Governor Brewer Reflects

January 4th of this year was Governor Jan Brewer’s last day in office. Although retired she is still as feisty as ever, with a take-no-prisoner’s attitude. Though she no longer has a “bully pulpit”, she is not going away anytime soon, and plans to speak out on issues dear to her heart. American Thinker had the pleasure of interviewing her.

It is obvious that Jan Brewer is more relaxed and content. She joked about being able to attend baseball games and actually knew when the season will begin for the Arizona Diamondbacks. She is proud of her time in office and has no regrets about any of her decisions. Reflecting on her public career, which has spanned over thirty years, she explained that she decided to enter politics in 1982. “I was a young mom with three children in grade school, and was disappointed in their education, to say the least. I decided I wanted to bring higher standards and have students think critically so I ran for the state legislature. When I became Arizona’s 22nd governor I put a high priority into education and am proud that our students can compete globally.”

Yet, she is best known as the face and voice for the rule of law and the necessity of securing America’s border. Never being someone who would step back and retreat she has been an advocate in trying to force the Federal government to do its job. There was a time when Governor Brewer testified before Congress and Joe Lieberman told her, “We get it, Governor, you want the border secured.” She sees Arizona as “an open gate. Seventy-five percent of our border is Federal land; yet, the government is not doing its job. President Obama never once came to see the border because he wants it open. I would tell any presidential candidate that a country without borders is like a house without walls. It collapses. I have said this forever,  that until our border is secure all the other issues will not be solved. I say baloney to those who say it is not possible considering we are the strongest and most exceptional country in the world.”

Arizona SB 1070, the immigration enforcement bill, was signed into office by Governor Brewer in 2010. She told American Thinker she has no regrets because it “Mirrored Federal law and was needed. It was never a racist issue even though those on the Left tried to make it into one. I was called ‘Hitler’s Daughter’ and “Satan’s whore.’ I grew up in the Southwest and we were all neighbors.” In fact, to make sure 1070 was implemented in a non-discriminatory manner; she signed an executive order “requiring that every police officer in the state be trained in the provisions of the law and specifically forbidding racial profiling.”

SB 1070 was a necessary step, according to Governor Brewer, because Arizona had to put up with kidnappings, aggravated assaults, homicides, extortion, and the drug cartels. She is still frustrated because the mass media “doesn’t write about those things, which are happening on a daily basis. We are in a crisis of violence, human greed, and desperation. Talk about civil rights -- do they care about innocent people having drop houses in their neighborhoods with the abuse and extortion, not to mention the sex trafficking that is happening here in Arizona and across America?”

For her the real war on women is what illegal immigrant women have to endure at the hands of the drug cartels. “The Democrats blame the Republicans, but it is the Republicans that are standing up for women. The Democrats don’t do anything but talk. When was the last time Hillary Clinton spoke out about this issue? It is absolutely despicable. Some of those girls trafficked across the border are as young as eleven years. This should be in the spotlight and people need to be aware of what is happening.”

Another bill that had the possibility of infringing on civil rights was SB 1062, which Governor Brewer vetoed. She noted to American Thinker, “I understand that there is an assault on marriage for many reasons, but this was just a bad bill. I had to do what was right for the entire state.  I listened to different opinions, made up my mind, and then moved forward. This was a very poorly written bill. I decided to veto it because it created a problem that we were not facing in Arizona, and would have created more problems than it solved.  My feelings are that it would have brought negative consequences. I did what I considered right and never worried about my political career or votes. We have extremists on both sides that are loud and vocal. We need to stand up and calm the waters here in America. Even those who originally supported the bill backtracked and was glad I vetoed it.”

She also points to an accomplishment of leaving office with a balanced budget. Yet she had to do something not very popular, raise taxes.  Even though she considered herself a fiscal conservative she supported a tax increase. She explained, “People understood this was necessary because I went around the state, and clarified why it was needed. We also made sure to put in the Constitution that it was a temporary sales tax for only three years.”

When asked, Governor Brewer said she would not run for president or vice-president. This is unfortunate, since America needs more leaders like Jan Brewer, who will make the right decision even if it is a hard decision. Too bad President Obama and Hillary Clinton don’t follow her lead. As Governor Brewer summarized, “America is an exceptional country. We need to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.  Currently, both President Obama and Hillary Clinton make their own laws and get away with it. They have their own rulebook. But hopefully, if we can come together that will change in 2016.”

The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews, author interviews, and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.