In an extensive and PolitiStick exclusive interview with Dr. Kelli Ward, an Arizona Republican state senator taking on entrenched 79-year-old RINO Senator John McCain in the 2016 GOP primary, we discuss a variety of issues, including tax reform, illegal immigration and border security, the presidential election, the Article V Convention of States, and McCain’s sleazy campaign tactics.
Dr. Ward, a 46-year-old doctor of osteopathic medicine who is serving in her second term in the Arizona legislature, said that there are several reasons she’s running against John McCain, but “the main reason is that I think Arizonans deserve to have a Republican Senator that represents their values, which I consider our values. That’s the main thrust.”
Additionally, Ward said that as a wife and a mom, she “wants to leave this country a better place,” an American tradition and ideal she does not continuing with politicians like McCain in office. “I want to be part of the people that are helping things to happen, rather than the people who are complaining that things happen to them.”
Ward blasted the establishment-backed McCain for representing the values of the political ruling class and his cronies in Washington, D.C., over the values of the citizens of Arizona and said that he likes being called the “Maverick” for reaching across the aisle to side with Democrats.
“The problem is that he’s reached across the aisle so many times that that’s really where he should be sitting.”
Ward said that McCain has considered switching parties “at least two times,” and that she believes McCain was a Democrat before he moved to Arizona, but “he knew in Arizona that wasn’t going to fly.”
“We have a senator who, instead of representing Arizona’s values, has been censured by the Republican Party in Arizona. And that isn’t what we should have. We should have a representative of Arizona in D.C., not a representative of D.C. in Arizona.”
An August poll concluded that Kelli Ward would defeat John McCain in a head-to-head race, with Ward currently holding a nine percent lead, 45-36%. The other Republican candidate, small businessman Alex Meluskey, was not included in the poll. PolitiStick interviewed Meluskey earlier this month.
I asked Ward what her stance was on tax reform and whether she is for keeping or scrapping the current tax code and if she favored either the FAIRtax, a proposal that would replace the current income tax system with a national consumption tax, or a flat income tax versus the current income tax structure.
“I think we need to get rid of the whole gigantic tax code and go either toward a fair or a flat tax,” she said. “I’m a fan of the FAIRtax. My only fear is we won’t actually get rid of the income tax, even though I know that it’s part of the FAIRtax legislation, I still have that suspicion that we’ll be promised that we get rid of the income tax and we’ll end up with both,” Ward said, while explaining that she plans on releasing a specific tax proposal sometime after the first of the year.
Ward has been a huge supporter of the Article V Convention of States, a safety valve the Founders gave Americans as an emergency measure to reign in an out-of-control, power thirsty federal government like we have today. Under Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution, a convention can be convened to propose amendments to the nation’s founding document when requested by two-thirds of the states and is one of two ways to propose amendments.
“I’ve been part of the movement to bringing the states together to restore the proper balance between the states and states’ rights and this overreaching, extremely oversized federal government,” she said.
Ward said that she attended the 2013 Mount Vernon Assembly, now called the Assembly of State Legislatures, and described it as a “great corroboration between people in many of our states who think that the federal government has overstepped its bounds.”
Ward explained that many people are fearful of the strategy because they fear that the radical leftwing will overtake such a convention and remove aspects of the Bill of Rights, like the First, Second and Fourth Amendments.
Ward responded that those rights are already currently being “stripped away from us, slowly day-by-day by this overreaching federal government and no one at the federal level is putting on the brakes to stop it.”
“I think we have to stand up for state sovereignty or our republic is not the republic that our founders envisioned.”
On the presidential race, Ward said she was glad to see such a talented and diverse group of GOP candidates running, and that several would make good presidents. She was very clear on whom she hoped would not be the eventual nominee.
“I know who I don’t want. I definitely don’t want Lindsey Graham, and his secret weapon John McCain. I’m not a Jeb Bush fan, I’m not a Chris Christie fan. I’m not a fan of these big government Republicans who act as Democrat-lite.
I want to align with people like Senator Cruz, Senator Paul — to a point. Ben Carson, I love his philosophy on health care. I share a lot of his same ideas in terms of how we could reform that system and make it so that people actually got care, rather than a piece of paper that says they’re promised to get health care that they never get.”
Ward called Ben Carson as an “honorable man” and that she loves Ted Cruz’s “backbone” and “passion,” two characteristics that cause her to identify with him as well. Ward said that she also liked certain aspects of Carly Fiorina and thought she performed very well in the debates, but was concerned that she wasn’t as conservative as she would like her to be. Ward also said she was glad that Donald Trump was in the race because he’s brought issues to light, like illegal immigration and border security, that probably otherwise wouldn’t be on the front burner had he not decided to run.
“I’m glad [that Trump has brought the immigration debate to the forefront], because immigration is a huge issue here in Arizona. It is an issue that John McCain has fallen down on for decades. He has made promises about building the fence and securing the border and as soon as he was re-elected the last time, he went straight to amnesty. Those points need to be driven home, because Arizonans are not going to take it anymore.”
When I asked Ward whether she thought that McCain was ever going to get around to “building the danged fence,” a 2010 campaign promise, Ward responded while laughing, “Well, you know, he hasn’t done it in 30 years. I don’t know what six more years is going to do for him.”
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Ward said she supports an “all of the above approach” in terms of securing the border and “stopping the flow” of illegal immigration, and that Democrats have no interest in fixing the problem. She described the “all of the above approach” which means having a secure fence where appropriate, as well as using both technology and having people on the border.
“The money has been appropriated [to secure the border], it’s just that the political will has not existed,” Ward contended.
“We also need to deal with the people who are here [illegally]. Over 40% of the people [illegals] are visa overstayers. I think that they should the first to go back to the country from which they came. Because, when they got that visa, they understood that there was a law — there was a reason they were coming — there was a length of time they were allowed to stay, and then they were expected to return. They broke that law without a second thought. And so waiting for them to commit a second is asinine.”
Ward asserted that illegals are driving down wages in America and that it’s hurting the American worker.
When asked about John McCain’s obvious campaign strategy to levy personal smears against her rather than sticking to the issues, Ward responded that she’s very proud to be part of those McCain infamously referred to as “wacko birds.”
“I’m proud to be a wacko bird with Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee,” Ward responded while chuckling. “That’s my kind of wacko bird,” she said while explaining that McCain uses personal attacks because he’s unable to run on his own track record.
“Senator McCain can’t run on his own record. The only thing he can run on is telling the American people that he’s a war hero and telling the American people that whoever’s running against him is a crazy person. I think that the American people, and the Arizona people in particular, are going to see through that ruse this time.”