AUDIO OBTAINED FROM SOURCE WHO WAS PRESENT.
June 16, 2014
P R O C E E D I N G S
KEVIN GENTRY: So I’d like to actually invite our next panel to come up. Uh, Jeff, if you want to get your team to start getting positioned up here. Jeff Crank leads Aegis. That is the candidate recruitment support effort that really came out of 2012 as well, and we have a little bit of a panel discussion, but until, until we’re getting organized, what I’d also like to do —
Yesterday at lunch we heard from, um, Pete Ricketts, who’s long been a member of this group, who recently was chosen as the Republican nominee for governor of, uh, of Nebraska. But we also have another one in our midst who’s also decided to step into the arena, uh, Doug Ducey, who’s the state treasurer in Arizona. He took Coldstone Creamery from about three stores to an international enterprise. He’s been part of this group. And also a little neat thing last year, really stood up to a lot of the cronyism in the business community in Arizona and led the charge against a tax hike ballot initiative that was successful.
And, Doug, we appreciate if you’d step into the arena — you’re around here somewhere, and if you would just stand up and say a few words. There, there you go. Thank you. And, please, share a few words. I know your primary is not until August, but uh, it’s great for you to step into the arena as well.
DOUG DUCEY: Thank you, Kevin. Thanks for having me here. I want to say thank you to Charles and David as well. I have been coming to this conference for years. It’s been very inspirational. Uh, Charles, I asked what I would do if I wasn’t afraid, and I said I’d run for governor.
DOUG DUCEY: So uh, in this business, you’re known by the company you keep, and uh, we’re proud that we’re off to a fast start. Uh, we’re proud that Governor Scott Walker from Wisconsin has come out and endorsed our campaign. And a lot of this resonates in a State like Arizona because I don’t come from any political background. Uh, I grew up in Toledo, Ohio. Uh, my dad was a cop. I’m very much a product of the Midwest and the working class. For full disclosure, though, my first elective office was homeroom representative in the fifth grade (inaudible).
DOUG DUCEY: That, that was a tough primary, and a lot of those kids are still mad at me, so they’re coming after us.
DOUG DUCEY: But I think to tell the story in Arizona, uh, my folks splitting up my junior year, my mom moving West, and the high school counselor literally pointing to a map and saying, “Doug, schools are plentiful out there, and there’s a lot of opportunity.”
So I got in my Datsun B210 and drove from Toledo to Tempe. I didn’t know one person and I had never been in Arizona, and it’s been quite an adventure. But when I tell the story in Arizona, I’m able to ask people, uh, how many of you were born somewhere other than the State of Arizona, and it seems like 90 percent of the hands in the room go up. So I say, let’s make certain that the bad ideas that are crossing the Midwest and killing California are not reapplied in the state of Arizona. And it doesn’t matter what room that’s said, in everyone starts applauding. It gives you confidence in the messaging we have here at the conference. Uh, the fact that my entire adult life has been in the private sector, studying finance at Arizona State, worked my way through college at Anheuser-Busch, and then began my career with Proctor and Gamble. And then along with a few others we built an ice cream company called Cold Stone Creamery.
We started small with a good idea, and we built 1,440 stores in all 50 states. We operate in 25 countries around the world today, and I want everybody to know we did it without government. We did it without subsidies. We did it without tax incentives for chocolate-dipped waffle cones.
DOUG DUCEY: We did it the right way — big dreams, hard work, and great people. And things like that happen when states embrace free enterprise.
When I did run for Treasurer in 2010 after I sold the business in 2007, I learned a lot at this conference, and I learned a lot when I stepped forward to battle a $1 billion permanent sales tax increase called Proposition 204. Prop 204 looked like it was a shoo-in to pass in September of 2012. We started to message against it. It was polled at over 60 percent. And on Election Day we won. We literally flipped the electorate. And last year for a change, taxes went down in the State of Arizona.
DOUG DUCEY: So I can’t emphasize enough the power of organizations like this and engagement from those in the business community. The other side was completely financed by government entities and special interests, and we didn’t have to raise as much as they did. We just had a better idea, and that was lower taxes for all Arizonans, and flip that argument that they had that it would help education and help the children that we were able to expose that these dollars were not going to the classroom.
So what’s next? The real action is in the governor’s office. And I have to tell you, uh, Charles Murray, if you want to lead a textured life and get out of Paradise Valley, Arizona, you can come to Kingman and Bullhead City and Lake Havasu. But by and large this year will resonate because no one, whether they’re in a Republican room, or a Kiwanis Club, or a Rotary Club, is happy with what’s going on in our economy, or what their children are learning in traditional K-12 classes.
So I’m very confident we’re going to take back the Senate here in 2014, but then the battle for freedom comes back to the states, and who’s in the governors’ offices is important. And I’m grateful for what this conference does. Thanks for having me.
(END OF REMARKS.)