Candidates for Legislative District 17

Basic Information


Liz Harris (House)

Community of Residence: Dobson Place, Chandler

Business: Liz Harris Realty

Occupation: Real Estate Broker

Education Background: Doctorate of Integrative Medicine, MBA Pace U, Mathematics B.A.

Brief summary of employment history: Small business entrepreneur, real estate, retail, manufacturing

List of community organizations you belong to: Girl Scouts of America (lifetime)

How long have you lived in the District? 21 years


Shamile Hirsh (House)

Community of Residence: Circle G Estates- Chandler Arizona

Occupation: Superior Court Special Commissioner. Retired Clinical Psychologist.

Business: Couri, Commissioner, Investments, Development, Commercial Real Estate Development.

Education Background: Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

Brief summary of employment history: Dr. Shamile Hirsh is serving her ninth year as an appointed Superior Court Special Commissioner. Shamile has an impressive background as a Top Producer/Investor Specialist breaking record numbers in the Nation and the industry. Dr. Shamile Hirsh is not your average Realtor that sells homes. Her strong financial and legal background has placed her as a well-respected professional in the Court proceedings. There are appointed files in which equity cases that involve title to or possession of real property, matters of probate (wills, estates), assistance with dissolution or annulment of marriages (divorces) acquisition, and disposition of assets. Her robust financial knowledge has earned her both national and state-level recognitions, breaking records of 100% return on investments for her clients that desire to build substantial cash flowing portfolio.

Her background is not foreign to the courts, as she began as a Counselor in the year of 1998 helping children in need, rapidly moving up in both the Public and the Private sectors. Shamile has worked as a Clinical Director, Care Coordinator, and many other Executive, Administrative, and Clinical Mental Health-related positions, including working in government agencies, non-profit agencies, foundations, and community-based advocacy and service settings. Some of her strengths were: overseeing criminal justice issues through comprehensive assessments, providing top quality treatment, state-of-the-art sanctioning tools, and accurate reporting of outcomes. Dr. Shamile Hirsh was responsible for leading and managing the areas of Budget control, Annual contracts, Corporate Relations. Member of the Management Committee as it relates to strategic planning, administrative leadership, and the coordination of budget. Dr. Shamile Hirsh also provided support, clinical supervision, completing assessments, behavioral treatment, safety, and crisis plans, individual, groups, and family counseling.

Community involvement was always a priority to her, setting presentations for Indian Health Services and reports to obtain contracts and funding for the program. She also planned, directed, and coordinated program-related treatment services for program clients, including discharge and transitional planning.

Dr. Shamile Hirsh evaluate juvenile delinquency prevention and treatment programs, research adolescents’ competence to participate in legal proceedings, investigate the impact of court involvement on the functioning of crime victims, or evaluate the effects of health care and welfare reform.

List of community organizations you belong to:

- Cornerstone Church

- Arizona Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence

- Adopt a Cop program- Chandler PD

- Advisory member against drinking and driving for MADD.

- Sponsor of AZ Housing Coalition

- New Leaf Volunteer

- Home Town Hero Project

- Home Town Hero Program

- City Serve member

- Hope Fund (Phoenix Children’s Hospital)

- Chandler Commerce AZ

- NAHREP

- Child Help

How long have you lived in the District?

4 years


JD Mesnard (Senate)

Community of Residence: Chandler

Business: Mesnard Enterprises LLC

Occupation: Professor/Small Business Owner (Investor/Consultant)/Charities/Church-networking/Gov Relations

Education Background: Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Administration

Brief summary of employment history: Investor/Small Business Owner (2005-Present); Professor (2006-Present); Arizona State Senate, Policy Advisor (2002-2009)

How long have you lived in District 17? 12 years


Jennifer Pawlik (House)

Community of Residence: Chandler

Business: Education

Occupation: Instructor

Education Background: Master’s degree, NAU

Brief summary of employment history: I was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in November of 2018. I serve on the House Education and the House Judiciary Committees. I have taught kindergarten-sixth grade for 17 years, and I have taught in the College of Education for NAU Extended Campuses for 4 semesters.

List of community organizations you belong to: LD 17 Democrats, Precinct Committeeman; Sun Lakes Democratic Club, member; Census 2020 Chandler


Jeff Weninger (House)

Community of Residence:

Business:

Co owner and VP of Dilly’s Deli and Floridino’s Pizza and Pasta

Occupation:

Same as above

List of community organizations you belong to:

Current member of Childhelp State Advisory Board and Chandler Chamber of Commerce
Past Organization involvement – Member of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Chandler Airport Commission, Chandler Domestic Violence Commission, Board member Chandler Symphony Orchestra

How long have you lived in District 17? I have lived in District 17 for over 15 years





Give three (3) of your qualifications/skill sets that make you a leading candidate for the Arizona Legislature. Explain why these qualifications make you a better candidate than your opponents.



