A green Republican makes a run
Physician Robin Silver of Phoenix is known as
an uncompromising environmentalist. Most recently, he forced the
federal government to list the Mexican spotted owl as "threatened,"
thereby stopping logging in the Southwest (HCN, 9/4/95). He has
also fought against construction of a series of telescopes on
Arizona's Mount Graham (HCN, 7/24/95).
Republicans may be surprised to find his name on the primary
ballot. But they shouldn't be. Silver is a lifelong Republican and
a fiscal conservative. He petitioned his way onto the ballot to
test his theory that freshman Rep. John Shadegg's hostility to
environmental regulation is out of step with the people who sent
him to Congress.
Shadegg supported the salvage
logging rider and opposes reform of the 1872 Mining Act. He also
wants to weaken the Endangered Species Act and keep grazing fees
But Shadegg's 4th Congressional District is
urban and suburban, containing parts of Scottsdale, Phoenix and
Paradise Valley. No one has mined, ranched or logged there for at
least a generation.
Silver says that Shadegg,
who leads GOPAC, Newt Gingrich's political action committee, is
voting to please his campaign contributors, not the people who
elected him. "People like John Shadegg will never do what we need
to do to balance the budget because he is so beholden to big
business ... and to those who benefit from the continuation of tax
loopholes and federal subsidies," says Silver. He hopes the many
retired people or recent arrivals in his district want to see
subsidies to the mining, logging and cattle industries
But Shadegg says that just because his
constituents are urban doesn't mean that he should abandon natural
resource industries. In Phoenix they work in "offices (that) are
built with construction materials logged in other places; they use
minerals for the phone lines," says Shadegg.
Although spirited, Silver has three strikes against him: A small
budget, little name-recognition, and a late entry into the race.
Yet, if he can pull off the primary, he is almost guaranteed the
seat. The 4th Congressional District is traditionally