Legislative District 13

The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce is invested in educating its membership on the candidates who will best represent the interests of the business community while serving in office. As such, we invited all candidates to respond to both a written questionnaire and video responses on topics which most impact our businesses.

In the coming weeks, responses to both video and written questions, as well as consideration for each candidate's demonstrated actions, will be scored to issue a letter grade for each candidate. Scoring is conducted by members of the Board of Directors and Public Policy Committee.

When it comes to business issues, how do you rate the candidates? Click here to download a scoring worksheet for LD 13 candidates.

The following candidates did not participate in written responses:

Senate

  • JD Mesnard
  • Michael Morris
  • Cynthia Hans

House

  • Julie Willoughby
  • Don Maes

Josh Askey (House)

About the Candidate

  • Email: Josh@joshaskey.com
  • First Name: Josh
  • Last Name: Askey
  • Community of Residence: 2301 E. Indian Wells Drive, Chandler, AZ 85249
  • How many years have you lived in this community? 26 years
  • Name of Employer: CoAction Group
  • Occupation or Title: Controller
  • Campaign website or social media account: www.JoshAskey.com
  • Brief Summary of Employment History (list format):
    • CoAction Group; Controller 2015 - Current
    • Arizona State; Governor’s Accounting Team, Accountant 2010 – 2014
    • Turner Construction Company; Accounting Supervisor 2004 – 2010
    • Spray Systems Environmental; Accounts Receivable Manager 1999 – 2004
    • Turner Construction Company – Project Accountant 1997-1999
    • Chamness Relocation Services – Accounts Receivable Clerk 1996-1997
  • Educational Background (list format):
    • Pensacola Christian College; dual degrees in Accounting and Business Administration; graduated 1995
  • Community organizations to which you belong or regularly support (list format)
    • Chandler Museum Advisory Board
    • Chandler Museum Foundation
    • Club Soccer Coach
    • Arizona Republican Party; State Committeeman, Precinct Committeeman, AZGOP Assistant Treasurer
    • Maricopa County Republican Party; MCRC Member at Large

Questionnaire Responses

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

Three qualifications that make me a better candidate than my opponents are:

1) I have a very strong financial background, having dealt with complex multimillion dollar budgets. I am very good at seeing the details, understanding the money flow and asking the inquisitive questions to elicit actionable solutions.

2) I am not only a partner in a small business with my wife, which she operates, I have worked for locally owned businesses most of my career and I see the direct impact government decisions have on the economy, which can produce negative financial swings for businesses. I understand what it takes for a small business to respond to a changing economy in order to survive. My experience will allow me to pass legislation with a keen eye on its impact on the economy and local businesses.

3) I am father of three children who have all attended Chandler Unified School District schools their entire lives (two whom have graduated, one who is a sophomore). Not only am I a strong proponent of school choice, I want to help craft legislation that will make higher education in Arizona more affordable – whether that be in our state universities, community colleges or specialized trade schools.

What is your vision for the state of Arizona in the next 20 to 30 years?

I want to see Arizona as prosperous as it is now, if not more. I want to see record amounts of High School graduates attending and graduating from our State Universities and beginning their careers at one of the many vibrant and high paying organizations that have come to Arizona because of our great economy and strong hiring base. I want to see Arizonans healthy, happy and prospering. I want to see Arizona leading the nation in low unemployment numbers, high school graduation rates, and job creation. I want to see our southern borders are safer than they are today, and that drug use and crime rates are lower than ever. I want to see Arizona remain one of the premier states in the country in which to live, work and play.

What are the top three (3) priorities you would like to see accomplished during your term as a member of the legislature and why do you believe these are important to accomplish?