Liz Harris (House)

The skill sets I offer which make me a leading candidate for the Arizona legislature are:

• The ability to relate to people

• Resilience/drive/conviction

• Intellect with a win/win approach

Very often a commonsense solution-based approach is all that is needed. With the above skill sets, I am confident that after listening to constituents and respective lobbyists, I am greatly skilled at articulating the win/win solution without compromising conservative values.


Shamile Hirsh (House)

- Strong, successful and independent business woman of integrity that understands the needs of my community. My sole purpose is to be the voice of the people. My strong financial background in my personal life and business life has impacted thousands of people. My current plans are already in the works. My company is building and renovating higher end communities into areas that are currently section 8 and high police involvement in the City of Chandler. We are working together with our City Officials to Make Chandler Greater!

- Educated leader with strong proven background in diverse sectors bringing results. No raising taxes and creating jobs by bringing new businesses into our City. As CCIM member, I am an expert that understands the process of market analytics to attract the right sectors and generate more growth.

- Goal oriented with a plan in mind, where cooperation/teamwork go hand in hand. I am not afraid to be revolutionary.


JD Mesnard (Senate)

Principles, experience and accomplishments. I am a strong supporter of the free market and businesses. I support reducing the tax and regulatory burden on businesses and taxpayers, though not in a way that undermines our ability to afford important state services (such as education and public safety). I have sponsored legislation to do so during my 10 years in office, showing that I am committed to these principles. I have been the tip of the spear—doing far more than most others in office—when it comes to tax reform, receiving numerous recognitions and awards (particularly from the business community), thus demonstrating that I am an effective legislator. Finally, I had the honor of being selected Speaker of the House, a role which I believe I fulfilled exceptionally well (based on others' feedback), despite the historic issues facing the state and legislature during my time in that post.


Jennifer Pawlik (House)

Three qualifications I have include excellent listening skills, patience, and attention to detail. It is critical that legislators are good listeners, so that they can truly understand the situation/problem/bill. At the capitol, we often encounter people with different viewpoints and/or leadership styles. By exhibiting patience, I can begin to understand their perspective and build relationships despite the differences we have. Finally, showing attention to detail allows me to understand the finer points of the issues and to hone in on questions to ask to more deeply understand the issues. This also allows me to be able to explain both sides of the issues to my colleagues. These skill sets allow me to be a calm, contemplative legislator.


Jeff Weninger (House)

A. Work ethic – I am willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. I read every bill and every email that I receive. I field phone calls and have meetings with constituents and organizations like the Gilbert Chamber. When I decide to run a bill I go all in. My record is around a 75% pass rate for the bills that I run.

B. Compromise – I am not so rigid that I am not willing to compromise. I am solutions and results oriented and work with that mindset.

C. Tough – I will do what it takes to get the job done. I will stand with or against anyone if it is what is best for my district. I will always do what is right not what is politically expedient.




What is your vision for the State in 20-30 years?



Liz Harris (House)

My vision for the state in 20-30 years is for Arizona to be one of the top relocation states in the country for business and residents. This would include but not be limited to incentivizing businesses to relocate to Arizona, maintaining low property taxes, drastically increasing the ranking of Arizona schools on the national scale and making sure our infrastructure and transportation systems are modernized and efficient without being a major tax burden on businesses and residents.


Shamile Hirsh (House)

Arizona and its climate is the perfect place for opportunity to grow. Our economy will be one of the greatest among the 50 states. The education system will be stronger, with growing infrastructure of new Universities and Community College Systems as leading good innovation. We will have stronger policies to prevent illegal immigration, our wall will be built, borders will be secured, and there will be harder consequences to those who violate our Judicial System


JD Mesnard (Senate)

I love this part of the state and want to see it grow and flourish. This means creating an economic environment conducive to job growth, ensuring we have a quality education system for our kids and keeping criminals off the streets so that our families are safe. I believe those to be the top three and most important priorities for the state.


Jennifer Pawlik (House)

My vision for the state in the next 20-30 years is that we have a properly funded PK-University system that prepares students for the good-paying jobs of the future. I envision a place where people can afford home ownership and healthcare. Ideally we would also have a modern transportation system and a solid infrastructure system in place as well.


