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2 August 2016News
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Our View: Justin Olson wants to fix a do-nothing Congress (and we should let him)

Editorial board, The Republic | azcentral.com 3:58 p.m. MST July 29, 2016

Watch the interview here: http://azc.cc/29zN2aD

Endorsement: Matt Salmon may have picked a successor for his seat. But there’s a better candidate in this race.

When U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon announced his retirement, he took the unusual step of naming Arizona Senate President Andy Biggs as his preferred successor.

But there’s a better Republican candidate in this race. His name is Justin Olson.

Olson hasn’t been in the Arizona Legislature as long as Biggs, but he exhibits the kind of leadership our state needs in Congress.

THE LEADERSHIP CONGRESS NEEDS

He’s transparent, for one. As appropriations chair, Olson set up town halls across the state to gather public input on the budget. That’s more than can be said of the Senate under Biggs’ leadership, which held only one public hearing this year. Biggs has long preferred to negotiate the fate of millions in taxpayer money behind closed doors with a select few.

Olson also has the ability to compromise. Where Biggs became a single-man blockade on restoring KidsCare funding, a program which with he personally disagreed, Olson worked with moderate and conservative Republicans in the House to move it through.

Olson, a staunch fiscal conservative, also joined forces with moderates and Democrats to reform extracurricular tax credits, which disproportionately benefit rich schools and can’t be used for classroom needs.

Biggs, to his credit, always meets with the media, even those who have disagreed with him. But some of his colleagues have said he can be vindictive behind the scenes, particularly to those who have questioned his decisions.

Trust us: Congress doesn’t need any more of that.

A CUT ABOVE THE OTHERS

Though Stapley more closely mirrors our stances on immigration and education, we simply can’t look past how he spent money in a campaign fund set up from 2004 to 2008 to run for an uncontested, volunteer position with the National Association of Counties.

Some of the donors had business before his board, and Stapley spent most of their contributions on personal items, such as trips and luggage. While none of that broke the law, it raises red flags about how Stapley would conduct himself in Congress, where eager lobbyists are all too eager to bankroll lawmakers.

Jones, who doesn’t live in the district and continues to market herself as an anti-politician, exhibited a tin ear on the issues during a meeting with The Republic’s editorial board. She touted technology policy as a top priority and something on which she would focus, given her past experience lobbying Congress for technology laws.

That’s nice, but there are far more pressing issues facing Congressional District 5 and the nation. We wonder how effective she would be in resolving them.

OLSON’S AGENDA IS THE RIGHT ONE

Olson, on the other hand, comes with a clear agenda: The former policy analyst wants to get the federal purse back in order. He wants to positively change the direction of a do-nothing Congress.

And – this is refreshing – he’s the only one of his opponents who openly admits that he wants the job. He doesn’t say he’s running because others asked him to or other such nonsense. He’s running because he wants to represent the East Valley in Washington, and he has vowed to work hard at it.

We believe him – and Republican voters should, too.