State Capitol News
Thu February 9, 2012
State Senate Confirms ABOR Nomination
State senators confirmed Jay Heiler on Wednesday as the newest member of the Board of Regents -- but not before a discussion of some things he wrote years ago.
Heiler was editor of the State Press at Arizona State University in the 1980s and known for his conservative commentary. He has since been chief of staff for Fife Symington when he was governor and now is chairman of a network of charter schools. But Sen. Steve Gallardo said Heiler has not properly apologized for some of what he wrote, reading from the paper.
"The immigrants that come here to start a new life," Gallardo read aloud, "they are trying to cling to their language and customs. This tendency leads to all sorts of social problems ranging from interracial unrest to the unexplained disappearance of dogs."
Heiler also called homosexuality an aberration. He told Arizona Public Radio he's not making excuses for those writings.
"I was a dumb college kid," he said, "and I wrote some very insensitive and poorly expressed things and not stuff I would write today. I regret having done that. But I've said that I don't know how many times over the years throughout my public life. "
Not all the issues go back that far. While Symington's chief of staff, Heiler was reported to have used the word 'queer' in a conversation with journalists about the gay marriage issue, a word he now says he never used. The Republican-controlled Senate confirmed him on a party line vote.