My top three (3) priorities I would like to work on during my term as a member of the legislature are:

  1. Border security and immigration: As a naturalized citizen, I have a special understanding of the desire to be in this great country. But, as our state is being overrun by illegal immigrants, the federal government is doing nothing, if not encouraging more border crossings every day. The number of lethal drugs continuously coming into this country are putting every Arizonans in grave danger. The horrific tragedies of human trafficking must be stopped. While the border is a federal issue, we in Arizona have things we can and must do to protect our citizens. I will work with our Governor, border Sheriffs, national guard and border patrol – these are the people who are on the front lines of this fight and know what needs to be done to gain control of these problems. We must address these issues as a state. We are heading into even darker times if the Federal government continues to turn a blind eye to the crisis that is our southern border.
  2. Education: As a father of three sons who have all spent their entire education in Arizona public schools, I want to see our state flourish as a properly funded educational system. I especially want our state educated students to be inspired and motivated to pursue higher education right in our state – not out of state because they were offeredbetter financial opportunities for college. Once we lose an Arizona taught student to an out of state college, the likelihood they will return to Arizona to live, and work drops dramatically. This becomes a clear loss of future taxpayer dollars. We should be creating an educational legacy for our students, whom we fight so hard for year after year. One way we can do this is to provide free dual enrollment to all Arizona high school students – there are many students from all economic backgrounds who are smart enough and motivated enough to complete these classes. Yet only a small portion can pay the very expensive dual enrollment costs to get credit from our local community colleges for an education they learned in an Arizona high school classroom. These colleges do not provide any education, books or even tutoring – 100% of the education for a dual enrollment class is done in a high school classroom by a teacher who is certified to teach at that level. Yet, students and parents are paying full price – sometimes several thousand dollars per year – for their student to receive the proper college credit. The Arizona Constitution states clearly that public education should be as close to free as possible. By implementing this change, which would be a minimal loss of income to the local community colleges, we would be highly impacting our high schools’ students, while complying with our state constitution. Receiving free dual enrollment from an accredited college would severely cut the cost of a college degree and would highly motivate students to work harder and achieve more. This program would be extremely beneficial to all Arizona students, but particularly lower income students – many of whom a college degree is but a dream. We can see the positive impact a program such as this has had in both Tucson and Tolleson. Each of these school districts opened University High, where all classes are honor or AP classes and offer free dual enrollment, and both schools recently landed on the top 50 High Schools in the country. We can, and should, provide this opportunity this for all our Arizona high schools.
  3. The Economy: My third priority is continuing our strong economy and ensuring that Arizona continues to thrive and be among the greatest states to both live and work. We are heading into very difficult times with increased inflation, supply chain issues and threatened global security. As a state legislator, we have a responsibility to the job creators of our state to keep our economy flourishing – even in tough times. We can do this by maintaining an inviting tax structure for both small and large businesses, and continually reviewing outdated and unnecessary regulations that prevent healthy growth in our state economy.


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?

I believe the preferred way to accomplish funding for education is through a fair taxation on all income earners – I do not support a “tax the rich” program, but one wherein all Arizonans can contribute. The state’s role is to produce legislation that is fair and equitable for all Arizona taxpayers, and that fully funds our educational system.

How would you propose to address health care costs and affordability in Arizona?

I believe the quickest thing we could do as a Legislator is demand pricing transparency. What I would pursue is requiring healthcare facilities and practitioners to list their services and materials as any other service provider has to. This would enable the price conscious consumer to pick the healthcare provider that best suites their needs for the most affordable price.

If elected to represent this legislative district, who would you consider to be your stakeholders and how would you propose to represent them?

I believe the stakeholders of Legislative 13 to be the electors that live in the district. The purpose of government is to protect the individual’s rights and property. I would make sure that laws passed further that endeavor.

What experience do you have with complex budgets?

Being in the accounting profession, I have worked with budgets my entire career. Having worked in the public sector as an accountant to Governor Brewer, I am very familiar with State funding and Federal funding and Grants. In the private sector, I was responsible for multimillion-dollar budgets that were extremely complex in their makeup. Meaning multiple GMP’s and multiple buildings and sectors had to be accounted for in order to deliver the budget in many different formats. Understanding the contract helped save money and generate new revenue streams that were never explored. My depth of knowledge in accounting and finance will help me ask the questions that other Legislators just don’t know to ask. Since the State budget is a major responsibility for the Legislature, I am prepared day one to take on the Arizona State budget and will work closely with my fellow state legislators to produce a healthy, sound budget for the taxpayers.

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?

The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce is an important part of Legislative District 13. I would seek the advice and opinion of various community leaders to elicit their concerns and suggestions that would further the business health of the Town of Gilbert., and having good, strong dialogue with the Chamber would be a priority for me.

What are your thoughts on repealing the State Statute that requires legislative approval for Maricopa County transportation spending?