Jeff Weninger (House)

My vision is for Arizona to be the entrepreneur capital of the United States. I envision a state that has a well-educated workforce from our K12 and university system. It is also a state with a low tax and low regulatory environment that is the tech hub of this great country.





What are the top two (2) priorities you would push to accomplish during your term as a member of the Legislature and why do you believe these are important to accomplish?


Liz Harris (House)

My two priorities would be to keep taxes low and while making sure that Arizona flourishes as an innovative state. Lower property taxes make Arizona a desirable state for homeownership and investors. Additional taxation should be discouraged. I was a huge supporter of Prop 126, no tax on services in 2018 and this is now an Arizona constitutional amendment. As Arizona's population increases over the next several years, it is important for us to be on the forefront of technology. It is important our quality of life is maintained during this period of expansion. This would include fiscally responsible state-of-the-art SMART transportation systems and SMART master planned cities/housing so that both businesses and residents can enjoy all that the state has to offer.


Shamile Hirsh (House)

-Support School Choice and fight for the future of our children. Continue to ensure that we have a strong resolution and focus on high quality education.

-Stand strong for our Second Amendment and defending the unborn by supporting all Pro- Life causes are equally important to me. As a strong Christian the right to Life and defending our Life is Constitutional.


JD Mesnard (Senate)

I will continue to pursue the priorities listed above. In particular I want to continue focusing on the economy which is largely driven by small businesses, since this has an impact on other important areas like education and crime. To that end we must always be looking for ways cut back on the regulatory burden and red tape so that innovation can thrive and entrepreneurs and job creators can succeed. I also want to ensure that our tax policies create a system that is fair, simple, predictable, consistent, efficient, transparent, broad, low, unobtrusive, business-friendly and family-friendly.


Jennifer Pawlik (House)

As a life-long educator, my top priority is education. The issues in the field of education are great, and I anticipate it will take many years of dedicated work to solve them. In my first term, I have worked on issues relating to mental health in schools, gifted education, and dyslexia. I am a co-sponsor on the governor’s Project Rocket plan and a plan to provide pre-kindergarten for four-year olds in high poverty areas. Hand-in-hand with education is work-force development. Business leaders share that they struggle to hire properly prepared individuals for entry-level positions. I have introduced bills that would provide fourth-year funding of CTED programs in fields with the greatest need. I have also introduced a bill to expand the Teachers’ Academy to include school counselors and school social workers. These priorities are important to accomplish because educated people have a greater chance for success. When people are properly prepared for life after high school or college, they can make a positive impact on our community.


Jeff Weninger (House)

A. Continue to fund public education appropriately and also provide Arizonans with school choice

B. Continue to create an atmosphere that is welcoming to business and startups large and small. It is important to have a regulatory and tax environment that will allow and invite people and businesses to Arizona.






What do you believe is the preferred way to accomplish funding for education (at all levels) and what should the role of the State be in that funding?


Liz Harris (House)

Unfortunately, funding for public schools has historically resulted in a system that rewards wealthy communities and punishes schools in poor neighborhoods. A high-quality education is fundamental to our modern economy and republic but not solely at the expense of the taxpayer. I do support funding provided through the Basic State Aid funding formula, including local property taxes and trust land earnings. I find that the trust land earnings are not currently being maximized to the fullest and this needs to be revisited. To address the inequalities in communities, a state initiative to incentivizing high caliber teachers to teach long term in areas of poverty would be conducive as long as we have non-taxpayer based funding solutions. I believe parents/students should learn where it best suits them and the State should continue to support School Choice and the voucher program- Arizona along with Florida are models of success when it comes to School Choice.


Shamile Hirsh (House)

The Legislature should continue to broaden eligibility for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, continuing to expand School Choice Programs and supporting/ non restricting STO’s. We need to limit the federal government in education. We also need to restructure our loan programs to personal loans when it comes to higher education and make this more manageable.


JD Mesnard (Senate)

Education funding occurs mostly through a mix of local property taxes and state funds. Between the two I prefer that education be funded more through state funds so as to keep property taxes as low as possible (while Arizona's residential property taxes are relatively low, seniors on finite incomes feel the effects of property taxes more than most, as do businesses, which have a disproportionately higher property tax assessment altogether). Consequently, I regularly advocate for reforming and restructuring the tax code (to be clear, I do not support net tax increases in the name of "tax reform"). A state-oriented education funding system also increases school choices for parents, which I support as a way to expand educational freedom. The state's current role in funding is mainly in equalization – that is, in making sure adequate levels of funding are achieved regardless of the ability of local property taxpayers to fund it. Within education funding, my priorities are teacher pay, special education, career and technical education, school safety and educational freedom.


