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Secretary of State candidate wants prosecutorial powers

Justin Pierce

KINGMAN - Rep. Justin Pierce, R-Mesa, says he's running for the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, but after his speech to the Kingman Republican Men's Club, it sounds like he'd rather be the Arizona Attorney General.

Pierce told the club members that he wants the Secretary of State to be able to prosecute people who fraudulently vote in a state election.

"Your vote will not be canceled out by someone who shouldn't be voting," he said. "I want to make sure the Secretary of State's Office has some prosecutorial authority in case the governor is reluctant to do so."

Pierce was the guest at the club' meeting Monday. He is the son of Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce.

He is running for the Republican nomination for the secretary of state's office against Jack Harper from Glendale and Wil Cardon, who is also from Mesa. Christopher Campus from Sierra Vista is currently the lone Democratic candidate running for the office.

Pierce also pledged to help counties clean up the voter registration rolls.

"There is nothing more American than being able to cast your vote," he said.

Voter fraud is an affront to the whole system, Pierce said.

However, Pierce wasn't a supporter of the two-tiered voter registration system proposed by current Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett.

Bennett proposed the system after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Arizona could not require additional proof of citizenship from people voting in federal elections.

Pierce said the best solution for the situation is to force the federal government to change its voter registration form.

The current federal form requires people to sign a statement declaring that they are legal citizens of the U.S.

Arizona's voter registration form requires a driver's license number. In Arizona you must show proof of citizenship before you can get a driver's license.

Pierce also answered questions on the expansion of the state's Medicaid program - the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System - and the Affordable Care Act.

He said he voted against the expansion of AHCCCS.

The federal Affordable Care Act and the expansion of AHCCCS are "just another way of getting us to universal heath care," Pierce said. "It will destroy one of the best health care systems in the world.

"It's just another example of government creeping into our lives. We need to put the power back into the hands of the people. We don't need government to tell us how to take care of people," he said.

He said if he were elected to office, he would continue to speak out against the Affordable Care Act.

When asked about Common Core and funding for education, Pierce said he hated Common Core education standards.

Arizona is implementing new education standards this year that are based on Common Core.

"I believe the state has a role in education, but Common Core is viewed by many as a mandate from the federal government," he said.

He suggested using a system geared toward college aptitude tests such as the SAT and ACT.

Pierce also defended the Legislature's decision to sweep some funding for education between 2008 and 2010.

"I was not a part of that Legislature ... but I'm also not going to absolve myself of that decision. I would have done the same thing because of the situation the state was in," he said. The state's bond rating was about to take a hit because the state didn't have any reserve funds. That hit would have been devastating to the state's economy.

The Arizona Secretary of State's Office is in charge of the state's election system, updating state statutes, keeping track of living wills and power of attorney documents, registering trademarks and regulating notaries, sports agents, telemarketers and charitable organizations. The Secretary of State also replaces the governor if the governor is incapacitated or resigns from office.


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