New Blood and Elbow Grease
The three-term Democrat from central Phoenix decided in 2000 to participate in Clean Elections, Arizona's voluntary public-funding election system. Begun in 1998, the system operates along guidelines similar to those proposed by Prop. 1. "Naked City" spoke to her last Friday:
Austin Chronicle: What was your experience with public funding?
Christine Weason: As an incumbent, obviously you always have the advantage of raising more money as opposed to the challenger. [Clean Elections] put us all on a level playing field. So no longer could you outspend someone else to win an election, but you actually had to debate the issues.
AC: What made you go with the system since you had the incumbent's advantage?
CW: I'm a lunatic [laughs]. My constituents are very progressive ... and there's a strong distrust and dislike of lobbyist influence on legislators. I wanted to show my constituents that I'm there for them, and not the lobbyists.
AC: What did you do with your spare time once you no longer had to suck up to lobbyists?
CW: It was a joy, especially during campaign season. Instead of dialing for dollars, I would be out on the streets knocking on doors.
AC: What makes you like this enough to come all the way to Texas to speak about it?
CW: I just want to tell folks it's not the end of the world, it really is an exciting new beginning, so don't be afraid of change.