Jennifer Pawlik (House)

The state has a critical role in education funding. Some areas of the state (like LD 17) strongly support our public school system when they approve bond and overrides. However, there are many communities that do not, or cannot, approve school bonds and overrides which leads to unequal funding. Quite frankly, the funding formula needs to be analyzed and reworked. The A and B weights for special education funding do not make sense now that open enrollment is so widespread. Students living in poverty have very different needs and often have wide gaps in their learning, yet we do not have a “poverty weight” in Arizona. We also need to examine the high transportation costs that greatly impact the rural districts.After attending many study sessions about school funding during the interim, I don’t believe there is a preferred way to fund education. The issue is quite complex and will require many wise people working diligently to make the change that is much overdue.


Jeff Weninger (House)

I believe this is a complex problem and the answer is to come at it from many different directions. First off, I support the Governor’s 20x2020 proposal. This isn’t the finish line but a 20% raise in less than two and a half years is significant. Add the additional assistance being restored and it is a lot more. In addition to that we need to continue to find revenues for education and other agencies. Finding efficiencies and unique revenues can do this. For example, Airbnb is a new revenue that brought in 11 million dollars in its first year. Wayfair legislation also leveled the playing field for local retailers and is bringing in extra revenue.







How would you propose to deal with Health care costs in Arizona and affordability for all?


Liz Harris (House)

Arizona has had a huge issue with big premium swings over the last couple of years. Companies came in with unsustainable low rates solely for the purpose of gaining market share. Consumer needs were greater than expected. This made Arizona residents very uneasy and they had little to no control. Affordable health care or health care reform should be patient driven. Telemedicine is trending and currently reasonably priced. Affordable healthcare can be accomplished by having enough competitive market-based alternatives that empower the individual to control the decisions and the dollars regarding their own health care. This would mean that there would need to be much greater transparency of all costs from medical procedures to equipment/supplies. Accounts would be controlled by patients who are willing to manage the finances of their own healthcare thus creating a more competitive marketplace.


Shamile Hirsh (House)

The national healthcare system is in crisis. We need to loosen insurance regulations, expand tax-free health savings accounts, and leaving the health care decisions to the patient and the doctor. No more government deciding what’s best for your health.


JD Mesnard (Senate)

Competition not only improves quality, it drives down costs, thus improving affordability. To that end, I would like to see people more in control of their health care decisions. Unfortunately, the design of the present system largely disconnects people from the cost of their care. I would prefer that people have more options when purchasing health coverage, including across state lines. In addition, allowing them to see the true cost of the services they receive while incentivizing them to shop for the better deal should improve affordability. At the same time, we need to put certain safeguards in place to ensure everyone can get access to coverage. That was the motivation behind the bill I introduced this session to make sure insurance companies cannot reject covering someone because of pre-existing conditions.


Jennifer Pawlik (House)

I believe that there should be many options for people to access health care which is why I voted in support of the of allowing Association Health Plans (A Chamber priority in 2019). It makes sense to be proactive and to promote preventative care as a way to lower costs and to encourage a healthier community. I support programs that offer healthcare for children who do not qualify for AHCCCS and do not have private health insurance. The children will be healthier if they have access to care, they will miss less school, and they will have greater success and graduation outcomes. Additionally, I support a bill that would allow pregnant women on AHCCCS to have access to dental care. Studies show that this care greatly improves birth outcomes, which of course ends up being a cost savings to the state.


Jeff Weninger (House)

This is mainly a federal issue. Having said that Arizona can continue to make common sense changes to help alleviate the problem. Things like providing access to different types of plans and allowing creative solutions for a more efficient system.






If elected to represent the District, who would you consider to be your stakeholders and how would you propose to represent them?



Liz Harris (House)

If elected to represent the District, the stakeholders would be all residents and business owners residing in Legislative District 17. Fair representation means consistent communication with constituents and to be sure to let them know that I am never too busy for them. It would be important to explain to constituents how difficult decisions were made and voted on and in some cases explaining the process of how we got there. It is important to keep my word, be careful what I agree to, be a problem solver and work with the media and colleagues to the best of my ability.


Shamile Hirsh (House)

Our Country, State and Community are in crisis right now. My commitment is to The People of Arizona, and this particular question is a perfect example of what the problem is with politics. We need to bring The People back into the Government, and remove the politics out of it. I will represent my State and all its needs at Government level, agencies, unions and any other business addressing all benefits to our communities.


