PHOENIX — State Senator Steve Farley’s campaign said this week that he is “flattered” by The Farley Report, a new website dedicated to covering his legislative record and candidacy for governor.
This website, The Farley Report, first launched in February 2018. It has highlighted the state senator’s ongoing struggle to balance two warring constituencies — voters loyal to Senator Bernie Sanders and voters loyal to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — and his opposition to the popular tax reform package signed into law in December 2017.
In response to a new story in the Arizona Republic about the website, though, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate’s campaign said that it was “flattered” by the attention.
“We’re truly flattered at the coverage they’re gifting us,” his spokesman said, “but we’d much rather be talking about the teacher-less classrooms in our schools right now.”
Senator Farley began sending out his own version of the Farley Report to constituents and supporters in the mid-2000s. Initially deemed “FarleyGrams” by recipients, the emails are lengthy, opinionated scrolls about the comings-and-goings at the Arizona State Capitol. Each email, often containing thousands of words, would arrive in subscribers’ inboxes in weekly installments during the legislative session and monthly installments out of session.
To his credit, the state senator continues to send out these emails more than a decade after they launched.
But the emails aren’t exactly objective.
While Senator Farley’s campaign claims that “we’d much rather be talking about the teacher-less classrooms in our schools right now,” a typical Farley Report on the Democratic candidate’s website won’t mention when his positions on public policy are at odds with educators in his district.
For example, the state lawmaker vehemently opposed Senate Bill 1042, legislation that was aimed at improving the very problem he cited. The bill looked to get more teachers into classrooms in Arizona by reforming the state’s outdated teacher certification process. While Senator Farley called the legislation an “abomination” in an April 2017 email to constituents, he did not mention that Tucson Unified School District — in his own hometown — had endorsed the new law.
“According to district officials, it will not only help them ease a teacher shortage they have been battling for years but also continue hiring exceptional teachers,” KGUN reported.
The Arizona Daily Star reported three months later that Vail School District — also in southern Arizona — had utilized the legislation with great success, starting the new school year without any vacancies in a regular classroom.
“That was a huge accomplishment,” Superintendent Calvin Baker told the newspaper.