Legislative District 12

There is one Senate seat and two House seats available in the General Election. The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Eddie Farnsworth (Senate),Travis Grantham (House) and Warren Petersen (House).

All candidates were invited to participate in the Gilbert Chamber's endorsement process prior to the Primary Election. Candidates were asked to provide biographical information as well as answers to questions regarding their candidacy platform. A personal interview and candidate forum took place to determine the Chamber’s final endorsements. If a candidate's endorsement is not listed, they either did not move on to the General Election or they did not choose to participate in our endorsement process.

Tell us about yourself

+ Senate

Elizabeth Brown

Community of Residence: Gilbert, Arizona
Business:
Occupation: Mother, Grandmother, Administrative Assistant
Education Background: The Ohio State University, Scottsdale Community College
Brief summary of employment history: Governor Office of Constituent Services for Governor Janet Napolitano and Governor Jan Brewer; Administrative Assistant at the Arizona State Senate
List of community organizations you belong to: Girl Scouts of America
How long have you lived in the District? 16 years
Select the position for which you are running: District 12 Senate

Eddie Farnsworth - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

Community of Residence: Gilbert
Business: Benjamin Franklin Charter School, Ltd.
Occupation: Attorney/Business
Education Background:
BA Economics – University of Arizona
MBA Specialty in Finance and Investments - George Washington University
Juris Doctor – George Washington University
Brief summary of employment history:
Corporate Attorney – 12 years
President, Benjamin Franklin Charter School–23 years
List of community organizations you belong to:
How long have you lived in the District? 21 years
Select the position for which you are running: District 12 Senate

+ House

Joe Bisaccia

Community of Residence: Gilbert
Business: Education
Occupation: STEM Educator
Education Background: BA Journalism/ASU Cronkite School
Brief summary of employment history: Television Journalist, Sales Representative for software, Educator
List of community organizations you belong to: AEU, AEA
How long have you lived in the District?
Select the position for which you are running: District 12 House

Travis Grantham - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

Community of Residence: Gilbert
Business: Aviation / Aerospace
Occupation: Entrepreneur / Air National Guard Officer / Pilot
Education Background: B.S. Arizona State University in Agribusiness / Undergraduate Pilot Training, United States Air Force
Brief summary of employment history: United States Air Force 2001 – Present; International Air Response 2004 – 2018; Arizona House of Representatives 2016 – present.
List of community organizations you belong to:
How long have you lived in the District? 8 years
Select the position for which you are running: District 12 House

Warren Peterson - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

Community of Residence: Gilbert, AZ
Business: Real Estate Broker
Occupation: Gilbert High Graduate
Education Background: Bachelor's Degree, ASU
Brief summary of employment history: 20 years in the Real Estate Industry
List of community organizations you belong to: Boy Scouts, NRA, Precinct Committeeman, SEVRAR
How long have you lived in the District? Lived in AZ for over 32 years
Select the position for which you are running: Candidate for State House

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.

+ Senate

Elizabeth Brown:

I worked for the Governor’s Office of Constituent Services for Governor’s Napolitano and Brewer. This role gave me direct contact with the residents of Arizona. It was necessary to be informed of the current legislation. Working at the Arizona State Senate gave me firsthand knowledge of all bill procedures. I am a good listener, I am objective, and I am not bought and paid for by special interest groups. It is important for me to do what is best for the constituents of Legislative District 12 and the great state of Arizona.

Eddie Farnsworth - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

Education and Knowledge – My formal education, my experience in the law and business and my life-long study of the constitutional principles upon which our country was founded has well prepared me to represent the citizens of LD12. My legal training and knowledge have been invaluable in the process of properly crafting bills and in seeing the actual consequences a law would have on our citizens. My knowledge of the economy, finance and business have given me the ability to advocate for sound fiscal and regulatory policies.

Experience - During my legislative tenure I have gained experience that only time in service can bring. I understand the process, the agencies, the budgeting, and the players in government. I have been successful in passing legislation critical to our state and district. I have earned the respect of my colleagues for my thoughtful and thorough approach to legislating. I have served as the House Majority Leader and I have served as the Judiciary Committee Chairman. I am the only person in the Senate race that has that level of experience.

