Shooter shows up to special session in costume
Sen. Don Shooter’s choice of costume when he showed up at the State Capitol for Friday’s special session had people talking.
For his entry, Shooter (R-Yuma) donned on a sombrero, a sarape and a half-filled bottle of tequila. After his grand entrance, he changed his clothes before hitting the Legislature floor.
The senator took part in a special session called by Gov. Jan Brewer with the hope of extending jobless benefits that expire Saturday.
Luis Heredia, Democratic state executive director and a former Somerton resident, called Shooter’s costume inappropriate for the situation.
“It makes a mockery of a legitimate issue that needs to be on the table, especially with Yuma’s unemployment,” Heredia said.
Other bloggers also questioned Shooter’s “festive” attire. The Arizona’s Republic Political Insider Twitter feed read: “Don Shooter in full mariachi dress, cigar in mouth and tequila bottle in holster. An odd festive mood for unemployment session.”
The Tucson-based and self-described “snarky” blogger “Rum Romanism and Rebellion” noted, “I haven’t been able to track down the context of this, but unless he was there to sing ‘Cielito Lindo,’ don’t blame me for thinking the worst.”
But Shooter said his costume has been blown out of proportion and it was only a joke.
First of all, he said, it wasn’t a mariachi costume.
Second, it was supposed to be funny and “not meant to be disrespectful.”
The outfit he wore is the usual “party costume” he’s been wearing for the last 15 years, he said. He thought everybody understood it was a joke.
“Nobody took it seriously,” he noted.
The “funny” message he wanted to convey was, “Hey, I’m in the middle of a fun party, this better be important,” he explained.
When told that someone had said his costume had made a “mockery” of the unemployment issue, he replied, “Oh come on! That’s just stupid. It’s a tempest in a teapot.
“We have to have fun with stuff or it will crush us. We need to blow off steam in a situation,” he added.
Shooter rejected allegations that he didn’t take the special session seriously.
“Anybody who knows me knows I’m a cutup, a jokester, but I also play hard and I work hard,” he said.
As for the Legislature not making the needed law amendment to extend unemployment benefits, he said, “It’s hard. Intellectually, my head is against this. This kind of thing is what has gotten us into debt. But in my heart, I’m for it. I see my neighbor suffering.”
Shooter said he spent most of Friday afternoon meeting with the “governor’s people, trying to work out something.”
“We’re still trying to come up with something and we’ll be back in session Monday,” he said.