Any funding that is generated rom a local source deserves to have local control, but any fund that comes from a state source, should fall under legislative approval.

What role does the legislature have regarding future public health emergencies and the impact on the business community?

As we have just experienced, public health emergencies must be taken seriously for the wellbeing of all constituents. Arizona has in place Title 36, which grants the Governor executive power to act immediately, bypassing a legislative vote. I would like to amend Title 36 by adding in a sunset clause, which would automatically call the Legislature into session to deal with a potentially overbearing Executive Order. This way, the constituents have a voice via their elected Representatives. With this, I would always place great importance on the impact my decisions would have on the business community. We should never make legislative decisions that damage a local business. I would not vote to negatively impact a private business in the event of a public health emergency – I believe businesses can choose for themselves how they want to respond to health emergencies. Government should never get in the way of private industry – only work to ensure less roadblocks. Freedom to choose is just as important for a business as it is for an individual.

What are specific issues where you envision yourself working with differing members of your own party or across the aisle?

I believe presenting ideas that are a benefit to all Arizonans regardless of party is a great place to start. For instance, I would like to work with other Legislators – especially those on the other side of the aisle, on educational issues such as free dual enrollment for all Arizona High School students. Regardless, there are plenty of issues in our state that require bipartisan input and support, and I am committed to looking for the best solutions for all Arizonans by communicating with individuals across the aisle and within my own party, with whom I may differ.

Do you have any final comments or thoughts you’d like to share?

I believe that the role of government is to protect the individual and their property and every piece of legislation should further that end. Current laws that may restrict the individual’s freedom should be eligible for review and removal. I have a strong passion for the freedoms this country offers – those freedoms begin at a local level and should be taken most seriously. I am the right person to apply that passion and intense focus for the constituents of Legislative District 13.


Ron Hardin (House)

About The Candidate

  • Email: Ron@RonHardin4AZ.com
  • Community of Residence: Ocotillo, Chandler
  • How many years have you lived in this community? 18 months (previous 8 years in the Trails, Chandler)
  • Name of Employer: Self-employed, Maduro’s Fine Cigars & Tobacco, LLC
  • Occupation or Title: Owner
  • Campaign website or social media account: RonHardin4AZ.com
  • Brief Summary of Employment History (list format)
    • Ernst & Young, LLP – Management Consulting, Strategy, Information Technology
    • Entrepreneur – founder/co-founder of start-ups including Desert Moon Technologies, Ockham Technologies
    • Az. Dept. of Environmental Quality – Chief Information Officer / Chief Security Officer
    • Blood Systems / CTS – Interim CIO, Senior Director Enterprise Apps, Senior Director Technology
    • World At Work – VP Technology, Business Transformation
  • Educational Background (list format)
    • MS Information Management, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University
    • BSBA Computer Information Systems, Rockhurst University
  • Community organizations to which you belong or regularly support (list format)
    • Chandler Transportation Commission
    • Chandler Chamber of Commerce
    • Salvation Army / South Phoenix Kroc Center
    • YMCA
    • Christian Athletes

Questionnaire Responses

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


Leadership, Integrity, experienced problem-solver: I spent over 20 years leading and mentoring teams of business and technology professionals for medium and large corporations across several industries. Much of my success can be attributed to listening and working with my teams to build strategies for success. I describe my leadership style as firm but fair. I am accountable for my actions, have compassion for others and therefore build trust in my relationships. I am a critical thinker that seeks to solution through obtaining a grasp on root-cause; developing a critical path; and getting things done with a focus on measurable outcomes.

2. What is your vision for the state of Arizona in the next 20 to 30 years?

I aim to continue making Arizona the preferred place to relocate or grow a business. This will be accomplished only if we continue to remove government regulations, reduce taxes and encourage economic freedoms such as innovation and entrepreneurism. To accomplish this however we will need an educational system that is second to none. One that spawns a workforce that is ready for the future and can pivot to meet the skills/trades of tomorrow.

Our growth needs will require an infrastructure (e.g., transportation, water and transit) that is robust enough to support a combination residents, industry, and agriculture.
I envision a safe and secure Arizona. This requires a revamped approach to immigration, visa management and additional investments in public safety.

