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Updated Mar 22, 2013 - 7:51 am

Gov. Brewer 'stunned' by comparison to Judas

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The head of the Maricopa County Republican party said he didn't intend to disrespect Governor Jan Brewer when he likened her to the man who betrayed Jesus.

During a sometimes heated House hearing on Brewer's Medicaid expansion plan on Wednesday, A.J. LaFaro said her plan is just like Obamacare. He called the governor a traitor by saying "Jesus had Judas. Republicans have Governor Brewer."

We tried to ask the governor about the comment after a Thursday press conference in Tempe, where she announced that Union Bank is opening a new mortgage center that will employ 250 people. She clearly didn't want to talk about the comment.

When approached, the governor turned to an assistant and asked "Are we doing this? Huh? I didn't know we were doing this." She told her assistant that "it would have been nice to know ahead of time" that she would be expected to answer a question from a reporter.

Eventually, she did answer when asked about the comment.

"I was stunned," she said.

When we asked why she thought he made the comment, the governor replied, "You would have to ask him why he said that."

LaFaro was asked and gave a written statement to KTAR.

He made the original comment because he feels Brewer's Medicaid proposal is a terrible expansion of federal government control, and that he's passionately against it. He said he didn't mean to offend anyone or disrespect Brewer or the office of the governor.

Dear Mr. McClay,

The governor's Obamacare Medicaid Expansion proposal is a terrible expansion of federal government control over our lives. Less government in our lives is important to ALL citizens throughout our state, across America, and personally to me. To quote Ronald Reagan, "One of the traditional methods of imposing socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It's very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project."

Because of the proposed Medicaid Expansion, Common Core Implementation etc., I have spent countless hours over the last two weeks considering our Constitution, our Founders, our Republican Party, and the more than two centuries of constant battles fought on behalf of freedom. Governor Brewer escalated the rhetoric when she said "I don't want dead people in the streets." Yesterday, I reacted with sincere and passionate opposition to the Governor's Obamacare Medicaid Expansion proposal. My intentions were not to offend anyone, but to clearly sound a warning about the consequences of approving this future unsustainable burden on taxpayers.

I am a conservative in the mold of Barry Goldwater, who said, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." Rhetoric can sometimes become overheated, but it was not my intention to disrespect Jan Brewer or the Office of the Governor of Arizona. My responsibility is to remain faithful to my Oath of Office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

I hope Arizonans can find true conservative common ground to solve the problems facing our citizens. The parameters of this proposal will not enable that conclusion.

Respectfully yours,

A. J. LaFaro Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee

When told of Lafaro's response, Brewer said she hadn't heard from him directly.

"I haven't heard anything from him," the governor said. "I'm certainly not going to accept his apology from you."

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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