Over beverages at the IHOP at Sossaman and Baseline in Gilbert, Clean Elections Legislative District 12 Senate Candidate Elizabeth Brown conveyed the reasons she is making a second run for the State Senate after losing to Warren Pedersen in 2016. Ms. Brown is an experienced public servant whose campaign message centers on four themes. These are:
- Promoting public education.
- Protecting our environment.
- Modernizing and expanding our local and state Infrastructure.
- Guaranteeing ethics and equality for all.
Arizona LD 12 (see map) includes parts or all of Gilbert, Queen Creek, and San Tan Valley. This has normally been a reliable Republican district that has attracted minimal Democratic opposition in the past. In 2012, Republican Andy Biggs ran unopposed for this Senate seat. Ms. Brown did lose to Mr. Pedersen in 2016. However, Democratic enthusiasm has surged since 2016. There are three able and energized Democrats vying for the two State House seats and Ms. Brown seeks to ride that momentum to a Senate victory this November. A progressive, she feels that “if people would just take the “D” and “R” away and people see what I stand for, the people would see a lot of common ground with my positions.”
Who is Elizabeth Brown?
A former drama teacher, Ms. Brown, a wife, and mother of two daughters is an experienced public servant whose experiences start in 2004 when she volunteered for the Kerry and Edwards campaign. From 2004 to 2008 she worked for the Maricopa County Democratic Party as an office manager and executive assistant whose main responsibility was to recruit volunteers and assist legislative district chairs. She worked in Governor Napolitano’s and Governor Brewer’s office in the Constituent Services Department, observing how policies were formulated. Afterward, she was an assistant to former State Senator Barb McGuire and saw how bills were written. She also saw Republican heavy-handedness in burying Democratic bills and, later, constitutional amendments like the Equal Rights Amendment.
She believes that a lot of our legislators are in office for “personal gain” and “are out of touch with reality with what is happening with people. They are living in a bubble and do not treat people with dignity and compassion.” This is especially problematic because it is in the local sphere of the city, school and utility boards, and state level where most decisions affecting lives are made.
She believes that for too long, only men have represented the Legislative District and she feels that it is “time for more diverse representation.” She is running for the State Senate because she “believes our state is at a crucial crossroads and we can choose to continue the status quo of corporate handouts or we can reclaim our state government for all Arizona’s.” She pledges to be a “true public servant who will not look the other way when I see corruption or anything that seems unethical.” She wants to be the voice of the people and their concerns as their advocate at the capital, relying on “community engagement while seeking real and practical solutions for all Arizonans that create the policy that will ensure the wellbeing for all.”
Elizabeth Brown on the Issues.
Promoting Public Education
Ms. Brown says that the voters of LD 12 are “concerned with properly funding schools.” She believes that our state’s tax structure where Republicans show their support for corporate welfare is “UnAmerican that large corporations do not pay their fair share of taxes,” while our state “being ranked 48th in K12 49th in pupil-teacher ratio and 50th in teacher pay is a travesty and unacceptable.”
She believes approving Invest In Ed, closing corporate tax loopholes, and raising corporate tax rates that are essential in bringing our schools to acceptable 2019/20 funding levels. She wants teachers to get large annual raises until their salaries are on par with the national average.
In other educational areas, she favors:
- Reducing classroom sizes to a 23 to 1 student to teacher ratio.
- Funding full day Pre Kindergarten and Kindergarten.
- Increased funding for Special Education and English Language Learners programs.
- Promote S.T.E.A.M., Early College, and Early Career Pathway opportunities.
- Funding two years free Community College like states like Arkansas, California, Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.
- Lower tuition at our public universities for our in-state students including Dreamers.
- No expansion of Private School Vouchers. She is against Proposition 305.
- Holding charter schools accountable.
- No state funds to go towards Koch Learning Centers at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.
Protecting our Environment and Water Supply
Ms. Brown is very critical of how the Republicans and their shortsighted sponsors are not taking proper environmental (supply of water for example) impact concerns to heart when pursuing development projects in the state. Noting that her opponent has not done anything to address the states water shortage, she openly speculates that if there is not immediate rethinking on conservation and development, Arizona “will eventually look like the Sahara Desert.” She believes it is a “sin” that developers get to dictate that properties are required to have patches of grass that require use of our precious water supply to maintain. She is in favor of water restrictions “on watering lawns or even personal use.” She supports the use of recycled or grey water in these instances as well. Before this drought becomes more widespread, “we should come together for the good of the state” and plan for the future.
Solar Energy is the ticket
Like most of the other Democrats running in 2018, she strongly believes that Arizona, with an average of 296 days of uninterrupted sunlight, should be the solar capital of the United States and perhaps the world. Noting that her first home in Arizona in 1983 was furnished with solar panels, she is disappointed that the state, with its backward and fossil fuels subsidized leaning leaders in the legislature and Arizona Corporation Commission, has blocked our state becoming a leader in the solar industry. See This Obscure Agency Crushed Solar Power in Arizona. She supports the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona Ballot Initiative.