3. What are the top three (3) priorities you would like to see accomplished during your term as a member of the legislature and why do you believe these are important to accomplish?

1) Arizona’s economy - I will work with all stakeholders on policy strategies to attract, diversify our portfolio and retain businesses including SMB and large corporations across our state. 2) Securing our border (immigration) - I will work with legislatures, from both parties, Governor, SOS, AG, Treasurer, border officials and community stakeholders to examine our existing statutes or create new policies that streamline Arizona's processes and our ability to execute solving these issues. 3) Educating a prepared workforce – Arizona’s ability to execute the plan for growth is highly dependent on its ability to develop a pipeline of qualified workers. This pipeline will need to consist of candidates from higher education, trade disciplines, and veterans.

4. 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?

Adequately funding our schools will require multiple funding sources including, local, state, federal and voter-approved dollars. Let’s reimagine the education finance system in such a way that we move away from current, outdated approaches that limit per-pupil spending to a specified number of days. Introduce new systems and processes that allow funds to follow a student each day they are in a school, any school, throughout the school year. Metrics and transparency requirements need to be redesigned; school performance must be aligned with expectations. These expectations should be part of a larger framework that is flexible enough to address disparate district circumstances. Financial priority should be given to existing schools and there should be incentives and or discounts for districts owning facilities in poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

5. How would you propose to address health care costs and affordability in Arizona?

Every qualified Arizonan should have the opportunity to participate and receive adequate healthcare. I believe in a free-market economy and therefore believe the best outcomes will be derived from open competition rather than mandates. I will ensure that AHCCCS is adequately funded to meet the mission of its charter. I am also a proponent for public-private partnering where it makes sense. I will ensure community stakeholder programs are funded so that they may assist with cost containment/avoidance by advocating for health awareness and best-practices.

6. If elected to represent this legislative district, who would you consider to be your stakeholders and how would you propose to represent them?

I consider a stakeholder to be anyone who lives, plays, works, owns a business, worships or visits our community. I plan to work with local municipalities, both Chambers, EVP, churches and anyone with a voice or a need and would like to see improvements to the quality of life in the east valley. I will continue to be a visible, thoughtful leader, attending public policy meetings, visiting with mayors, councils and school boards. This is another quality that I feel makes me the best candidate.

7. What experience do you have with complex budgets?

I have over 25 years of experience developing, managing and tracking budgets. I have a successful record planning the work and then working the plan. I’ve managed budgets ranging from $3-50 million over the course of my career. A small number compared to our state budget, but my skills, abilities and experience will scale to meet the objectives at hand. Throughout my career I made sure that I retooled my management, audit and security skills frequently. I believe the best leaders recognize the need for continuous improvement.

8. 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?

I am committed to learning more about Gilbert’s Chamber. As an active member of the Chandler Chamber, for many years, I have been involved with Public Policy and Government Relations, Candidate Selection Committees and How We Stand Committees. My goal is to be a champion throughout our community. I am a pro-business candidate who believes in advancing our district’s competitive advantage.

9. What are your thoughts on repealing the State Statute that requires legislative approval for Maricopa County transportation spending?

We should always seek to improve legislation. I believe that there is an opportunity for improvement on this statue. That said, as it stands today, approval for transportation spending belongs to the legislature. If there is to be a change, then conversations need to be had. I am a proponent of small/less government but given the breadth of Maricopa County and the many municipalities and stakeholders it touches, I feel collaboration between the two entities makes sense.

10. What role does the legislature have regarding future public health emergencies and the impact on the business community?

The legislature should be responsible for establishing policies that require the State to have an adequate emergency preparedness plan: develop a framework and guidance for local & state agencies that determine “what” needs to be done in their communities. In turn local municipalities, counties and qualified state agencies should determine “how” guidelines are executed.

11. What are specific issues where you envision yourself working with differing members of your own party or across the aisle?

