Issues

Art on the issues impacting District 6:

EDUCATION

If the Arizona Legislature understood the economic and social impact of high quality K-12 education, they would certainly have returned education funding to at least 2008 pre-recession levels by now. Strong educational systems teach critical thinking, allow us to retain and attract businesses, and build safe and strong neighborhoods. Excellence in education is built with outstanding teachers and strategic investment of resources that develop well-educated adults. It builds passion for learning, cultivates student's personal responsibility, and prepares our children for the social, economic and technological challenges of the future.

We are naive to think we can achieve excellence in education without strengthening our investments. Core to my educational investment strategy is allocation of savings from reforming ineffective and wasteful tax giveaways and directing those towards K-12, community colleges and universities.  Furthermore, long-term returns in early childhood, quality pre-school and kindergarten investments yield significant social and economic benefits to taxpayers.

Educational competition and innovation must be matched by transparency and accountability.  All our schools - whether public or charter - should be held to the same set of standards and be provided equal opportunities for innovation and modernization. If schools do not provide similar services to students, they should not receive the same level of taxpayer funds. The Legislature should stop trying to pick the winners and losers in our educational system.

FISCAL POLICY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Fiscal policy should not be directed by armies of lobbyists or corporate dark money campaign contributions. It should be created by legislators who believe that the same rules should apply regardless of campaign contributions or access to political influence.

Although government is not a business, Arizona should utilize common sense business approaches to how we fiscally manage taxpayer money, deliver services, and engage in strategic long-term fiscal forecasting. As a small business owner, it is amazing to me that our state legislature and executive branch do not plan for recessions in their budgeting process. Fiscal management strategies must be based on the real world, not wishful thinking. With decades of business ownership, I am committed to implementing no-gimmick fiscal policies that use sound financial strategies to manage your tax money.

Government should not pick the winners and losers in our economy but rather create the conditions for a playing field where all business and taxpayers play by the same set of rules. I will bring leadership to legislation that sunsets corporate tax breaks and giveaways unless their economic value can be clearly demonstrated. What business would ever put something on sale and then never takes it off sale or asks if it accomplished what it intended? This reform alone could bring hundreds of millions of dollars for priorities like education and job creation.

TRANSPORTATION

Transportation infrastructure investments are our single largest public sector investment. Given that, the Arizona legislature has done a poor job in maintaining and investing in our system, especially in rural Arizona. I support a common sense approach of indexing the gas tax, having equity between all fuel sources -- gas, natural gas and electric -- and expanding infrastructure which serves our rapidly changing transportation system. In order to build a high quality transportation system that serves our schools, communities and economies, we are going to have to recognize that we can not build and maintain a strong 21st century transportation system based on the revenues from the 1980s.

DEMOCRACY AND ELECTIONS

People are tired of the “fix is in” politics where the interests of outside special interests and hyper-partisan ideologues are put above our citizens, small businesses and communities. I will champion reforms, like Ranked Choice Voting, which serve the interest of creating a vibrant, competitive and transparent democracy. I will fight to ensure ALL voters and candidates, regardless of party affiliation or lack of affiliation, play by the same set of rules. Elections that are paid for by all taxpayers must be open to all taxpayers.

We live in a society and an economy that is based on the marketplace of ideas, yet too often competition and meaningful debate is absent from our elections and democracy. Good ideas don't come from just one person, party or perspective. Our electoral system should engender participation dialogue across all parties and perspective. - Independent, Republican, Green, Libertarian, and, Democratic. I will speak strongly for an electoral systems which serves civil discourse and putting the politics of problem solving above the politics of hyper partisan ideology.

HEALTH CARE

Access to quality care is critical to the vitality of Arizona’s rural communities. We are seeing reductions in rural health care choices as hospitals and providers continue to merge, centralize and focus on service to larger urban areas. As demographic changes continue and our population ages, we are going to have to engage in difficult discussions on how to make access to medical care in rural Arizona viable and affordable. Core to that strategy is expanding residency programs that cultivate the next generation of doctors and other health care providers in rural communities. All rural Arizonans should have reasonable access to a Community Health Center.

FOREST RESTORATION

The health of our watersheds -- from the Verde River to Oak Creek to East Clear Creek -- are dependent on the healthy forested lands which feed our surface and groundwater resources. The threat of catastrophic wildfire and post-fire flooding is the number one public health and safety issue facing forested counties in northern Arizona.  It is not a question of if we are going to pay for decades of unhealthy forest management policies, it is a question of when and how much.

Northern Arizona economies, communities, and quality of life are dependent on healthy forests, public lands recreation, hunting/fishing and tourism. I will continue to play a leadership role in advocating for strategies that reform antiquated and ineffective forest management policies, create forest industry jobs, and support resilient public lands. Given the increasing intensity of climate change and drought, northern Arizona needs an experienced and competent advocate in the Legislature to strategically advance healthy forest and watershed initiatives.