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Sarah Gassen: Star welcomes 2 local conservative opinion writers

Sarah Gassen: Star welcomes 2 local conservative opinion writers

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Sarah Garrecht Gassen

Today we welcome two new regular local conservative contributors to the Arizona Daily Star opinion section: Joseph Morgan and Jonathan Hoffman. You’ll find one or the other each Sunday, usually next to my column.

The Arizona Daily Star’s opinion pages offer a range of viewpoints — not to appease this group or that, but because a strong and relevant opinion section shouldn’t preach to any choir.

But first, I’d like to go over a few opinion-page basics. The section encompasses opinions from the Star editorial board, individual Star staff members (Fitz, and me), letter writers, community members and national columnists.

If you see an unsigned editorial with “Our View” in the headline, that’s the opinion of the Star Editorial Board.

The board is separate from the news department. We don’t tell each other what to do or what to write. Articles in the opinion section are supposed to have a clear point of view.

The opinion section isn’t a place for on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand. Our job is to analyze information and offer an opinion. We don’t take orders from political parties, elected officials, gadflies or anyone else.

We select letters to the editor from those submitted and we can’t run opinions we don’t receive. (Hint, hint: Send a letter!)

If you see a person’s photo with their article, you’re reading that person’s view. For example, what I write under my own byline is my opinion, and I’m not speaking for the Star’s Editorial Board.

Now, please meet Joseph Morgan. He’s a native Tucsonan and a Wildcat through and through (he roots for the University of Arizona and whoever is playing ASU). He has a master’s in U.S. history from the UA. His political philosophy stems from a strong belief in natural rights, individual freedom, liberty and the Constitution.

“It goes against the human spirit to be told how to live your life,” he said.

Morgan, 35, is a math and study skills tutor, has taught at Pima Community College and worked as a financial advisor. He also writes for the Western Free Press.

We had a great conversation about the Founding Fathers — we agree that Sam Adams doesn’t get enough credit. His favorite Founding Father is George Washington. “He was the only president who didn’t want the job. He didn’t try to dominate — he walked away.”

He describes himself not as a Republican, but as a Conservative with a “big C.”

Life has taught him to be a better listener, he says, something he works on every day. “You shouldn’t be afraid of coming out of a conversation with a different idea,” he said.

Jonathan Hoffman, 62, spent his teenage years in West Hartford, Connecticut, a self-described “hippie wannabe.”

He happened across William F. Buckley’s show, “Firing Line,” and subscribed to the National Review. “A lot of what Buckley was talking about seemed to make intuitive sense to me,” he said.

He left high school, went to work and, in the mid-1970s, came to Tucson. He worked, studied philosophy at the UA, took a buyout from IBM and retired. He’s written for the Tucson Weekly.

He says he doesn’t like Trump, but is “relieved” that Trump won.

Hoffman and I bonded over “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” — I’m not a constitutional originalist, but I am a “Star Wars” originalist.

He believes strongly that Americanism is the “key to be healthy, happy and prosperous” for the greatest number of people.

In his view, the role of federal government is to protect people from force or fraud, and local government should help with public safety and infrastructure.

He joined the Libertarian Party in the early 1980s, and believes in small government and self-sufficiency. “People today react,” he said. “They’ve stopped looking deeper, into basic principles.”

Welcome, Joseph and Jonathan, to the Star’s opinion pages.

Sarah Garrecht Gassen writes opinion for the Star. Email her at

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