  • How business incentives are derived and to what extent
  • Education funding for per-pupil spending, community colleges and pre-k thru 3rd grade
  • Creating a framework for election oversight and integrity
  • Elimination of state income tax for veterans that are 100 percent disabled

12. Do you have any final comments or thoughts you’d like to share?

I've been a resident of our great State of Arizona and the east valley since 1995. I believe this election is pivotal. I desire to serve District 13 because I am convinced that the greatest threats to “by the people, for the people” are upon us now. I am a tireless fighter for the community, and I will advance initiatives to improve our quality of life. Second, I will focus on policy – not performance politics, not partisan bickering, not populism – policies to help our businesses and drive our economy forward; policies to achieve a second-to-none education system; policies to ensure we have a framework for fair elections; policies to secure and protect our border; and policies to strengthen our critical infrastructure. I am a proud father and grandfather, a former business transformation executive, and an owner of a small business for the past 12 years. I hold a BS in Business Administration with a major in Computer Information Systems from Rockhurst University and a MS in Information Management from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business. I pledge to serve our district with integrity and humility. Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself, outline my approach to leadership, and present my qualifications for leading District 13.

Liz Harris (House)

About The Candidate

  • Email: lizharrismba@gmail.com
  • Community of Residence: Dpbson Place
  • How many years have you lived in this community? 23 years
  • Name of Employer: Liz Harris Realty
  • Occupation or Title: Broker/Owner
  • Campaign website or social media account: www.VoteLizHarris.com
  • Brief Summary of Employment History (list format)
    • 2005-Present Real Estate Sales
    • 1992-2005 Nutraceuticals manufacturing/sales
  • Education:
    • 1993 College of Mt St Vincent/Manhattan College, B.A. Mathematics/Comp Science Riverdale, NY
    • 1997 PACE University, Lubin School of Business, M.B.A. Marketing Management, Manhattan, NY
    • 1999 Capital University of Integrative Medicine Doctorate of Integrative Medicine, Washington, D.C.
  • Community organizations to which you belong or regularly support (list format)
    • Girl Scouts of America (Lifetime Member) Troop Leader 2009-2020
    • Dobson Place HOA, Social Director 2010-Present
    • Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt Coordinator 2011-Present
    • Government Affairs Committee SEVRAR 2012-2020


Questionnaire Responses

1. The three qualifications that make me a leading candidate for Arizona State Legislature are as follows:

  1. Not afraid to do the work under heavy opposition – As exhibited over the last 18 months I have been researching election integrity and discovering anomalies that are often not spoken about. I did this as a citizen under the employ of no one. In fact, I refused all donations. Election Integrity is a non-partisan issue and I am proud to have accomplished what I did despite the backlash I received from media and both parties.
  2. Intelligence – I am never rash to make a decision (unless a fast decision is needed). I think things through very carefully and listen to all sides. The reason I state “intelligence” is because it takes a level of discernment to be intelligent. I need to ask questions and not only listen to someone by observe their actions. This is a skill that I recognize not everyone has and I feel very blessed to possess this skill.
  3. Listening – Just this past week someone complimented me as being the world’s best listener. Granted when I am passionate about a topic I am sure I interrupt at times. However, an elected leader MUST do more listening that speaking. I find that the best way to learn is to listen more and talk less.

2. What is your vision for the state of Arizona in the next 20 to 30 years?

My vision for Arizona is to maintain sustainable growth over the next 20-30 years while quality of life remains high. Arizona is an attractive state for many reasons with the weather being the main attraction. Since I don’t have control of the weather, it is important that Arizona maintain great policy/low taxation for this to remain an attractive state for a) employers b) residents c) seasonal visitors d) tourists.

3. What are the top three (3) priorities you would like to see accomplished during your term as a member of the legislature and why do you believe these are important to accomplish?

Election Integrity, Election Integrity, Election Integrity – I would like to see:

  1. Bringing our economy back to the pre-COVID state. Focus on growth, growth and more growth.
  2. Developing incentive for the employers who are having a hard time finding employees to work.
  3. Ensuring our education system remains a high priority so families are more likely to relocate here.

4. 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?

The state needs to make sure that the funds are collected and dispersed in a timely fashion. I believe there needs to be more transparency in our educational spending for the public to see. Recently, it was discovered that a school district had more in reserves that the public was led to believe. My question is, “Was there a need for a bond override?” The more transparency the better it is for all.