Comprehension and Advocacy - I have an ability to comprehend very complex issues and advocate within the complexity of those issues. In the legislative process we must deal with the vast array of issues and agencies associated with the State of Arizona. This requires the ability to understand and have a working knowledge of topics as diverse as block chain technology, insurance, criminal law and water rights while working with agencies as unique as Department of Child Safety, Corrections and the Department of Education. I have gained the reputation of being able to comprehend these complex issues and advocate sound policies across the broad spectrum of issues that the legislature must consider.

+ House

Joe Bisaccia

1. STEM Expertise – According to a study by GPEC, the Phoenix area has lost nearly 9,000 high technology jobs from the Microelectronics Cluster (semiconductor manufacturing). Most of those jobs came out of the East Valley, which is where the bulk of the semiconductor/microelectronics industry is based. As a teacher of technology and robotics, I see the needs we have for the workforce that attracts companies in the field.


3. Experience in Education – As a public school teacher specializing in technology and robotics, I am intimately familiar with the young people that are going to be our workforce of the future. Given the growth of technology as the basis of the US economy, this experience gives me an insight into what resources are needed to create the workers for the emergent economy. That experience will be invaluable in working with other members of the legislature in helping to fund education and job growth that will directly impact the economic health of Gilbert and the East Valley.


2. Support for Local Control of Growth – Since 2011, the ability of local governments to manage the support of communities for growth has been severely curtailed by the legislature through laws limiting how cities and town can assess and apply impact fees and by state laws that create uniform communities rather than allowing them to be distinct entities competing against one another for people and businesses. As a member of the legislature I will work to restore to our local communities the primacy of their ability to determine the unique qualities that differentiate them from their neighbors.

Travis Grantham - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

Three qualifications or skill sets that make me a leading candidate for the Arizona Legislature are my entrepreneurial background, military service and state government experience after serving my first term in the Arizona House from 2016-2018. Unlike any other candidate in this race, I have dealt with an increasingly complex and diverse business environment while maintaining my readiness as a Major and Pilot in in the Arizona Air National Guard and while serving our state in my elected capacity. The experiences I bring to the table are valuable in nearly every aspect of the day to day challenges that come with serving in the Arizona Legislature.

Warren Peterson - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

Proven Record and Legislative Experience: As a result of my voting record I have been named legislator of the year by small business organizations like NFIB. The state GOP awarded me the Champion of the Taxpayer of the State Senate and I have the highest lifetime score for Constitutional voting with the American Conservative Union in the State of Arizona. I have served as Commerce Chair, Vice Chairman of Appropriations. I have also served as a member of the Ways and Means, Finance and Ethics committee. I have a proven record of helping small business owners. I’ve carried priority legislation for the Gilbert Chamber including HB2147 to address unemployment fraud and I helped pass legislation to curb frivolous lawsuits. I’ve carried several bills for the governor to close down inefficient departments, eliminate or streamline licensing and add business advocates to boards and commissions that regulate the business industry.

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

+ Senate

Elizabeth Brown

My vision is for Arizona to be in the top 10 in Public Education and to be the Solar Capitol in the United States and to be a leader in Clean Energy.

Eddie Farnsworth - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

I envision the state in 20-30 years being the envy of all the world for its economic freedom, favorable business climate, low taxes, limited government intrusion, limited regulatory burdens, fiscally sound budgets and a strong education system. By accomplishing these goals we will have a free society with a thriving economy. Everyone wants to be free and everyone wants to be prosperous. By implementing correct economic and political principles we can have both.


+ House

Joe Bisaccia

I would like to see the restoration of Arizona as the Silicon Desert with global leadership in Material Science, Aerospace Engineering and Science and Advanced electronics manufacturing. To achieve that over the next three decades, we need to build our economy on three pillars:


• A top quality education system where schools are properly funded and given the resources to teach not just the “three R’s” but also how to be effective in a digital economy. Today’s companies, like those of the past, want to be located where the resources to grow their businesses can be found. In the digital age, the leading resource isn’t raw materials, but people who are educated and have the requisite skills. The skills we need for tomorrow’s industry are found in learning to be engineers, scientists and information workers;


• Support for startups and spinoffs from our University system. We need to establish incentives that reward individuals and small teams for spinning off ideas into new companies and industries. The key to the growth of Silicon Valley has been the ability of Stanford, Berkeley and the surrounding colleges and universities to encourage their professors and graduate students to take their ideas and turn them into companies. Businesses like Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Cisco and others that dominate the business world and technology world today are examples of this capacity.


