Maricopa County, the area that has the fourth largest population and has the highest growth rate in the country, has a regional government consisting of five elected supervisors along with an elected assessor, attorney, sheriff, court clerk, recorder, school superintendent, sheriff, and treasurer. It also has offices that deal with animals, veterans, traffic, health, and environmental-water quality.
The Maricopa County Regional Government touches everyone’s lives.
If a person wants to adopt a cat or a dog, they have to contact a County Office.
If a school needs to make sure its water temperature is within safety limits, it has to call on a County Inspector.
When a person votes, county officials count their vote.
When teachers need professional development or homeless students need immunizations, it is county officials that provide opportunities for both.
Whitney Walker wants to serve as the Maricopa County Supervisor for District Three.
An advocate devoted to helping others in marginalized communities, and victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, Ms. Walker wants to promote access and opportunity for all as the next Supervisor from District Three.
Her Republican opponent will be incumbent District Three Supervisor (and current chairperson) Bill Gates (not the Microsoft Guy).
Ms. Walker sat down at Lola’s and discussed her qualifications and what she would do if elected to the Maricopa County of Supervisors in 2020.
The questions and her responses are below.
- Please tell the readers three ways the Maricopa County of Supervisors affects their lives?
“ The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors have the power to increase the quality of your life. They have a say over early childhood education, homelessness, access to quality healthcare and our air quality. These are things that affect the quantity and quality of our lives regardless of your zip code.
“I want everyone in my district and throughout the county to know that they are seen, heard, and valued. They will have a fearless advocate on the board willing to fight for their right to the American Dream.”
- Please tell the readers how your education and experience has prepared you to serve on the board.
“I have lived the experience that shapes a leader. Education is an intangible tool that strengthens a leader. The ability to inspire communities to be the change we need is what defines a leader. I have all three. Growing up, my family faced challenges that many other single-family households face. So, when we think of the “American Dream” and the opportunities it provides, I’m living proof that it can still exist for Arizona Families. It is because of my upbringing; I know firsthand what some many families face trying to survive until the next payday or trying to save for school or retirement. I am one of the lucky ones. My mom worked hard to send me to college and worked two jobs to support me through law school. And after graduating, I went straight to helping other families and survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault through public policy and legislative advocacy at the local, state and federal level. Professionally, I advocate for legislative changes to improve the lives of vulnerable populations, address safety concerns of survivors, and advocate for state funding to help end cycles of poverty among families. This compelled me to envision my community as one that truly believes in equality, access, and opportunity for all.”
- Please describe how you would support:
- Animal wellness, adoption, and protection:
“Access to Animal wellness and protection is important. We need to work to ensure that we have resources and services in place to provide lower fees and cost associated with the adoptions, wellness, and protection of animals. We also have to ensure that hold that accountability that inflicts harm on animals while also ensuring that we are not over–criminalizing Arizonans in the process.”
2. Public safety from disease:
“The Maricopa County Department of Health needs to be expanded to accommodate our growing population. We also need to have trained specialists that are from our state universities and institutions equipped and ready to face any challenge from the future. We need A Department of Health that focuses on complete health and wellness, this includes mental, emotional, and physical health. We need to build initiatives to promote that. We need people that focus on the community.”
3. Ensuring immunizations are given to low income and homeless citizens:
“It is important that someone on the board has experience advocating for people in those socioeconomic situations, which my experience provides. We need official navigators (community advocates) that would help people in their times of need. Many people experiencing homelessness have to worry about so many things. They worry where the next bottle of water will come from or how will they eat, or where will they sleep. The last thing, although so important, is getting shots to can save your life. But if we have more resources and programs, like community advocates, they can help people get their shots and help them get on their feet.”
4. County Libraries:
“I am a big proponent of fees being dropped in In Maricopa, very similar to what just in the city of phoenix. But my plan doesn’t stop there. I want to draw a focus to our diversity at library events. I want to make sure they are funded and make sure they are actually available.”
5. Veterans Services:
“We need to promote homeownership and increasing services where veterans are in a position to purchase them. Also, we have to address mental health with returning veterans by providing and supporting those services. We have to have a pathway to their first home and programs that works to ensure our veterans have good health and wellness.”
6. Safeguarding waste, recycling, and sanitation.
“ I am a proponent of all things that help clean air and water and making everyone’s quality of life as good as it could be. We need to make sure we have those adequate resources by financially supporting our county infrastructure and the making the much-needed improvements. By improving our county’s infrastructure, and waste, recycling, and sanitation systems, we will find was to also to create jobs and provide our workers will a living wage. We need to be innovative with cleaning environment and serious about addressing these issues.”
“The roads need a facelift and there is a shortage of skilled workers. We need to also address the increase of residents moving to our county and its impact on our roads and traffic commutes. We need supervisors willing to address our concerns and advocate for innovative to develop infrastructure. Our response systems to flash floods is the best and most innovative in the country. We need to ensure that our roads and county infrastructure is just as competitive and innovative.”
- Please address other priorities, not covered in question four, as a member of the board you would like to pursue if elected.
“I want to open up a 24-hour rape crisis center. Although we have family advocacy centers, there are barriers to accessing them, mainly because they operate from 9 to 5 and does not address the needs of every survivor. Working with other organizations to create this center is one of my goals. The state has not allocated funding for fighting sexual violence When there is an advocate for this on the board, the change will come. I will also advocate for maternal health options for women when they deliver their babies to address the increase in maternal mortality rates. I believe that women should have many options and choice for their reproductive health, this includes ensuring safe delivery. We want to start conversations on community benefit agreements between coalitions (grassroots and faith-based) where they come to agreement with developers to consider the everyday needs of the average person (walkable sidewalks for example), other infrastructure needs. People that are involved in the planning stage rather than the hearing to consider the final product.”
- Please tell the reader at least two reasons you would be a better supervisor than Mr. Gates?
“What makes me a better candidate is the fact that I am not a career politician. I am very much in tune with the everyday lives of the residents of our county I work with. I attend community town halls and discussions with them, I witness their frustration, and in part feel frustrated myself. What also makes me the better candidate is the fact that I put the community and the people first. I have spent my career advocating to ensure that our government work for everyone, regardless of your zip code. I want to ensure that we are providing opportunities for our communities to thrive, not create more barriers with an unfunctional government. Our residents deserve the opportunity to live and create their best life right here in Maricopa County, and under my leadership, that will be a top priority.”
- Please tell the reader anything you would like them to know not covered in the previous questions.
“I am an advocate at heart and my values my values center on promoting access and opportunity for all.”
“I am the first African American woman to run for this seat. I will be meeting with constituents in all the LD’s and go to each area to discuss their specific issue because each area and community with our district face many challenges Some are similar, so are different. But more importantly, I want everyone to know that they are seen, heard, and valued. I also want to hit organizations that can help. Our campaign kickoff is September 28. We want to make sure we are engaged and everyone knows we are serious.”
Whitney Walker would bring a commitment to help those who sometimes lack an advocate in influential positions to voice and champion their concerns.
Voters in Maricopa County’s District Three should review her record and see what she offers the people when considering who to support in the 2020 Elections.
For more information on Ms. Walker and her candidacy, please click on her website here and Facebook Page here.