5. How would you propose to address health care costs and affordability in Arizona?

Healthcare Affordability – I am going to be unpopular here. You are what you eat. Take personal responsibility for your own healthcare and that will drive down costs for EVERYONE. What do I mean by this? I was immuno-comprised when COVID arrived. My antibodies attacking my system were through the roof. I worked with the medical professionals who understood that pharmaceuticals and elective surgeries came last. I consumed the right unprocessed anti-inflammatory foods for over a year and the auto-immune conditions resolved themselves. Of course, I am not saying this is the panacea for all but if I am going to select the candy bar over the apple, vodka over water, there are repercussions. As we age, the more important these decisions become.

6. If elected to represent this legislative district, who would you consider to be your stakeholders and how would you propose to represent them?

While the stakeholders are the constituents of Arizona, I would attend my Legislative District meetings regularly. In fact, I have already been doing that since I developed an interest in politics over 6 years ago. At these meetings, I would ask for time to give a legislative update and would love to take questions.

7. What experience do you have with complex budgets?

I currently sit as a Director on the National Association of REALTORS and just approved a budge of nearly half a billion dollars. I also sit on the Multiple Listing Service Board as a Director as well as the Local and State REALTOR associations which are all multi-million-dollar budgets.

8. 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?

My interaction with any and all Chambers of Commerce would be to see that the businesses coming into the area provide growth for not just the area but meet Arizona’s objectives as well. Growth needs to be a long-term strategy. Planning needs to be done 20 to 50 years out. Strategic plans are meant to be living, breathing documents for the benefit of the constituents.

9. What are your thoughts on repealing the State Statute that requires legislative approval for Maricopa County transportation spending?

Until Maricopa County is broken into 4 counties (Maricopa county has become much too large), I would NOT support repealing the State Statute that requires legislative approval for Maricopa County transportation spending. Unfortunately, while transportation infrastructure is important, it needs to be money well spent.

10. What role does the legislature have regarding future public health emergencies and the impact on the business community?

Should there be any REAL future public health emergencies, businesses need to make their own decisions on how to handle their respective companies and NOT be mandated to do what the AZ Governor/Legislature dictates. I believe COVID was a real illness, but we killed more people (figuratively and literally) by forcing people out of business (while the large chains/internet companies were allowed to thrive) which was completely unnecessary and disgraceful. Why were flu deaths nearly non-existent in 2020

11. What are specific issues where you envision yourself working with differing members of your own party or across the aisle?

I envision myself working very closely with the Arizona First Caucus (stay tuned). I pledge to work across the aisle as long as it makes sense for the health of the Great State of Arizona.

12. Do you have any final comments or thoughts you’d like to share?

Thank you for reading. As you may see, I am not running to give the popular answers to grade high on this survey. I am running because I am a truth seeker. So much of what is happening in this state and country could have been avoided if the elections of 2020 were truly fair and secure. I have the receipts. This effected more than just a single race. I encourage you to do your own research and should you live in my legislative district I would adore your support regardless of your party. Truth matters.

Jennifer Pawlik (House)

​About The Candidate

  • Email: JenniferPawlikforAZ@gmail.com
  • Community of Residence: Chandler
  • How many years have you lived in this community? 14 years
  • Name of Employer State of Arizona
  • Occupation or Title Representative
  • Campaign website or social media account www.jenniferpawlik.com
  • Brief Summary of Employment History
    • 2019-Present Representative, Arizona House of Representatives
    • 2015-Present Instructor, NAU
    • 2013-2019 Executive Trainer, Spalding Education International
    • 2007-2016 Teacher, Chandler Unified
  • Educational Background
    • Bachelor’s of Science, Elementary Education, NAU, 1996
    • Masters of Education, Curriculum & Instruction, NAU 2010
  • Community organizations to which you belong or regularly support
    • Sun Lakes Democratic Club

Questionnaire Responses

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

Three qualifications I have that make me a leading candidate for the Arizona State Legislature include that I am the incumbent, I am a listener, and I am detail-oriented. Because I am an incumbent, I have knowledge of the way things work at the legislature, and I have connections with people at the capitol. Because I listen to others, I can better understand their position. This helps me to represent the community. Being detail-oriented ensures that I collect all the information I need to make decisions. I read a great deal, and I take copious notes. I ask lots of questions to ensure I understand the policy or issue.

