Fact’s Matter: Lanny Davis Delivers Passionate Address at SW Communities Coalition Luncheon

Southwestern Communities Coalition guest Lanny Davis – former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, who was also appointed by President George W. Bush to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, – addressed a packed house at Butterfield Station in Benson, Arizona at the Coalition’s kick off event last Wednesday. A group of more than 100 people were on hand to show their support for property rights, environmental stewardship and economic growth – pillars of the Southwestern Communities Coalition’s mission.

Below is a transcription of Mr. Davis’ speech at the event.

“My great inspiration in being here and listening is a reminder to everybody in this room, and especially to yours truly given the life I’ve lived as a very partisan Democrat, that everyone in this room and certainly the good people you’ve just heard have reminded us of at least three things that we have in common. And it’s not about a red and blue division of the country. It’s not about a liberal and a conservative, or about a Democrat and Republican. Everyone is entitled to their political preferences. But I’d like to give you the three things that have inspired me.

“Number one. Facts matter. Truth matters. That brings us together. What has been done in the court system by the Center for Biological Diversity and the other plaintiffs who file lawsuits to delay, rather than seek the truth, brings us together. Doesn’t matter what our politics are. We’re fighting people who misuse the courts—not about finding the truth but about a goal of stopping people from developing and growing and keeping their children at home, rather than moving away.”

“Number two is the word balance. The fallacy of the false choice between no growth and—I’ve heard the word radical, I’d say irrational, extreme, ideologically driven—people who don’t care about facts. And balance is the answer. We do not have to choose between the environment and economic growth and jobs and prosperity, and the future of our children. That is a false choice, and I thank all of you who live on this land and love this land. I’m just a country lawyer from Washington, D.C. I thank you for reminding me about your love of the land. And who could be a greater environmentalist than people who love the land so much.”

“There is one person here among everyone you’re heard who has inspired me, and I had not met him until today. His name is Jim Chilton. I spent a whole weekend reading a book about his case, and I thought to myself ‘I must meet this man,’ and I met him for the first time today. Jim you remind me of the third value that brings this country together no matter what our politics, and that’s dedication to principle no matter what. This man fought against an organization that a jury found—let’s put it plain and I just wrote a column for the Arizona Republic where I finally repeated these words that had been hushed up ever since the jury’s verdict, hushed up by the organization responsible—and that is ‘malicious lie.’ That’s what the jury said the Center for Biological Diversity was responsible for in defaming and smearing Jim Chilton. And then they took it on appeal, and the Arizona Court of Appeals wrote a decision that vindicated the jury verdict.”

“We are united in this organization. This was about a bottom-up, grassroots movement of people, not financiers of abusive litigation to stop all development. This room represents the people. We are the people. The answer to the lies versus facts, and especially the answer to surrendering rather than sticking to principle and fighting like Jim Chilton did is this organization, and I’m very proud you allowed me to speak.”