House Candidate Helped Stop Arizona Cap and Trade

Published March 6, 2010

Pamela Gorman is a Republican candidate for Congress in Arizona’s Third District. She was a forceful voice for free markets and limited government in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2004 to 2006 and in the Arizona Senate from 2006 to 2010, where she also served as Majority Whip.

James M. Taylor, managing editor of Environment & Climate News, interviewed Gorman during a recent trip to Phoenix.

Taylor: I am in awe of the hours you put into your work. What gives you the drive to be working these long hours day after day?

Gorman: This country means everything to me. I’ve been fortunate to have visited a lot of places in the world and it helps me appreciate how many opportunities we have here that others don’t have in places like Africa and Eastern Europe. While I’m deeply concerned about the direction that Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, and President Obama are taking this nation, in America we have the opportunity to do something about it. I’m excited to fight the agenda of the far left and offer market-based, cost-effective, freedom-respecting alternatives to those policies. That is what I’m willing to do, and the battle is not only worth it but it is energizing.  

Taylor: Crossing paths with you at state legislative meetings in recent years, you have impressed me with natural leadership qualities, a quick and comprehensive command of facts, and a strong commitment to limited government. But Republican Congressmen have a track record of supporting free markets and limited government during the election cycle, only to support earmarks, spending increases, and an expansion of government when they get to Washington D.C. Why should Republican primary voters trust you to not do the same once you get to Washington? 

Gorman: Having served in both the Arizona House and in the Arizona Senate, I’ve got a voting record. A couple of my opponents do as well. Those of us that have demonstrated records on important issues can be evaluated on that performance. Those who haven’t been tested on the myriad of issues confronted by a legislative body are true unknowns as far as how they’ll behave when the lights are on and the pressure is being applied to abandon the principles upon which we ran for office.

Also, I’ve done more than just press the right button on an issue. Anyone can press the right button. The difference is that, as you’ve seen, I’m committed to the issues and have taken a leadership role. I don’t just vote the right way, I seek out the experts like think tank academics, private sector experts, stakeholders, elected officials, and regulators who have dealt with these issues. My role isn’t just to vote the right way, but to determine the proper, reasonable, conservative, market-based response and build a coalition to help effectuate proper action. It’s what I’ve been doing since first serving in public office. While I respect my colleagues in this race, I haven’t seen them out there doing the same. 

Taylor: You were instrumental in fighting energy restrictions on Arizonans when former Governor Janet Napolitano (D) strongly supported the Western Climate Initiative. Your efforts were rewarded when current Governor Brewer (R) recently withdrew Arizona from the Western Climate Initiative’s most restrictive provisions. Will protecting energy choices be one of your highest priorities in Washington DC? 

Gorman: As you know, energy and environmental issues have been a passionate interest of mine. It’s why I felt so fortunate to have participated in so many forums with The Heartland Institute and why I was honored to participate in the international climate conferences coordinated by Heartland that brought scientists and think tank experts together from the world over. Those forums provided extraordinary learning experiences. Long after most of his life’s work was done Michelangelo famously said, “I am still learning.” A lot of know-it-alls in public office could benefit from that wisdom and I try to do so. 

I find energy policy, environmental policy, and separating the real science from the emotion to be tremendously exciting and beneficial. So, I fully expect to continue to work in this area.

Taylor: In addition to preserving energy choices, what will be your highest priorities when you arrive in Washington? 

Gorman: In addition to working on energy issues, I am deeply concerned about the growth of government spending, immoral budgetary deficits, and how the reach of the federal government is inappropriately interfering with individual lives.

Our nation is built not upon the principles of collectivism and socialism, but upon individual rights and freedoms. I think our system, over time,  has distorted the Constitutional basis envisioned by our framers. Our forefathers didn’t create a perfect system, but it was the best the world had ever seen. 

In some ways, I think we’ve even improved upon that foundation by recognizing the individual rights of all Americans, regardless of gender or the color of one’s skin. In many other ways, I think we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us to legitimately cut government spending, let Americans keep more of their hard-earned dollars, and reduce the tax burden on both individuals and employers in this country. Power has been centralized, over time, by a federal government that has far overstepped its constitutionally permitted power. It is time to return that power to the states and to the American people.