Kari Lake, a newly announced 2022 Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate who was the Phoenix area’s top-rated news anchor before she resigned earlier this year over the establishment media’s liberal bias, spoke exclusively with The Western Journal via email about why she is running. A transcript of that conversation can be seen below:
The Western Journal: Why run? In recent years we have seen politics get far more aggressive, with major names being dragged through the mud and lives ruined (particularly on the right). Why jump into that fray?
Kari Lake: That’s exactly what that ugliness and cancel culture and name-calling is meant to do: keep people from speaking out, getting involved and doing the right thing. If we all cower when the media, social media trolls and hateful people try to hurt us, we will never accomplish great things.
I am running for Governor of Arizona because I care too deeply about this state and the wonderful people who live here to sit on the sidelines and watch us adopt the same policies that left California in shambles. The Democrats around the country and in Arizona have gone CRAZY, and if they win the Governor’s seat, they will turn us into California or worse. I want to see my kids remain here in Arizona … and I want my grandkids to be Arizonans. We must ensure the opportunities that brought so many of us here in the first place don’t dry up.
TWJ: What do you think the current gubernatorial administration has succeeded in doing? Failed in doing?
Lake: I voted for Doug Ducey, twice. I know that leading in the past year has been difficult. Some governors took more bold steps to save their state’s economy, as well as protect the rights and liberties and medical privacy of the people they represent. Some governors did everything in their power to make things worse, like New York’s Andrew Cuomo and Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer.
The media’s COVID coverage was nothing more than pushing panic — and in the process the media scared a lot of politicians into overreacting. I wish our leaders would have pushed back against the media whose goal was to scare and drive division. The media thrives when the public is afraid and angry. Politicians should tell them to “shove it” and concentrate on helping the people.
TWJ: What are your primary platform items? What issues get you fired up? What do you want to be known for as a candidate?
Lake: I’d like to see Arizona remain a great symbol of the American West. Not some homogenized unrecognizable state — or another California. You’ve heard of the phrase “Don’t California my Arizona”? We are dangerously close to seeing that happen. California is a perfect example of what NOT to do when it comes to policies on crime, education, taxes, regulations, homelessness, education, transportation, everything. We want to preserve what makes Arizona unique.
Reducing crime is a top priority. We want our streets to be safe again. We want our police fully funded, fully trained and fully supported. Unfortunately, we saw an enormous spike in violent crime over the past year, largely due to poor leadership in some of our major cities by mayors and council members hell-bent on dismantling our police departments. That proved to be a terrible and deadly policy.
Obviously what is happening at our southern border is a disaster. Think about this: The Mexican criminal cartels are now in control of our borders. They are deciding who comes across. And when the criminal cartels are in charge, that means more crime, more human trafficking and more drugs making their way into our neighborhoods. It’s dangerous, it’s inhumane and it must stop. We need to be in charge of who comes across our border, not the cartels.
Also, I will work with the state legislature to make securing our power and water infrastructure a top priority. We can’t wait until then the taps run dry and the lights go out to prioritize that. Desalination of water is doable and could provide water to our bigger cities and alleviate some of the pressure on agriculture needs.
I want to preserve Arizona’s rural communities and agricultural/ranching/farming heritage that is so critical but is being squeezed.
We want our kids to go off to school and come home smarter, not being taught to hate our country. Critical race theory and other useless, dangerous curriculum are doing more harm than good. We want our students learning the skills they need to land jobs and be successful in those jobs.
When our kids are taught a curriculum that prepares them for what they will encounter in the working world, they will have the confidence to go out and make a better life for themselves.
TWJ: Name your political role models. What figures got you into the business? Who inspires you? Whose leadership, character and style do you aspire to?
Lake: Of course, Ronald Reagan. He was a brilliant leader and communicator. His policies changed the world, and he always maintained a sense of humor. That is needed now more than ever. Seems we’ve forgotten how to laugh as of late.
I like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis a lot. He is working hard for the people of Florida. His policies are common-sense and he doesn’t take a lot of crap from the media.
Nonpolitical leaders — Moses and Esther. Both were called upon to save their people and they answered the call from God, stepped forward and accomplished great things.
I admire former President Donald Trump. He gave up a lot to run for office. The onslaught of criticism and dishonest and destructive reporting kept people from hearing the good things he was doing for our economy, our security and peace around the world.
TWJ: Recent years — particularly last year — saw local and state politicians getting a lot of attention on the national stage for their handling of key issues (right now COVID and election integrity come to mind). What are your thoughts on that? The way a governor should handle it? The way some folks have used roles like this as a way to get noticed at the national level rather than truly serve?
Lake: Hindsight is 20/20, but I think most political leaders failed to protect the livelihoods and health of those they were elected to protect. Gov. Kristi Noem is an exception. She told the people of South Dakota of the risks and let them make decisions on how to protect themselves. Personal responsibility is something Americans need to get reacquainted with. Our God-given and constitutional rights have been trampled on, and it is frightening to watch. I would never force businesses, churches and schools to shut down. Tell the people the risks, then let them decide how best to proceed.
TWJ: What is 2022 about politically? Is it about figuring out who the Republican Party is amid the current Trump vs. anti-Trump identity crisis? Is it about taking on the Democratic agenda at every level? How do you view this election cycle?
Lake: We all need to get involved, at every level of government. I’m guilty of voting and then trusting our elected officials to do the right thing. And then they don’t. This last year has woken up a lot of people.
The Founding Fathers of this country understood that in times of crisis when our country was crying out for new leadership, that leadership wouldn’t come from the elite and career politicians.
They understood there would be moments like the one we are in right now where patriots would rise up from the people to lead us forward.
We are at that moment.
We need to take ownership in our communities. We need good, honest people to run for office — from school board, city council and county offices on up.
We are at a critical time in Arizona. I fear without a candidate who can win, we will see Arizona decline. We will have far-left Democrats in office pushing an agenda that tilts even more toward socialism. Just imagine if a Democrat was given the power that Governor Ducey had during the pandemic — we’d all still be in quarantine, masked up and out of work.
This election cycle is critical. We need to bring back common-sense policies and stop the slide toward socialism. You work hard for your money and it’s not going as far as it once did … our government should take less of your money and think long and hard about how they spend it. Hard work should be rewarded. Leaders should work to create a thriving economy so all Arizonans have opportunities to thrive.
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