Over Iced Coffee at Lolas Café in Phoenix (The Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies are great), Dr. Bradley Hughes outlined his views to bring a pragmatic problem solving progressive New Deal program to the residents of Arizona LD 21.
Arizona Legislative District 21 includes all or parts of Peoria, El Mirage, Youngtown, Surprise, and Sun City. It is the district that Debbie Lesko used as a springboard to run for Congress in the recent special election against Dr. Hiral Tipirneni.
Republicans have dominated the district since 2012 with no elected Democrats. Dr. Hughes hopes to change that in 2018 by focusing on a pragmatic progressive program that addresses issues such as health care costs (especially for those that do not qualify for health care subsidies,) “stagnant wages,” and public education.
Doing what is best for the people
A medical doctor (general practitioner) who originally hailed from Kentucky, Dr. Hughes, the father of two sons, moved to Arizona in 2010, taking a residency position at Good Samaritan. Over the last five years, he has provided primary care and house calls (a rarity in this time period.)
In seeking one of the LD 21 State House seats, Dr. Hughes wants to be an involved, rather than an absentee and apathetic legislator (a critique he ascribed to the current district Republican delegation). If victorious in November, he pledges to bring a scientific method and analytical approach to considering individual pieces of legislation rather than subscribing to all party line positions.
He prides himself as a good listener, willing to admit he could be mistaken and open to new ideas, a good evaluator of information, and a pragmatic progressive that wants to adopt forward-looking programs for the people but will also support conservative ideas if that is what is best for the community at that time. He believes the goal of any public servant is to do what is best for the people and the state, regardless of ideology.
A “New Deal” for Arizona
On his website and Facebook page, Dr. Hughes tells the voters he wants to promote a “New Deal” for Arizona. “Not wanting to write anyone off, deny people access to equal opportunities, or kick people while they are down,” he offers solutions to the pressing issues of the community that he hopes will move his district and the state forward. His solutions on the issues are as follows:
Pre-K to Post-Secondary
Dr. Hughes is a firm supporter of investing in all levels of education from Pre-Kindergarten to the Post-Secondary Level. He favors Universal Pre-Kindergarten so children can get a head start on getting ready for K-12 and state-funded full-day kindergarten.
He believes educators and not politicians should develop standards.
Believing the state will become more attractive to commerce and industry if investments in schools were made instead of corporate tax cuts, he is for fully funding education and favors a combination of Invest in Ed and comprehensive tax reform (including substituting the sales tax exemption for a refundable income tax credit) as the mechanisms to complete the task.
Believes that they have a place in the educational sphere but there has been abuse and greater accountability and transparency is needed.
Saying there is no reliable data that supports the idea that children fare better with a private school education, he is against voucher expansion under Proposition 305. He believes voucher opportunities should be made for special needs children but greater oversight is needed to monitor how the funds are allocated.
University Tuition Rates
The state needs to reinvest and bring tuition rates down because students are graduating with too much student loan debt. State scholarships should be given to qualifying students as long as they pursue their degrees and postgraduate degrees in Arizona.
In State Tuition for Dreamers
Dr. Hughes believes Dreamers should be able to pay in-state tuition.
Should Community College be free?
Like universities, he believes the state should invest and make tuition as low as possible. Impoverished students should get to attend college for free, commenting that “costs should not be a roadblock to anyone wanting to continue their education.”
Training Our Workforce for the Future
Saying the Peoria Unified District is good at providing career-training programs for its students, Hughes believes these technical training opportunities should be expanded. Furthermore, we need to train students for the jobs of the future and recognize that not everyone needs a four-year degree.
The Economy and Jobs
Saying that the state has had a decade to prove if their “tax cutting “ philosophy would bring prosperity to the state, Dr. Hughes believes that by investing in quality education and school systems, health care, and infrastructure, good jobs and a sound economy will follow rather than a program focused on budget gutting and tax cutting.
Minimum and Living Wage
He supports the $12.00 minimum wage proposition with further indexing for inflation. He thinks the state should build around the minimum wage by investing in Pre-Kindergarten and helping subsidize, with current available federal programs, early childcare programs.