2. What is your vision for the state of Arizona in the next 20 to 30 years?

I am a “glass half-full” type of person. My vision for the state of Arizona in the next 20-30 years is that we return to a time where people trust and respect one another even if they don’t agree on policies or share the same political party. I would like to see an AZ where people can afford to own homes in the communities where they work. I’d like to see properly funded schools (PK- universities) that prepare students for the positions businesses are seeking to fill. It would be great to have a solution to our water shortages and increased use of green energy-including solar.

3. What are the top three (3) priorities you would like to see accomplished during your term as a member of the legislature and why do you believe these are important to accomplish?

The most important priority is education of our children because a strong education system will encourage businesses to relocate to Arizona (and stay here). It will ensure that our children are prepared for good-paying jobs. I very strongly believe that a good education is the ticket out of poverty. As our state continues to grow, we will require water to drink, for agriculture, and for industry. We must plan for the future generations in a thoughtful manner that includes stakeholders from all areas of the state. Finally, we need to rebuild trust in our election systems. I want eligible voters to be able to cast a ballot in the way that is most convenient for them; over the last two decades, most people have voted-by-mail. There has been very little fraud.

4. 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?

I believe the state has a great role in education funding. The funding formula does need to be reworked however. We are using a funding formula that was created in 1980, before there were charter schools and open enrollment. It costs more to educate both children in general education and those with special needs now than it did in 1980. It also costs more to educate children who are living in poverty. The ROI on quality preschool programs is tremendous. It is something we should strongly consider. Additionally, funding should be equitable regardless of where students live.

5. How would you propose to address health care costs and affordability in Arizona?

When considering health care costs, particularly for those who are on AHCCCS, it is critical that we are proactive-it actually saves money. One specific example of this is that pregnant women who receive dental care have better birth outcomes, but we don’t allow them to receive this care when they are AHCCC patients. I was a co-sponsor on a bill diabetes management program for those on AHCCCS. The program will teach the patients how to manage their diabetes so that their health outcomes are better (and less expensive).

6. If elected to represent this legislative district, who would you consider to be your stakeholders and how would you propose to represent them?

The stakeholders are many. They include the people who live and work in the district. They include other elected officials and leaders in public safety, education and business. One thing people in the community often say about me is, “You show up.” I do. It is important to me that I have an open line of communication with the leaders in our community. I call them, and I attend meetings with them. This helps me understand the needs of the community I represent. My votes are sometimes different from others of my party because I have had conversations with the experts in our community, and I understand how the issue will impact the area where we live.

7. What experience do you have with complex budgets?

After serving two terms in the Arizona House of Representatives, I have had to consider many appropriations bills including those with “small” dollar asks of less than $100,000 up to the entire state budget which is more than $13 billion.

8. 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?

When I am re-elected, I will continue my relationship with the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce. I will continue to reach out when there is an issue that impacts the businesses of Gilbert. I know that learning is a life-long activity, so I am more than happy to attend any programs where I can learn more about the work of the Chamber or gain more insight into Gilbert businesses.

9. What are your thoughts on repealing the State Statute that requires legislative approval for Maricopa County transportation spending?

It is very strange that ONLY Maricopa County requires the legislature’s approval for transportation spending. I am okay with repealing that statute.

10. What role does the legislature have regarding future public health emergencies and the impact on the business community?

This is a very tricky question. There was so much we didn’t know when the pandemic began. I believe decisions relating to health should be determined (or at the very least guided) by our public health department. I think it is important that the public understands that as we learn more about a public health issue, recommendations change. This doesn’t mean the recommendations were poor or wrong, it just means we have more/better information. The latest data should be used to inform decision making. This is also a very good example of why the relationship between the Chambers and the legislature should be strong.

11. What are specific issues where you envision yourself working with differing members of your own party or across the aisle?

In the legislature, most of the bills that are passed are done so with strong bipartisan support. Some big bills that I’ve worked across the aisle to pass include bills to increase funding for school counselors, dyslexia identification, expansion of pre-kindergarten, adult education bills, and bills that allow tax credits for the tech companies R & D expansion. It would be nice if the parties worked together on the state budget.

12. Do you have any final comments or thoughts you’d like to share?

Video Responses

The following candidates did not participate in video responses:

Senate

  • JD Mesnard
  • Michael Morris
  • Cynthia Hans

House

  • Liz Harris
  • Julie Willoughby
  • Don Maes
  • Jennifer Pawlik
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