Originally Published: January 27, 2018 6:06 a.m.
Rep. Travis Grantham, R-Gilbert, feels that he should have more sway with Arizona’s U.S. Senators so he has proposed a bill that would require any candidate for that office to receive the blessings of the elected officials in the legislature before voters can decide who they want.
If you want to go to Washington, first you must go to Phoenix and put in some face time.
We agree with the first-term representative that our senators should be meeting on a regular basis with state officials. They are the representatives of the people from their districts.
We don’t, however, agree that they should have the right to limit who voters in this state may elect. And we are especially troubled with the idea that this would essentially prevent any third party or independent candidates from being on the ballot.
More choices is always the best option. Limiting choices to only those backed by party elites is what they do in China, and what they did in the old Soviet Union. It is not what we do in America.
Since 2000, there have been six U.S. Senators who were elected who were not running as either a Republican or a Democrat (Bob Smith of New Hampshire, Jim Jeffords of Vermont, Dean Barkley of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, and Angus King of Maine).
Under Grantham’s proposal, they likely would not have been able to run. We suspect that if this proposal somehow became law, limiting the voters’ choices would be ruled unconstitutional by the courts.
In any case, the voters should be the ones to decide whom to elect, as is their right under the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.
And our senators in Washington need to remember that they are the representatives of this state and part of their job is listening to the voters, and their representatives in Phoenix. Return the call of even first-term representatives from Gilbert, then there would be no need for proposals such as this one.