Rep. Stevens wears US Constitution on his chest
By Daniel Scarpinato
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
PHOENIX — This week we chat for two minutes with state Rep. David Stevens.
District: 25. An 18,000-square-mile district that stretches from the New Mexico border through Southern Arizona and all the way up into Maricopa County.
Residence: Sierra Vista.
Background: Elected to the House last November. Defense contractor since 1988.
Q: What's been the most surprising thing you've found here?
A: The speed at which legislation passes, which is very slow.
Q: So does that affect some of the priorities you came up here with?
A: Oh no. I had almost no priorities per se, just to do what was right for my district and the state.
Q: And what's "right"?
A: Well, it depends on the issue. I mean, what's right for water is not the same as what's right for the Second Amendment. Usually, why some people run for office is they've got an ax to grind on an issue. I didn't have that. I'm here as the whole legislator. I want to see things like lower taxes, less government. But I didn't propose any bills to do that.
Q: Everyone says this is a really tough year because of the budget deficit. But for someone like you, maybe it's a great time, since you wanted small government, and now you get to do it.
A: I wouldn't say it's a great time, but now that I'm up here, I have the opportunity to bring in smaller government. You could probably say I'm unencumbered. Some people have 40, 50 bills. I don't have that — for lack of a better term — baggage. My focus isn't just on what I want to get done; it's on what's right for the state.
Q: Your necktie is an illustration of the U.S. Constitution.
A: Yes it is. This is where it begins — over 200 years ago — this is where it all begins, and this is where we have to get back to. We had a discussion with a couple of legislators in the hall, and they were upset with some of the projected reductions of government. And the comment was, "We're supposed to provide for the general welfare." And I corrected her and said, "No, we're supposed to provide for common defense — promote the general welfare." So there's a misunderstanding of what exactly the Constitution is, obviously, if they can't even get the preamble correct. I've had it memorized since seventh grade. You want to hear it?
Q: That's OK.
It's very important to know where we began.
Q: But everyone has this different idea of what the Constitution means. So isn't it all in the eye of beholder?
A: Well, it's primarily what people want to see out of the Constitution. And if they think it's a living document, I think we need to play poker with these people, 'cause I think I can actually win at that game.
Contact reporter Daniel Scarpinato at 307-4339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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