Arizona Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake wants to look into federal funding at elite universities if she is elected to the United States Senate come November 2024.
Lake sat down for a wide-ranging policy interview with The Center Square, where she was asked about issues ranging from education, tribal issues, and the economy.
“I think our universities need to concentrate on educating our young generation. Truly educating, not indoctrinating, not forcing CRT not forcing this DEI garbage,” Lake said.
Scrutiny on university presidents has intensified in the wake of a congressional hearing on antisemitism with Harvard President Claudine Gay, University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Sally Kornbluth. Magill resigned and Gay is now facing calls to step down amid both her controversial remarks about antisemitism and a plagiarism scandal.
Despite being private universities, they still receive millions from the federal government. For example, Harvard University received $676 million in federal funding in fiscal year 2023, according to its financial overview.
“We need to look at the federal funding going into these almost indoctrination camps,” Lake added.
“It’s outrageous what they’re doing to our kids on these universities. That those presidents from these Ivy League schools could not stand up and speak out against a genocide is appalling. And we do need to look at how we’re spending federal money in these universities because they’re not churning out a quality education for our young people. Just the opposite,” she said.
Lake, who previously ran for governor in 2022, was also asked about her goals when it comes to Arizona’s tribal communities, which play an important role in the state’s governmental dynamic.
“When you really think about the 22 tribes, we are almost a melting pot because so many people actually move here from all over the country and really all over the world. People love Arizona. And so, I wanna have a great relationship with them.”
“A lot of people believe that if you’re not a Democrat, you can’t have a good relationship with the tribes. I disagree with that. The people who live on our various Indian tribes and reservations want to have security,” she said. “They want to make sure that the drugs aren’t taking the lives of their children. They want to have safe streets, and they want to have the issues that are plaguing them to be solved. So I think just like other Arizonans, we can solve problems with common sense, America First policies.”
However, one of the issues heavily impacting the tribes and Arizonans as a whole is water policy. As much of the issue ties into federal policy, senators often play a role in water issues, such as Colorado River usage. Lake said that she’s hoping other methods to increase water access for the state will be employed.
“We need to look at things like desalination. All of Israel’s water comes from desalination. We can do that here. But access to getting the water is critical and the infrastructure needs to be placed and funded to do that. So much of our federal funding though, there’s so much red tape that goes through it. And there’s also so much waste where we fund something and then we wonder, does the problem ever get solved?” the Republican said.
“And so we need to make sure there’s great oversight in that kind of funding, but every Arizonan, regardless of where they live, should have access to clean, fresh water,” she continued.
In regards to the economy, The Center Square asked how she would approach an economic downturn or national emergency, like another pandemic, that would prompt calls for another government stimulus. Many Republicans have credited recent high government spending bills to inflation.
“Usually when there’s a big catastrophic situation, a lot of bad decisions are made because we try to have the government come in and fix everything. So sometimes it almost takes a deep breath, slow down, maybe do something very small initially just to get people through, and then let’s reassess,” she said. “Because a lot of the things that happened during COVID, it was almost done in a panic. Now we look back at it and go, this was outrageous of the spending that was happening, and it’s gonna hurt our economy for decades to come.”
Lake is widely expected to win the Republican nomination for Senate, and she will likely face off against Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego. Incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who’s now an independent after leaving the Democratic Party last year, has not said yet whether or not she’ll seek re-election.
An extended video version of Lake’s interview with The Center Square will be released at a later date.