Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans has devoted her professional life to serving the public.
Prior to becoming Mayor in 2016, Ms. Evans, who still lives in the Flagstaff house her grandfather built in 1942, has served as:
- Member of the Flagstaff City Council.
- The Executive Director of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association
- The Vice President of Mission Services for Goodwill Industries of Northern Arizona.
As Mayor, she has received recognition and acclaim from:
- Emily’s List.
- Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce.
- Arizona Business Magazine.
- United Way of Northern Arizona.
- Coconino Hispanic Advisory Council.
- Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth.
Mayor Evans would now like to take her leadership skills and expertise in public service to the State Capital as one of the next State Representatives from Legislative District Six.
The district, whose boundaries are in parts of four counties (Coconino, Gila, Navajo, and Yavapai), includes cities and towns like Flagstaff, Cottonwood, Sedona, and Payson, had a closely contested State House race with only 577 preventing a Democratic pickup by (Ret) Colonel Felicia French (a vote margin of less than .03 percent).
Colonel French is now running for the Legislative District Six Senate Seat.
Mayor Evans and her team are very confident that they can convince voters in the 2020 election cycle to flip one of the State House seats to the Democratic column.
Ms. Evans was gracious enough to discuss her qualifications for the State House and positions on the issues facing the state and its public servants.
The questions and her responses are below.
- Please tell the reader about yourself (education and experiences).
“ I am the current Mayor of Flagstaff. I am a third-generation daughter of Arizona. My family has been a part of Flagstaff since the early 1900s. (Dorsey). My grandfather built the house I live in in 1942. I have a Masters in Business Administration and am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Sustainability Education in sustainability. I am also a member of the Flagstaff City Council. I have focused on the redevelopment growth of neighborhoods that are the most challenged. I am also a small business owner and published author. I got my first job as a dishwasher at 13 and have been a maid, waitress, a dispatcher for a landscape company, a DJ, a bar manager, a GED teacher, a cook, and have run a business called Destiny’s Creations (greeting cards, hats, jewelry, bath and body products). These experiences have shaped me as a leader. Arizona Business Magazine recognized me as one of the most influential women in Arizona Business. I am a winner of the Greater Flagstaff Athena Award for working with women mentoring other women in business. I also received the Cesar Chavez Award for advising the Hispanic Community in Coconino County. Being the product of public housing in Flagstaff and going on to become Mayor shows what can happen when the community invests in the children in the local community with public schools, scholarships for extracurricular, and programs like Pell Grants.”
- Please tell the reader what are at least three qualifications you have for the Legislative seat you are seeking.
“ My experience as an elected official and understanding of local government. 25 years of experience in the management of the initiative process that helps diverse populations in a comprehensive holistic manner. My diverse background allows me to look at positions with more than one lens.”
- What are at least two reasons you would be a better public servant than your likely Republican opponent?
“I currently serve as an elected official at a local municipal level that understands home rule and local control. We are also closest to the people, not as partisan, and have to attend to the tasks of governance. I know that I represent all the people, those who voted for me, not for me, the children, and everyone else. I will not put party and politics over people. We need to come up with solutions that work for all of us and we need to talk to everyone.”
- If elected, please describe the top two education issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“I believe that education should be treated in a holistic manner from early childhood to adulthood. We need to work on wages for schoolteachers and all school staff. We need to work on wrap-around services for children that need help including those who did not go to Headstart or preschool or have special needs. Restoring funding for all-day kindergarten. I want quality preschool for all kids. We need to address our community college system that has been too drastically cut. We need to bring down the cost of the high cost of higher education. We need to increase rural access to broadband so people can access education and telemedicine. We need to be looking at the Arizona we want. Most of this has been figured out and we just need to implement it. It’s not a matter of recreating the wheel and matter of us buckling down.”
