After living in the community for many years and speaking to thousands of voters in the district, these issues have been raised as priority with myself and my constituents.
Arizona public schools educated me growing up. I remember that first day of school with the smell of the wooden desks and plastic from the brand-new Trapper Keepers that every student just had to have. Fridays always included pizza day, with the smell of the cheese permeating throughout the cafeteria creating culinary anticipation by all the students. I also remember the butterflies from fear of meeting my 20 new classmates that first day, hoping to be liked just like any kid.
Now imagine the experience too many of our students face today. Some students attend their first day of class with 50 other students until the school can find retired teachers to rotate into the class along with other short-term solutions. Due to budget cuts to education by the legislature, to start the 2017 school year more than 500 teachers quit or did not come to school because of the pitiful salary they receive. Who can blame them? We ask them to prepare our children to succeed while they rank last in the country in salary. It’s simple economics. Worst of all, it negatively affects the quality of education our children receive. Do you remember how unruly a classroom of 20 3rd graders could be? Now imagine there being 35 children.
Fortunately, a solution does present itself that does not cost taxpayers. Arizona provides corporations significant tax breaks for job creation, yet does not hold those corporations accountable. By closing those loopholes, we can recoup tens of millions of dollars that can be used for public education. So, we have a choice. Should we continue to let corporate CEO’s who live outside of Arizona profit from unfulfilled promises? I say no. I say we instead invest that money in our Arizona children who will be the future leaders of our great state.
- Currently more than $12 billion dollars in corporate tax loopholes, the result of poor negotiation and loose oversight
- Recouping only $3 billion of the tax payer funded black holes would lower the state sales tax rate by 1% and fully fund education
- Lower class sizes
- Higher pay for teachers and support personnel
- Equity in education quality to overcome economic inequality
- Increase education funding to national per student average
I grew up in a middle-class family in a middle-class neighborhood. My father worked in public service, and my mother taught special education. Rather typical family for the time. I woke up to the smell of breakfast in the morning, and the family shared with each other their day over supper. Our neighbors primarily included mid-management, manufacturers, sales people, and teachers. Despite living comfortably and prudently saving some of their incomes, my parents always had that fear that all parents have - to ensure they could provide for their children. However, at the time, the economy supported the types of jobs my parents and our neighbors all shared.
Times have changed and with it the focus upon the economy. Due to globalization and other economic factors, the days of manufacturing being a driver of our economy have ended. Our country has realized a shift in which those jobs have been outsourced to other countries. Many have had to transition into retail or service jobs while earning lower income, and as a result our middle class continues to dissipate. However, those that have seized employment opportunities in STEM industries, such as engineering, computer programming, and medical professions have prospered in the new middle-class industries.
As State Representative, I will fight to attract investment from STEM industry companies so as to provide solid, middle and upper-middle class employment opportunities for our families. Our other choice would be to rely upon service jobs in our communities and require others to have as much as one-hour commutes to work. Those two hours a day driving means we have two hours less to spend with our families. Attracting STEM jobs to our district makes good economic sense, and it makes good sense for our families.
- The northwest valley was particularly hard hit by the great recession
- Our region is dotted with bedroom communities and lacks a robust tax base of commercial industry
- Currently, 90% of the residents of Peoria and Surprise drive out of the west valley for work every day, taking their sales and gas tax dollars with them
- Greater investment of STEM industries to Northwest Valley
- Continue expansion of transportation opportunities
My aunt and uncle enjoyed a loving marriage for many years. Then, they faced a nightmare through no fault of their own. A nightmare that could happen to anyone. My uncle suffered a stroke, and then, they faced his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Due to unsurmountable medical costs, they lost their business, their home, and any savings they had remaining. A lifetime of financial security gone because our country failed to provide them with affordable health care. To make matters worse, they divorced because as a single insurance costs lowered for my uncle. Not only did medical costs tear apart their finances, it tore apart their marriage. Although their love stood the test of time, the government no longer recognized them as husband and wife.
Since then, the Affordable Care Act has passed providing affordable health care for many Americans. I recognize some policy measures should be made to ensure affordability for all and not place undue burdens on small business owners, for example. However, to completely tear down the ACA could cause others to face the same horrors my aunt and uncle faced. Political rhetoric and polarization has robbed the public of common sense policy. Rather than play political volleyball with an important issue such as health care, we should rid ourselves of partisanship and work for the public good. Our lives should not represent political points for elected officials.
The ongoing debate over health care and the resulting policy will greatly affect our health care, our personal finances, and perhaps even our marriages. We have a choice. I do not believe our health should be a partisan debate where politicians attempt to find ways to score points. The stakes remain too high. Rather, common sense must prevail to protect the health and well being of our families. We must compromise to pass public policy that ensures we all have the fundamental right of quality, affordable health care.
- Ensure everyone receives quality, affordable health care despite what happens at national level
- Expansion of KidsCARE
- Protection of AHCCCS
- Provide financial incentives for greater medical community investment
- Defend Planned Parenthood as a primary health care provider for many Arizonans