Modernizing and Expanding our State and Local Infrastructure
Roads and Highways
Realizing that LD 12, especially Queen Creek and San Tan Valley are growing, Ms. Brown recognizes that the area needs new roads and expanded highways.
Light and High-Speed Rail
She is in favor of improving and expanding our light rail system. She also supports the creation of a high-speed rail line that connects Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Las Vegas.
She supports public broadband and wants all families in rural and reservation areas gaining access to high-speed Internet.
The war against Dark Money and Suppressing Democracy.
As a legislator, she will “not look the other way when she sees corruption or anything that appears unethical.”
She is aghast that Republicans do not allow Democratic-sponsored bills to be heard and dismayed when figures like Eddie Farnsworth condescendingly tell ladies to sit down when he buries consideration for the legislature to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. She supports the Outlaw Dirty Money Initiative because people need to know who is funding candidate’s campaigns. She is proud that she is a Clean Elections Candidate.
She is also against Republican attempts to suppress the vote by doing away with early voting or passing legislation to overturn city passed measures like Tempe’s attempt to do away with Dirty Money (by a 91 to 9 tally). She favors making the day for voting a national holiday or on a weekend when more people are not working.
The Economy and Jobs that Pay Well
Ms. Brown believes in unions, a $15.00 an hour wage, and a vibrant fully state-funded public education and college system are key to planting the seeds to growing our state’s economy, recruiting industry, and keeping our “young people” in Arizona. She also states that we should appreciate and respect the blue collar as well as white-collar professions.
Reducing Poverty and Homelessness
She believes that we (including the out of touch current state representatives from LD 12) need to have a different attitude towards our “less fortunate” by showing them greater “compassion” and treating them with more “dignity and respect.” She favors the following measures to reduce poverty and homelessness:
- Increase the number of homeless shelters that provide trade schools and job training.
- Provide more affordable housing. She is concerned that many young people are being priced out of housing in LD 12 because of soaring home costs.
- Closing corporate tax loopholes and increasing corporation tax rates so increased funding can be allocated to anti-poverty programs.
- Helping our returning veterans who are in traumatized and in need.
- Increase the minimum wage.
- Provided funded childcare.
Quality and Affordable Health Care
She thinks Obamacare was “a good start” but she feels, with still rising medical costs, it is time for Medicare for all. She supports people being able to buy into the State Medicaid Program. She also favors greater investments in mental health.
Criminal Justice Reform
Ms. Brown wants to decriminalize marijuana and do away with the profit-centered private prisons. She also favors trade school opportunities as part of the rehabilitation program for prisoners so they have the skills to successfully apply when released.
Gun and School Safety
Endorsed by Moms Demand Action, she believes the framers, who drafted the Second Amendment in the day of the “musket” would be “appalled” with how gun-rights fanatics are interpreting this constitutional provision. She feels these people should be “riled up about education and the environment, not guns.” She favors:
- Universal Background Checks on gun sales in stores, on the Internet, individually, and at shows.
- Requiring gun owners to take gun safety classes.
- Keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and domestic abusers.
- More school counselors at schools. 924 students to one counselor is “unacceptable.”
- Increase the number of school resource officers and provide some of them with extensive firearms training.
- Not arming teachers.
Immigration and Border Security
“Do we want to go backward like the Berlin Wall? Is the next phase to build a wall between us and Canada and then the coasts?”
Calling the wall with Mexico poor public relations, counterproductive, environmentally unsound, and “prejudice against brown people,” Ms. Brown favors comprehensive immigration reform and chastises the segments of the federal and state governments that have blocked this for years. She believes in a pathway for citizenship for adults and Dreamers. Parents of Dreamers should be allowed to stay as long as they are not breaking any laws. “Separating children from their parents is inhumane.”
Ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment
Supports ratification and, as mentioned earlier, was aghast that her current State Representative Eddie Farnsworth buried consideration and berated people in a public arena who demanded to know why he was doing so.
Saying there are no “second-class citizens in the United States of America,” she supports equal rights for everyone, favors adding the words “all humans are created equal” to the Constitution,” and finds it “offensive we are even discussing this in the year 2018.”
A Woman’s Right to Choose
Finding it ironic that her state representatives are supposed Constitutionalists while working hard to take a woman’s 14th Amendment rights away, she believes the government has no business telling a woman “what is best for their health.”
Seeing a surge in enthusiasm since the 2016 election as evidenced by the Me Too Movement, March for Our Lives, March for Science, Red for Ed, and the opening of Democratic offices across the state, Ms. Brown and her team of committed staff and volunteers see a great opportunity this November to turn the LD 12 Senate seat blue.
She is a very compelling candidate who is committed to the Progressive causes of social justice and the public good. Voters should review and consider her views and ideas when deciding who is the best candidate to move the district forward when the new Legislature convenes this January.
For more information on Ms. Brown and LD 12, please review the links below