- If elected, please describe the top two healthcare issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“We need more primary care physicians in rural Arizona. We should develop programs that help people from the area return to the are to do their residencies. We need to increase access to mental health services. We need to improve certification for community health care workers for overall health being. In Sunnyside, we created a program for the neighborhood to promote good health practices that achieved national recognition. We also need to improve access to quality and affordable health care and prescriptions. KidsCare needs to be expanded. Medicaid may be expanded if it is equitable and fair. The healthier we are the more productive we are.”
- If elected, please describe the top two sustainability issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“We need to create a climate action and adaptation plan. We voted on and approved a climate action plan for the Flagstaff community and need to consider one for the entire state that will address rising temperatures and water issues. Our forests are overgrown. We need to address all the water losses going on in the state and move in a holistic manner on water management.”
- If elected, please describe the top two helping children issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“We need increased access to quality preschool, all day kindergarten, and expanded KidsCare.”
- If elected, please describe the top two helping the most vulnerable issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“Housing is a major issue and we need to address it. I would like to look at the low-income tax credit program and expand the deadline from April to a rolling one, or two deadlines with another in August. We need to encourage the building of low-income housing. Additionally, to help rising housing costs, we have to do something about short-term rentals, which also affects teacher housing in some areas and also the availability of land in the land trusts. We have a program called Front Door to help the homeless where they house two to three families a week. We need to sit with individuals with similar programs and come up with a statewide program. “
- If elected, please describe the top two law enforcement issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“All law enforcement needs to have a body camera. We have greatly lowered complaints and it protects individuals and officers. We need to address the issue of private prisons. Prisons should be accountable to the communities, not the shareholders. We need to be looking at quality diversion and reentry programs like the Genesis X Program started in Flagstaff and won a national award. It connects people on probation with mentors to re-establish themselves in society, that way we keep them out of jail and make sure they do not go back.”
- If elected, please describe the top two immigration issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“Arizona can show leadership on this and be a model for others. Do what Utah did and establish a guest-worker program. If we set up a program with proper protections and background checks (like Utah voted on), we can improve the economy here and create employment. We also need to think about the kids on DACA and make sure they can get a driver’s license and pay in-state tuition since they have lived here and most of their families. Immigration is an immigration issue, not a Mexican or Central American issue.”
- If elected, please describe the top issues facing women, minorities, and the LGBTQ communities that you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“ We need to ratify the E.R.A. Birth certificates should say parent and parent instead of mother and father.”
- If elected, please describe the top two government reform issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“SB 1487 because it stifles city and town legislation from state legislator interference. We should also look at the gas tax.”
- Are there any issues not mentioned in the previous questions that you feel should be addressed by the Legislature?
“ We should be furthering the goals of the Arizona we want. We want to look at the young leaders and the businesses (particularly the small ones where the majority of us work). We need to focus on what small businesses need and make them thrive. Rural areas need better access to broadband. Our overall transportation system that is crumbling needs investments in it.
- Is there anything you would like to let the reader know about yourself that has not been addressed by the previous questions?
“I have a background in business that does not believe that the government should not be run as a business. We should be impactful and efficient with tax dollars but we need to ask ourselves what is the return of investments in public libraries, park, and well-paved roads? What is the return in the investment of a public system that works for everyone? There is a way the government and business can coexist. There are things the private sector should do and some things the government is better at. A return in investment in a private entity goes to the shareholder while the return in investment in a public one goes to the public.”
Mayor Evans is quite correct. Investments in the public good reach more than those in a corporate enterprise. All public servants should be mindful that their first, second, and third priorities are to serve the people, not private commercial interests.
Funding schools, clean air and water, KidsCare, Telemedicine, broadband expansion, affordable housing, quality health care, and public libraries and parks benefit everyone everywhere at all times and move the state forward.
These are all positions Mayor Evans supports.
Coral Evans is a person that knows that serving the public good by working with all community stakeholders is the best way to move the legislative district and state forward.
Voters in Legislative District Six should consider Mayor Evans’s qualifications, accomplishments, forward-thinking positions on the issues, and decide whether those match what they are looking for in a public servant when voting for their local state representatives in 2020.
For more information on Mayor Evans, please click on her mayoral site here.