. So within two years of being elected to the city council I was able to bring all of the stake holders that are interested in conservation and development around the table together to make my campaign commitments realities. Additionally as the vice mayor of the city of Tucson I was invited to speak by mayors and councils across the state from Avondale to Mesa, and Sajarita, all the way north to Flagstaff, from Fountain Hills to Oro Valley and Prescott to Sierra Vista because they were interested in the concepts of sustainability that I have accomplished through consensus building.
The reality is that water conservation is not a republican or democratic issue, it’s an Arizona issued and at the macro level we need to do more as a state to leverage our renewable energy resources. The fact that the city of Portland received more solar dollars on an annual basis then both the cities of Phoenix and Tucson is wrong. This once again demonstrated that we do not have a senator in John McCain that is an advocate for bringing resources home or for championing Arizona’s future.
Phoenix.org: The state of Arizona, and even more especially the city of Phoenix, have recently both gone through a quite extensive bursting of a real estate bubble. This has left a lot of people owing more money on a mortgage than their house is worth and also caused a high level of foreclosure and vacancy rates. What do you think Arizona should do, if anything, to try to reduce the volatility of the local housing market? Do you have any advice for those that are struggling to hold onto their home?
Rodney Glassman: First and foremost we need a US Senator that cares about working families. Currently more that 50% of home owners in Arizona are upside down on their mortgages, yet they do not have a voice in the US Senate in Washington DC. For too long free-wheeling Wall Street practices fattened bankers wallets yet when the house of cards fell apart the American housing market fell apart too and Arizonans and homeowners across the country were stuck with the bill. We need a US Senator who is committed to stop playing political games and to hold Wall Street accountable. John McCain’s five largest contributors are the five largest financial institutions in the country. There is a sad irony when (Las) Vegas casinos are under more regulation then the bankers on wall street (which) have the power to negatively impact Arizonans and put them into the housing crises today.
The truth is that Arizonans need an advocate for working families, they need an advocate who is willing to demand that the banks return their phone calls, who is willing to champion bringing jobs to Arizonans, the best way to keep Arizonans in their homes is with a vibrant and strong economy and that will only come with a United States senator who is committed to getting Arizonans back to work.
Phoenix.org: On your website you mentioned your desire to improve our economy through a high quality education, you also mentioned your desire to “attract” and “reward” great teachers that will make a difference in the lives of their Arizona students. How do you plan on attracting and rewarding local Arizona teachers?
Rodney Glassman: We need to value teachers in Arizona for the great work they do and on the impact that they have on future generations. More and more of our smartest young people are heading off to make their fortunes in business as opposed to investing their educational career in improving the educations of others.
We need a US Senator that plans on being a customer of the Arizona educational system with his family. We need a US Senator that appreciates the importance of education and believes that it is a priority of our state and our country, to be investing in our schools. One of the first questions and business person asks when considering moving their business to Arizona is “Where are my children going to go to school? Are they going to receive a quality education?” Is there any better advertisement then to have a United States Senator who not only supports our local school system but is also a customer of the local system?
We need a champion for our educational system in the highest office in Arizona and that’s a US Senator. That means bringing dollars home from Washington D.C. so that Arizona does not have one of the highest student/teacher ratios in the country, it means connecting local businesses to local schools to make sure that there is a strong and vibrant relationship. Because quality schools have an impact on public safety, they have an impact on the quality of lives as Arizonans and they have an impact on our economic development as a state.
Phoenix.org: Immediately prior to announcing your run for US Senate you were a city councilman for Tucson, Arizona. How has your experience in local government prepared you for the ability to serve nationally as a US Senator?
Rodney Glassman: As a Tucson City Councilman and the Vice Mayor of the City of Tucson I was able to hone my skills as a public servant and as someone focused on constituent services. I often wonder just how spectacular our state would be and how spectacular our nation would be if every US Senator worked with their constituents with the same level of care and consistency and the same level of investment as a city councilman has. As a councilman I learned the importance of making commitments and of following through and of turning those commitments into policies. I learned the importance of being responsive and I built a track record on keeping my word, following through and on always answering my phone calls and my emails.
Those are the kinds of concerns that I hear as I travel across Arizona, that our current US Senator is not keeping in contact with his constituents, that he is not returning phone calls or answering emails and that frankly he is more interested in serving Washington DC then serving Arizona. I plan on being a United States senator that will work in Washington DC but will raise a family in Arizona.
Phoenix.org: Do you spend much time in the Phoenix metro area? When you do what are some of your favorite things to do and places to eat?
Rodney Glassman: Well, I was fortunate enough to meet a beautiful and intelligent Sun Devil while I was at the University of Arizona Law School. My wife’s parents live in Phoenix so for the past three years we have been spending a significant amount of time in the valley.
Some of our favorite places to eat in the valley are El Portal by the capitol building which has excellent Mexican food, as well as La Grande Orange which has great pizza. We also really enjoy BBQ from Honey Bears on Central. Of course, our personal favorite is home cooked meals with the in-laws. But everyday I have to remind myself to “eat responsibility” because after graduating from law school and passing the bar I made the decision to join the United States Air Force JAG Reserve CORE so I serve as an attorney in the air force, I am attached to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. One of the requirements that they had in order for me to get my commission is that I worked for about six months to take off 60 pounds. The Colonel gave me two choices, she told me that I could either grow 4 inches or lose 60 pounds and I chose the later.
Phoenix.org: Wow! Well I think you made the right choice. Rodney, do you have anything else that you would like to tell the readers of Phoenix.org?
Rodney Glassman: Two weeks ago the Tuesday election demonstrated that voters across the country are frustrated and tired of sending people back to Washington DC that don’t represent the states from which they come from. However, in Arizona something else spectacular happened and that was the passing of proposition 100 because with the passage of prop 100 Arizonans demonstrated that they are concerned with the future of their state and that they are willing to invest in education and that they are willing to invest in public safety because they want to improve the quality of life.
Our campaign, which people can learn about at RodneyGlassman.com, is a campaign that is committed to Arizona’s future, Arizona’s education, Arizona’s jobs and sustainability. I am the candidate that represents the next generation of Arizona leadership and I am a candidate that plans on being a champion representing Arizona’s future.