• Rewards for being an Arizona based business. Since our inception as a state, Arizona has been an Economic Colony of other places. Even today, of our top 100 corporations that pay income taxes (non-profits and government or quasi-government entities are exempt), 68% of the largest are from out-of-state. We need to encourage companies not just to hire people in Arizona but to relocate their corporate headquarters here. Large, local companies fund the arts, community institutions, and the civil infrastructure that underlies great, attractive communities. Looking at the cities of the East in which the Industrial Revolution was based, cities like Cleveland, Detroit, and Chicago, they are home to great museums, world class orchestras, significant Off-Broadway theater districts, and other cultural advantages that attract young people and make for high quality of life.

Travis Grantham - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

Arizona can and will be the most vibrant and diverse economy in the United States in 20-30 years. The groundwork being laid now by a fiscally conservative legislature and governor has created an environment attractive to established businesses and startups alike. I see Arizona having a larger population, better schools, a thriving state university system and the infrastructure required to attract and maintain large and small diverse industries that want to come here now. Additionally, Arizona can continue to maintain a relatively low rate of taxation which will ultimately grow the tax base by attracting more taxpayers who are willing to invest in our great state and ensure they succeed.

Warren Peterson - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

District 12 has been a leader in education, employment, and growth. I believe in the next 20-30 years District 12 will continue to be a top destination, not just for Arizonans, but for people all over the United States. The state can be a hindrance to this or a catalyst. The legislature working with the Ducey administration has focused on ensuring vibrant and strong local communities by investing heavily in education, protecting business owners rights and getting government out of the way. I get to meet with a lot of business owners. I have been told that the actions I have been taking to cut red tape and help businesses are working and they feel freer to pursue their goals and achieve their dreams. There is always room to improve but Arizona has been a leader in growth and opportunity. Recently Arizona was named a top 5 state for economic momentum.

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?

+ Senate

Elizabeth Brown

My top 2 priorities would be to properly fund all public schools and to be the solar capitol of the nation. This will attract good quality, high paying employers to come to Arizona.

Eddie Farnsworth - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

My top two legislative priorities are: 1) freedom through restraint of government and 2) sound fiscal and political policies. Freedom allows us to direct our own lives and pursue those dreams that are important to us as individuals. The less government intrudes into our lives through stifling regulatory burdens, the more freedom we have to pursue happiness and success. Sound fiscal and political policies will allow the private sector to prosper in a free market economy.

+ House

Joe Bisaccia

Priority #1 is depoliticize our school funding challenges and put the system on a sustainable footing where our schools are properly financed. My Second Priority is to restore control of development and the management of growth back to our cities and towns where it belongs.

Travis Grantham - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

The top two priorities I would push during my next term as a member of the legislature would be a continuation of regulatory reform and a continued reinvestment into our states education system while ensuring taxes remain as low as possible. By shrinking regulations, Arizona has and will continue to allow businesses to come into the state and flourish. This in turn has broadened the tax base which should create an environment in which more taxpayers are paying less taxes overall. The benefits of this type of environment are two fold in that the state is then able to spend what is needed on vital functions of government such as the K-12 school system while burdening taxpayers less with a lower income tax and fewer fees and assessments on those doing business in Arizona.

Warren Peterson - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

My focus has been on cutting red tape, protecting individual rights and making sure our citizens have access to great educational opportunities and jobs. These are important because it is critical that we get out of the way of businesses and individuals and let them create, innovate and prosper. A strong economy ensures we can pay for all the priorities of government including education, infrastructure and public safety.

Arizona has great educational opportunities. My daughter will be graduating high school soon with 30 college credits. Students in Arizona can attend one of the top high schools in the country. No other state has three of the top ten high schools like Arizona does. And when you consider how states like Texas, California dwarf us in population that is quite an accomplishment.

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?

