I support all education, because one size does not fit all. Balance is needed. While Arizona is too low on the education funding scale, we are somewhat higher on the achievement scale. Imbalance in this area affects our entire economic system. Let me put it into perspective to show how everything is interrelated: When doctors or businesses consider moving to Arizona, one element they look at is the quality and availability of education. If we cannot get doctors/healthcare professionals to locate here, we will have trouble getting a doctor’s appointment due to a shortage. Some areas already face this. It is not uncommon for doctors to hold off on taking new patients. Some of us have already personally faced this. Also, businesses use education as an element to choose where to locate. We need business to help support and balance our communities. Primary infrastructure like roads, water and sewer require taxes and fees to operate. Without business, our citizens would have to pick up a larger share of these costs. Arizona has lower property tax when compared with the rest of the nation. Arizona property tax is divided into primary and secondary tax rates. Primary property tax pays for municipal governments and schools (this is where the majority of property tax money goes). Secondary property tax pays for a major project that needs a bond (pay over time) or special districts. Our education system is composed of:
- Head Start/pre-school/pre-K
- Traditional Public District
- Public Charter
- Dual enrollment (High School and Community College)
- Trade Schools/Technical Education Districts
- Community Colleges
Depending on which poll you read or listen to, you’ll get slightly differing numbers based on criteria. Regardless, Arizona is very low on the national scale when it comes to education. Prop 123 is a step. I want to continue to raise the bar. We must pay our teachers a higher wage. Families need to be part of the answer for a holistic approach. Education is a big issue, like transportation. You have to break it down and focus on elements that can be addressed. I have already started meeting with education stakeholders to listen and work on this multifaceted issue. For instance, one education professional stated there is a shortage of affordable housing for teachers not only in the Prescott urbanized area, but in other areas of our state as well. I’m looking at what we can do to assist with this matter and other various elements.
I believe that having a choice is important—I am for school choice. For engaged parents who want a different option for their child, vouchers would be a helpful tool, but even in consideration of that, I lean away from vouchers. I have concern for the less urban (rural) public schools. The voucher option has the propensity to swing high achieving students to other private schools, which can often choose which students they enroll. Traditional public district and charter schools do not get to choose, but instead provide an education for all. It could put our non-urban public schools at risk of funding because of lower numbers, which may also limit what can be offered. With not enough funding there are limits to education and possible risk of facility closure. Children would have to be transported to other locations. While charter schools are also good, they are not required to report the same as traditional public schools; instead, they report to the Charter Board. We need equal funding and equal accountability for our tax dollars.
The bigger picture is: we have to look at why we are pitting schools against each other. Instead, we should be working together for more funding for education. My role is to improve K-12 funding.
Economic Development – here are the three ways we work it:
- Bring in new business (create opportunities for citizens and enhance quality of life/wealth).
- Grow/expand existing business (this is a lot bigger than you might think).
- Business retention (keep jobs from moving to a different state or country)
And, from a personal perspective, what is your side hustle? People are working on the side. They use what they have – skills, knowledge or “stuff” – to bring in a little more cash. For instance, someone good at graphic design might work on the side to help develop a website. Or, someone is occasionally renting their house out through AirBnB. There is a lot of entrepreneurship going on. Awesome! That’s America!
To know: education and transportation are two important elements of economic development.
- Companies look at many factors when deciding to settle in an area. Without an educated workforce, our state is lacking advantage to attract companies.
- Companies look at ease of transport to their markets. Our road system is a vital factor for attracting companies to our regions.
Arizona wants to capitalize on the Sun Corridor Megapolitan. We have a lot to offer but we need to be smart about it. There are 11 of these in our nation. Here in Arizona, this corridor stretches from the border at Nogales up to Prescott. http://www.america2050.org/arizona_sun_corridor.html
On a bigger scale, Arizona trades world-wide. We have to be competitive to do that.
For those of us who frequently travel north and south, we come prepared in case there is a shut down on I-17. Whether it’s freight, business appointments, flights or just getting to work, a road closure on this corridor will cost time and money. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has a plan for this corridor; conversely, it is for the Legislature to provide the funding. As you can imagine, it’s not a small fix. In fact, most of our roadway projects are completed in segments due to the cost. Transportation is a strength area for me. I understand how projects are funded, designed and constructed. I will utilize the knowledge and leadership I have gained to help address this ongoing issue. Having served in state government, most recently at ADOT, I will work with my colleagues — I will focus on this corridor.
We cannot spend more than we take in. When I served as Administrator for the Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization I was in charge of a $250,000 administrative budget and a $150 million dollar construction program. We ran a balanced budget. It is important to me; I will continue to do so.
I believe in support of women, which impacts families. Women face unique challenges, such as, but not limited to:
- Business and job opportunities
- Equal pay for equal work
- Caregiving (multiple generations living in the same household)
Inside the family, the woman is generally the one who nurtures and holds the family together. She sees that needs are met and makes sacrifices to do so. I have a passion for educating women, and as first-generation college graduate, I will continue to work toward providing opportunities in this area. As a leadership initiative, I set up and ran a program in my agency to assist working women going to school. It was supported by our executive leadership. During this time, tuition assistance was reintroduced to the employees. By educating women, we help to increase the pool of leadership. When a woman receives an education it impacts the quality of life for herself and her family. It benefits the organization or business she works for, along with her community. I want to increase the opportunities for more women to serve and step into leadership positions on boards and commissions, including local and state elections. Often women are the caregivers, so time is limited. A woman’s perspective helps to bring a more rounded approach to issues we face in our communities.
Sexual misconduct is not OK. We are experiencing accountability for CHANGE. It is not OK to sexually harass or abuse women (or anyone else). Time’s Up and #MeToo have helped to provide assistance and awareness to this prevalent issue. Continue to work within your circles to actively listen and educate. Stand shoulder–to–shoulder with others who have faced this misconduct. We are the change.
I believe in a strong position at the border. Illegal crossing will not be tolerated. Terrorists must be kept out to keep our citizens safe and secure. As well, our responsibility is not without work. We, as a nation, have to quit putting energy to futile argument that has not delivered. It is time to put energy to crafting an immigrations policy that will work while holding strong to keep our borders secure. Let’s quit arguing and get to work on this. I am willing to work on it and be part of the solution.