KINGMAN - Former state Sen. Ron Gould wants voters to send him back to Phoenix.
Gould served in the state Senate from 2004 to 2012, before term limits forced him to step down. State Sen. Kelli Ward was elected that year and re-elected in 2014, but Ward is in the middle of a campaign to unseat longtime U.S. Sen. John McCain and her District 5 Senate seat is up for grabs.
Rep. Sonny Borelli has also filed to take Ward's seat. All three are Lake Havasu City Republicans.
Gould told the Conservative Republican Club of Kingman on Monday that he was ranked the most conservative senator in the state for all but one year of his four terms, losing one of them by one point.
"I'm a proven conservative," he said. Gould said a lot of candidates tell voters they are conservative, but the fact is, he said, the Republican-controlled Legislature increased the state's budget by nearly 100 percent from 2005-2010, when it went from $6.2 billion to $11.3 billion in those five years.
Gould said he was part of a group of Republicans who kept the budget from being passed unless lawmakers approved more school choices.
Then-Gov. Janet Napolitano, he said, agreed, but then used the line item veto to get rid of funding for more school choices once the budget was passed.
"What politicians tell you means nothing," he said.
Former Gov. Jan Brewer took over for Napolitano after President Barack Obama named Napolitano to lead the department of Homeland Security.
"The first thing Jan Brewer wanted to do was raise taxes. We should have cut things," Gould said. "As Republicans we don't need to go to tax hikes. We got by in 2005 with $6.2 billion and now we're at about $9 billion. I don't think things have changed that much since then."
Gould and a smattering of Republican lawmakers, he said, held off Brewer for about nine months.
"That's the kind of stuff I do," he said. "Sometimes, local government doesn't agree with me and I don't care. I vote for the people, especially conservative people."
Gould said he never voted to expand or create a government program.
"None of our ancestors came to America for a government program. They came here for freedom," he said.
Gould also said he believes America was founded by Christians and that it is a Christian nation.
"Once we had a king named Jesus, but he's been pushed aside," he said.