+ Senate

Elizabeth Brown

We need sustainable funding sources for our education. We must stop robbing Peter to pay Paul. It would be worth while to look into increasing property taxes. Arizona has one of the lowest property tax rates in the nation. We might also want to take a look at the tax cut for big corporations. The Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee data shows that state lost out roughly $5 Billion Dollars in corporate tax revenue since 1993.

Eddie Farnsworth - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

This has always been the multibillion dollar question. Schools are political subdivisions of the state and the state has a constitutional responsibility to fund K-12 education. I oppose property taxes and believe they prevent a property owner from ever actually owning their property. I think we should transfer the taxation burden to one or more of the other taxing mechanisms the state uses and eliminate property taxes (revenue neutral in the change). We should collapse all of the various appropriation accounts into as few as possible and fund each student equally. This would have the effect of unburdening property, equalizing funding and removing the burden of districts having to rely on bonds and overrides.

+ House

Joe Bisaccia

Public schools – organized, staffed and funded by the local community – are an American invention. As our states and communities grew, we organized the little one room schools into larger and larger districts and migrated the primary funding of the schools from the small community to the state as farming gave way to factories. This allowed the state to set standards for education that served to make the state more competitive and pushed forward the boundaries of knowledge as those public school kids went to work in factories and small businesses and corporations as the factory workers, business professionals, scientists and engineers that put Americans on the Moon and invented both the Industrial Revolution and the Electronic Revolution. The proper funding of schools are thus a primary function of the community and state government. While I understand that the sales tax may be the most popular format for funding schools permanently, I believe we should look at comprehensive tax reform for the state with an eye toward updating our approach to the new, electronic economy. I would push for the formation of a special research group comprised of university professors, business leaders, community leaders and other stakeholders to look at the cash flows of the New Economy and to identify where the best sources of tax dollars should come from that (a) promote growth while (b) supporting the proper functions of government.

Travis Grantham - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

As stated in my previous answer, funding for education (at all levels) is one of my top two priorities. I believe the preferred way of accomplishing this is to continue to create a business friendly environment in our state that will continue to attract large and small companies alike. As Arizona’s economy and tax base grow, the overall burden of taxation can and will decrease on the individuals who live and produce here. There is no reason Arizona shouldn’t be in the top 5 states when it comes to both earning and providing a quality education.

Warren Peterson - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

This has been a focus of the Ducey administration and something we have made progress in over the last few years. 80% of increases in this years budget will go to k-12 education, we passed prop 123 which puts over a billion dollars into education and we have required certain funds be used for teacher raises and will continue to do so. For us to increase funding for education it is imperative that we not continue to expand the welfare state as we have in the past. Billions to welfare means dollars for k-12 gets squeezed out.

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

+ Senate

Elizabeth Brown

I would see it as all my constituents as stakeholders.

Eddie Farnsworth - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

The stakeholders of LD12 are all of the people who reside within the district. Representing my constituents takes many forms; 1) I am a native of Arizona and the east valley (born in Mesa and raised in Chandler). This is the community where my wife and I chose to raise our family. I know and understand LD12 and I am able to represent our district through experience. 2) I have studied the constitution and the principles of freedom. I have a firm understanding of the proper role of government and I have the courage to limit government to its proper function. 3) Meeting with stakeholders within the district regarding legislation and the real life impact the laws we pass have on their lives. 4) Representing my constituents at the capitol. I have not missed a day of session or a floor vote in eight years. My record of participation means that my constituents always have a voice in the legislative process. 5) Specifically to the GCC, I am a small business owner and understand the challenges and opportunities facing businesses in LD12. My personal experiences and close working relationship with GCC allows me to more effectively represent business in the legislature.

+ House

Joe Bisaccia

I view the stakeholders of District 12 as the residents, business owners and managers, community organizations (from Service Clubs to Homeowners Associations and Church groups and the Chamber itself) and civic activists and civic constituencies. To insure effective representation of all of the views of the people in the District, I will create a Community Town Hall where people from all groups can meet regularly and form tasks forces to create non-partisan solutions to the needs of Gilbert and Queen Creek. I will also meet regularly with all of the stakeholder groups and organizations to make sure their individual voices are heard. Finally, I will regularly walk our neighborhoods to have conversations with people in their homes to make sure they too are heard and represented in the Legislature.

