/ Modified jun 1, 2013 7:32 a.m.

AZ Illustrated Politics: Interview With Barber

Pushing bill to give rural veterans health-care flexibility

Play the video above to see host Jim Nintzel interview U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., and lead the panel discussion with former state legislator Frank Antenori, former Pima County Democratic Party chairman Jeff Rogers and business consultant Miguel Ortega.

BARBER CALLED FOR making it easier for veterans to get medical services outside of the VA system. Barber also said he wanted to see the VA modernize its record-keeping system to eliminate backlogs for veteran services. He also discussed immigration reform and gun-purchase background checks.

IMMIGRATION: Rogers said the Senate immigration reform bill would require compromises that all sides would be unhappy with, while Antenori said it isn't likely to pass the House of Representatives. Ortega said his focus is on what occurs locally, including what he hoped would be the demise of SB 1070.

HEALTH CARE: Antenori said he was working on plans for a referendum to require voter approval of Gov. Jan Brewer's proposed expansion of Medicaid. While Brewer has suggested that Antenori might have not have legal grounds for the referendum, Rogers said he believed that the expansion could be subject to a vote of the people. Ortega was skeptical that a campaign against the proposal would be successful.

EL RIO GOLF COURSE: Ortega said City Councilwoman Regina Romero erred in exploring a proposal that would have allowed the private Grand Canyon University to lease or buy El Rio Golf Course, while Antenori said the city missed out on a golden economic development opportunity when Romero announced this week that she would not support the proposal.

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