Properly funding K-12 is just the first step in building a robust educational system in Arizona that works for everyone. We need universal pre-k for all three and four-year-olds (an idea that typically polls above 80% with all voters).
We should make community college free or nearly free, especially for certificate programs in the areas where we have shortages of qualified candidates. We also need to increase funding for public universities, so that students have less college debt.
We need to invest in programs that generate positive returns for the state in the long run and stop wasting our limited resources on politicians’ pet projects that affect very few Arizonans.
As an entrepreneur, I want Arizona to be the best state in the nation to start, maintain and grow a business. I know companies are only as good as the talent they can hire. For that reason, we need to make our entire educational system world-class to produce skilled and talented workers who will help companies thrive.
Once we have that solid foundation of skilled workers, other critical issues are ensuring we have a world-class infrastructure to support great companies and common-sense environmental policies designed to make sure our kids and their grandkids can enjoy the beautiful, inspiring landscapes across Arizona.
Arizona is the most beautiful state in the country. We need common sense environmental protections to ensure we pass a flourishing state to our children and grandchildren. Secondly, we need to thoughtfully address the water issues facing our state -- not as Democrats or Republicans but as Arizonans.
We should be pursuing policies that encourage the development and use of renewable energy sources. With an abundance of sun in our state, pursuing solar energy solutions is my top priority.
With many citizens in our state working in non-traditional jobs, we desperately need to identify cost-effective healthcare solutions. My running mate Kelli Butler has a fantastic proposal to allow adults to buy into the states Medicaid plan, which is a national leader in both controlling costs and ensuring quality. Common sense solutions like this can provide an affordable option for the growing number of workers in the “gig economy”— and provide Arizona with a competitive advantage in attracting talent.
First and foremost, we need to stop cutting taxes and increasing tax credits -- these are the strategies that have put our state in a ditch with not enough resources to fund our basic needs.
Second, we need to close the loopholes that are scattered throughout our state tax code.
Finally, we need to have a grown-up discussion about the revenue the state needs to ensure the state of Arizona and its citizens can thrive in the 21st century. We then need to thoughtfully develop a fair plan that reflects how our economy works today and does not unfairly burden or take advantage of any one group of taxpayers.
Arizona is ground zero for dirty money because of bad choices made by our legislature and signed into law by our governor. I will work with both Republicans and Democrats to reverse the sorry state of affairs. I will advocate for and support legislation that requires full disclosure from any independent expenditure group.
Polarization of Our Politics
Growing up in Arizona, our political leaders demonstrated the basic values of collaboration and respect by working together at the State Capitol. Burton Barr, the Senate Majority Leader, was a Republican, but he sat down with his Democratic colleague in the Senate, Alfredo Gutierrez, and made decisions on how they could move forward together. Our governors were sometimes Democrats and sometimes Republicans, but regardless of their party affiliations, the needs of all Arizonans were put first.
When I moved back home to Arizona a few years ago, I was struck by how much the place I love had changed. Twenty years of one-party rule has allowed a small group of far-right politicians to ignore the other party and effectively take sole control of our state government.
By winning this election as the second Democrat in the House from LD 28, I will help ease polarization by bringing more balance to the Arizona State House.
On a personal note, I pledge to invite every member of the House Republican Caucus to have a one on one meal with me during my first 90 days. Getting to know each other as people is a critical first start to find areas of common ground.
Infrastructure and Trade
Investing in our infrastructure -- including the I-11 corridor and modernizing our border crossings -- is a great example of an investment that the state can make right now and will quickly begin yielding real benefits in revenue.
Our location along the border with Mexico provides us with a natural advantage, yet we lag far behind other border states in cross-border trade.
Arizona should do all it can to help ensure the successful development of a deepwater port in Puerto Peñasco, or Rocky Point, which would immediately create a much higher demand for goods and services from Arizona. Investing in our infrastructure can help Arizona gain ground in this critical area.