Travis Grantham - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

If elected to represent the district for a second term, I will continue to consider all of the citizens of both Gilbert and Queen Creek to be my stakeholders. I have always approached politics and making policy from the perspective of every individual I represent and how my decisions, votes or ideas may affect them both personally and financially. Whether someone owns and operates a business in legislative district 12 or is a stay at home parent in the district, the policies, practices and laws of the state can have wide effects on how that individual lives and functions in their everyday life. My interest is to make our state as free and as prosperous as possible while maintaining a healthy balance and relationship between all of state government and the stakeholders / citizens.

Warren Peterson - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

My stakeholders are first and foremost the citizens of my district. I will represent them by keeping my campaign promises to vote as a fiscally responsible and business minded conservative.

What experience do you have with complex budgets?

+ Senate

Elizabeth Brown

When I worked in the governor’s office and in the state senate I reviewed the budget and was able to answer questions to constituents. I continue to be updated on our states budget.

Eddie Farnsworth - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

I hold a degree in economics and an MBA with a specialty in finance and investments. For most of my adult life I have been involved in developing multimillion dollar corporate and operational budgets. During my legislative tenure I have been involved in negotiating and developing multibillion dollar budgets that span a vast array of operational considerations, agencies and policies. No one else in the LD12 Senate race has the experience that I have with complex budgets.

+ House

Joe Bisaccia

My direct experience with complex budgets is limited. However, I am a quick study and will recruit experts in the community and will work with more senior members of the legislature to quickly master the state budget and to understand the return on investment for each government agency and task funded with tax dollars.

Travis Grantham - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

My experience with complex budgets has been in both the private sector and in government. In the private sector, I was a partner in and served in a midsized corporation that operates aircraft globally dealing with both foreign and domestic governments and entities. In government, I have participated in and helped to oversee complex budgets in defense dealing with flying hour programs and defense related issues in the United States Air Force. Additionally, while serving my first term in the Arizona House of Representatives I was involved closely with the 2018 and 2019 state budget process.

Warren Peterson - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

I have a lot of experience working with budgets in the business world. In my own business and at the company I work for. But they are not nearly as complex as our state budget. As the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations committee I am closer to the budget process than most legislators. This with my experience of passing many state budgets has provided me with a skill set that few legislators have.

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?

+ Senate

Elizabeth Brown

My office would be open to all for input and ideas. I see the chamber as an integrate part of our district. I would commit to weekly/monthly meetings with chamber members to keep them informed. I am a friend to small businesses and want them to succeed. I chose to live in Gilbert. Legislative District 12 is continuing to grow which gives us ample opportunity to attract new businesses. We must have leadership that looks out for all of our constituents.

Eddie Farnsworth - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

As a small business owner I appreciate the work that GCC performs on behalf of LD12 businesses. During my tenure in the legislature I have had a very positive relationship with the GCC. My interactions have included sitting on panels that promote communication and collaboration between LD12 legislators and the LD12 business community, participating in GCC good government events, meeting with GCC members to discuss and craft legislation that promote a positive business environment, and regular communication with GCC leadership regarding issues important to business. I look forward to continuing this important and productive relationship.

+ House

Joe Bisaccia

I would meet regularly with the Chamber in open forums to discuss the issues confronting the District 12 business community.

Travis Grantham - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

I would propose interaction with the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce on a personal level with both leadership and members on a regular basis both during and off season with regards to the session of the legislature. Being able to sit in front of the various chamber members and answer questions from them directly has proven invaluable during my first term. It affords all of us the opportunity to discuss issues that are important to local businesses. The chamber sponsored events that I have attended so far with a moderator and questions from the crowd have been some of the most helpful and informative meetings I have been able to attend with regards to meeting with constituents in LD12 and hearing their concerns.

Warren Peterson - *Endorsed by the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce*

I have always had an open door policy. Constituents often mention to me that they appreciate how accessible I am. Even when my schedule becomes extremely intense I do all I can to make myself available to anyone that would like to speak to me. I have instructed my assistant to schedule a meeting with anyone that wants to meet with me.