Arizona Legislative District 23, a district that includes parts or all of Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, Paradise Valley, and Rio Verde, has not seen a local Democratic Representative in recent memory. In fact, Republicans ran unopposed in the recent 2012 and 2014 elections. Democrat Tammy Caputi ran and gained about 26 percent in a three-way race with the two Republicans that did take both State House Seats in 2016.
Saying “It is time for a teacher,” Scottsdale Educator Eric Kurland seeks to build on Caputi’s performance and beat either incumbent Jay Lawrence (a reactionary conservative who looks like arch villian Stephano DeMira from Days of Our Lives) or Senator John Kavanagh (another reactionary conservative who is running for the House seat because he is term-limited from running again in the Senate.) Both Republican candidates have been accused by Mr. Kurland of being aloof and inattentive to the needs and concerns of their constituents while catering their votes to the needs of Dark Money (Koch Brother for example, interests).
Profiled earlier this summer (please see link below), Mr. Kurland described, at breakfast at the Scottsdale Restaurant “Randy’s” the current state of his campaign and where he sees his path to victory.
- Please describe the three top issues the people want you to discuss the most when you meet with them.
“ Education-charter school oversight-people protective of taxpayer dollars It is not a partisan issue when elected officials take public tax dollars for your kids and line their pockets. People that are following the rules should be glad the light is shining on the bad actors. Education funding is also a top priority along with dirty money and the elected officials not serving the people that elected them. I want to Reform ballot initiative process so it is easier. Charters getting some $1500 extra dollars because they cannot go out for overrides can be fixed be establishing taxing districts where charters can get their votes just like all other charter schools. They (the legislature) stopped Cave Creek from converting to public schools (so they could get additional funding assistance) but let Eddie (Farnsworth) keep the rules that enabled him to cash out. All public schools need to play by the same rules. We need to have a level playing field. I am for school choice but we need a larger conversation about accountability and transparency. I am only in favor of vouchers for severe special needs kids.”
Last month, Mr. Kurland, in reaction to the Arizona Supreme Court Ruling taking Invest in Ed off the ballot, commented that “this ruling was decided in 2016 when the majority party, despite the objections by the Chief Justice, packed the court by expanding the number of justices from five to seven. It is quite clear that the few, well-connected can remain anonymous as they buy their politicians and then sit back smoking cigars while the voice of everyday people is muted.” Furthermore, he stated, “the solution is to not just vote for people like myself but to get others to do so as well. I will put legislation in play that models the Tempe ordinance on dirty money that garnered 91% of the vote. Then, we will honor the will of the voters and place a revenue source for public education on the ballot and let the people decide. As a teacher, I see this in terms of a math question. How many doors must a person knock on to get 31 + 16 + 1? I also might add. The incumbents haven’t listened when the vast majority of their constituents reportedly told them that they want public education funded properly. They haven’t listened when 91% of the voters in Tempe wanted to unmask Dirty Money. They only listen to those that put money into their campaigns. And I will make a prediction that they will continue not to listen and won’t show up to any of the debates. They just can’t be bothered by the everyday person.”
- Do the people have the same views that you have about your opponent? Please explain.
“Yes, it is surprising how many Republicans are unhappy with their current representation. They say that the current ones are not accessible or too pompous, condescending, not caring, puppets of special interests or not smart enough. They don’t go around and talk to anyone.”
- Have your opponents agreed to debate you? Please advise.
Actually, the Republican candidates have only appeared in one candidate forum, with the friendly Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce. According to an earlier piece written for the Blog, “former Senate Candidate Deedra Abboud shared a Facebook Post where Mr. Lawrence relayed he did not want to attend debates because “the room is filled with Democrat friends of the other side. They boo and hiss every word I say, cheer and clap for their hero. I will never subject myself to that behavior ever again.”
- Your opponents and their allies will try (or already have) to paint your views and ideas as Socialistic and weak. Please advise how you would counter that.
“Just ask them to debate. Try not to scare people to vote against me. Show what you (Republicans) are for.”
- To what extent have the Democrats, Independents, and disaffected Republicans rallied behind you in the district?
“Our volunteer base is not just Democrats. It includes Independents and Republicans and we keep growing. We have 275 volunteers who give hours at one time and another.”
- If elected, what would be the first three pieces of legislation you would advance?
“The first step would be making relationships and working with other people to advance the causes for Arizona. Next, I would work to get rid of strict compliance for ballot initiatives and get ballot initiatives on the web so people can sign online. Then I would work to pass the Tempe ordinance against dirty money statewide. I would also work on funding education and strengthening charter school oversight and ensure that every public school follows the same rules. We need to protect our public tax dollars.”
- Please advise what are at least two things you want the voters to know about you that has not been covered in the questions so far?
“That I will represent all the people in my district. I am running because this is the next step in my advocacy for children in the state. I have a degree in finance and understand state budgeting.”
With the increasing prospects for a Blue Wave this November, Democrats are going to need strong personalities in the state legislature who can work in the interests of the people (and not Dark Money special interests), forge legislative alliances and secure progressive legislation that will take care of Arizona’s citizens and move the state forward. Eric Kurland is such a person who can achieve this. Voters in LD 23 should consider what he would bring as a public servant in contrast to the current incumbents. For more information about Mr. Kurland, please click on the links to the below sites.