JD Mesnard (Senate)

I would consider my stakeholders to be the voters in my district first and foremost, as well as others impacted by government action, proposed legislation, etc. I would continue to maintain an open-door, open mind and a listening ear, as well as honesty and transparency in my actions and decisions.


Jennifer Pawlik (House)

The stakeholders of the district are those who live and work in the community. As an elected Representative, I regularly contact leaders throughout the community including those in our school systems, the chambers, city/town officials, and the police chiefs. I call or email if an issue will impact our community so that the leaders can share their insight with me. I recognize and welcome their expertise. I happily meet with constituents both at the capitol and in the community on the weekends. I read hundreds of emails each week and track the position of community activists and regular citizens.


Jeff Weninger (House)

I have many stakeholders in Legislative District 17. A few of them would be district residents, businesses, business groups, nonprofits, schools, police, fire, Town of Gilbert, Chandler and Sun Lakes.






What experience do you have with complex budgets



Liz Harris (House)

In the real estate world, I served as President and Treasurer of multiple profit and non-for-profit entities with complex budgets that were always either in the black or zero based budgets. As a Mathematics major and with a Master Degree in Business, numbers are my passion.


Shamile Hirsh (House)

As I mentioned in my employment history, I was responsible for leading and managing the areas of Budget control, Annual contracts, Corporate Relations. Vast experience as a former member of the Management Committee leading strategic planning, administrative leadership, and the coordination of budget.


JD Mesnard (Senate)

I spent eight years as a legislative policy staffer and, now, ten years as an elected official involved in the state budget. Furthermore, as Speaker of the House I oversaw and negotiated the budget at the highest level. I am intimately familiar with the components and complexities of the state budget.


Jennifer Pawlik (House)

As a member of the minority party, I’ve experienced little collaboration on the State budget. Negotiations on budget matters are between the governor and the majority party. The minority caucus prepares our own suggested budget each year, and I have had a part in that preparation. We work together first in small groups, and then as a caucus we discuss our priorities. From those discussions our proposed budget is designed. Throughout the session, all members regularly vote on bills with very large appropriations. It’s important that we keep in mind both the incoming revenue and the outgoing expenses. We must also be cognizant of on-going funding vs. one-time monies.


Jeff Weninger (House)

I have considerable experience with budgets. First, I have experience with budgets as a business owner. Every year we make a budget and hold our management team accountable for hitting those budgets. I also have considerable experience with budgets within government. I worked on 8 budgets as a city councilman for Chandler and 6 budgets as a state representative. Part of the Chandler budgets were during the recession and some were with growing revenues.





How would you propose to interact with the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce and how do you see your respective roles on issues that may come before the State Legislature?



Liz Harris (House)

As a Graduate of the Chandler Chamber Leadership program, I understand fully that the Chambers of Commerce are vital to the health of local business and community. I would work closely with the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce as needed. My respective role on issues that come up would be to articulate the position of the Chamber as it relates to the economic vitality of the community.


Shamile Hirsh (House)

Gilbert Chamber of Commerce brings together a series of strong community leaders and advocate for businesses to strengthen our town. My commitment will always be of a team- player that supports entrepreneurship and business growth by repelling burdensome taxation and unnecessary regulations that hinders our continual growth. Gilbert has worked hard to excel in its reputation, and we need to work together to further the promising future of our town.


JD Mesnard (Senate)

I interact with my constituents in a variety of ways: phone calls, emails, letters, meetings in person, town halls, HOA meetings, district meetings, association meetings and others that occur. I have attended and spoken to the Gilbert Chamber on many occasions and always enjoy doing so! I rarely ever turn down an invitation and appreciate the interaction with groups tremendously.


Jennifer Pawlik (House)

There are a variety of ways that I interact with the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce as an elected Representative. I attend events as my schedule permits, and I have open lines of communication with Kathy Tilque and the lobbyists who represent the Chamber. We communicate by phone and email. As mentioned above in question #6, I proactively contact the Chamber if there is an issue that impacts the Gilbert business community. Additionally, I communicate with the Chamber in advance of a vote when I am opposed to a measure that the Chamber supports. I believe active communication between us is very important. We will not always agree on the issues that come before me at the legislature, but I believe we should be cooperative and respectful within our roles.


Jeff Weninger (House)

I would continue to come and update the Chamber in person as well as always being available to you. The Gilbert Chamber and their members should always have easy access to their elected representatives.