Citing a study from Stanford on how all states can achieve 100% renewable capacity by 2050, he favors investments in solar and wind power, asserting that up to 1200 lives a year can be saved from heat and pollution-related ailments.
High-Speed Rail: In favor of it and wants it expanded throughout the state and across the country.
Broadband: People cannot exist without it. Should be available for everyone and the state should regulate it. Private industries should not be allowed to take advantage of people and their right to use the Internet.
Water Supply: With a potential drought on the horizon, the state legislature and pertinent agencies need to get together among themselves and their counterparts in the other states in the region to meet the challenges of the problem. He sees some conservation cuts but these could be mitigated if planned far enough ahead.
Roads: The State needs to stop robbing from the State Highway Trust Fund to balance the budget. We need that funding and other potential funding sources to maintain, modernize, and expand our roadways.
Costs need to go down so more people can get access to high-quality care. He would support people buying into Medicaid as well as price shopping for drugs across the state. He also supports price transparency for medical supplies and drugs.
The Poor and Homeless
Dr. Hughes advocates the building of small miniature homes like in Utah so people can get started again in a manageable fashion and have a mailing address so they can apply for jobs. He also supports the homeless getting increased access to mental health facilities.
In order to reduce poverty, he subscribes to the view that investments in childcare, education, reduced cost and high-quality health care will assist many in escaping impoverishment.
He is for universal background checks and the banning of anything that can lead to the construction of an automatic weapon. He believes the “right” people need to be chosen for school resource officers and schools should receive funding for the equipment and training of these people.
Criminal Justice Reform
Stating that we have one of the highest incarceration rates in the country, Dr. Hughes contends that we are creating a situation where the poor and minorities have the “deck stacked against them” because they cannot afford bail, are disproportionately imprisoned and are not adequately treated for drug addictions (most are in jail for possession) while imprisoned. He feels the state be merciful and should invest in drug treatment programs and sensible reform where nonviolent offenders are not imprisoned for prolonged periods if at all, commenting that “Arizona spends $600,000 per day incarcerating drug offenders and could cut costs by focusing on treatment rather than incarceration.”
While mostly a federal issue, he thinks we should listen to the ideas of law enforcement and what they need. He believes technology like drones would be better than constructing walls that can be tunneled under.
If they are following the law, Dreamers and their parents should stay. A solution needs to be arrived at for how to sanction the law-abiding parents without them going underground or throwing them out.
Furthermore, Dr. Hughes reinforces this belief by stating that “immigration is a net positive for Arizona and Dreamers deserve a path to citizenship.” However, he admits that he “does not have the answer for how to best address undocumented immigrants who are otherwise law-abiding.”
Equal Rights Amendment
He supports it.
Supports full rights in the community, saying there is no cause to discriminate against them.
A Woman’s Right to Choose
As a physician, Dr. Hughes feels that the choice belongs to the parents and, if necessary, the doctor, before the stage of viability. He believes that only medically essential procedures should be performed after 24 weeks if the mother’s health is in danger or if the prognosis of the child’s survival shortly after birth is doubtful. Finally, he believes the state should not tell a doctor what procedures to run and what advice they should give their patients.
He believes there is no coherent argument for Dark or Dirty Money and that voters have a right to know the motives of large campaign donors.
Running a Clean Elections Campaign with no ties to special or Dark Money Interests, Dr. Hughes feels by adopting a campaign strategy which includes knocking on doors, a visible social media presence, and hosting/attending house parties, he will get his name out and convince voters that he has the program to lead the district and the work ethic to do a good job for them.
Voters in LD 21 are encouraged to research Dr. Hughes positions further by examining his social media websites. The links are below. Most will probably be receptive to his ideas, which are sensible, realistic, progressive, and will move LD 21 forward. In this election year where the forces of reaction and extreme nativism and conservatism need to be combatted, Dr. Bradley Hughes offers a New Deal Vision for the residents of LD 21 that should be seriously considered when voting on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.