Napolitano lifts spirits of Dems in Senate visit
Arizona Republic
Jan. 27, 2006

Gov. Janet Napolitano popped in Thursday to the state Senate to have a slice of pizza with her fellow Democrats. She also was there to buck up the troops after a week of vetoes and finger-pointing over an English-language learner plan that has now triggered $500,000 daily fines from a federal judge.

We didn't see any other reporters in the room, but nobody told us to leave, so we hung out to see what she had to say.

A senator asked if Napolitano had heard back from her entreaty to House Speaker Jim Weiers and Senate President Ken Bennett to begin negotiations on the English-learner plan.

"I sent hand-delivered notes to them yesterday saying I was around to negotiate," she said. "I sent the same letter to them today; I just changed the date. I don't know what their plan is, or if they really have a plan."

On her two back-to-back vetoes of the Republican-backed English-learner bill, which was laden with tuition tax credits for private and parochial school scholarships, the governor said: "I would prefer not to have to govern by veto, but if they continue to send me up things that they know are unacceptable, and they won't meet to talk about what changes can be made, I don't have a choice."

Then Napolitano asked the senators if they were getting any complaints from their constituents about her stand on the bills. They hadn't.

"Every e-mail I get from my community is in favor of what you did," said Sen. Robert Cannell, D-Yuma.

"I tell this to Republicans here and they don't want to believe me, but I haven't had one single e-mail telling me it was a terrible thing you did," he said.

- Robbie Sherwood