Do the voters know what the legislative district (LD) candidates in LD Two, Four, Nine, Thirteen, and Sixteen all have in common?
They are led by candidates who either have vast experience as educators or are strong supporters of the Arizona public school education system.
During this Labor Day Holiday, public school activists and candidates in these districts and the other LDs launched the Education Weekend of Action to inform the voters about how they would move public education forward and lift children and educators up while warning about the extremist Trump Republican’s agenda to destroy public education through their voucher expansion program, successful neutering of Proposition 208, and their refusal to repeal the Aggregate Expenditure Limit.
Today (September 5, 2022,) Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, accompanied by her baby daughter Clara, joined LD Two House and Senate Candidates Judy Schwiebert and Jeanne Casteen to meet with voters in door-to-door canvassing and make their case for why they represent the best opportunities for children and educators in public schools.
Before venturing into the neighborhood on Pinnacle Peak Road and 35th Avenue, Superintendent Hoffman, Representative Schwiebert, and Ms. Casteen thanked their supporters for coming out and relayed what is at stake in the 2022 elections.
Superintendent Hoffman stated:
“The true celebrity here is Clara…When I was elected in 2018, it was truly a grassroots-powered movement to get an educator leading the Department of Education for the first time in over 20 years. It is also the first time to elect a Democrat in over 20 years. So, I know it can be done. We know how to do it. We’re going to help reelect Judy. We’re going to help get Jeanne right in there to help us too. At the doors, when you’re sharing about my campaign, make sure that people understand that I worked in special education, that I came straight from the classroom as an educator, and how important it is to have educators leading in public education. Also, as a Mom, having that perspective and having even a greater sense of urgency around the issues of supporting our teachers, supporting the mental health of our students, and issues like full-day kindergarten and early education are also very high priorities for me…I just want to say how much I appreciate everyone coming out in this quite hot weather. Thank you so much for making it a priority to fight for public education.”
Representative Schwiebert echoed several of Superintendent Hoffman’s themes, offering:
“Thank you so much everybody for coming out. I am a Mom, a lifelong public school teacher, a Democrat, and for the last two years, I’ve been very honored to represent our district and fight for our teachers and our public schools. But none of us can do this alone. It really takes a village to make sure that we are looking out for our kids, for our teachers on the front line, and for our counselors. So, it means so much to have you all here to come out and campaign for Kathy, for me, for Jeanne, and for Save Our Schools. We have less than two weeks to get all those signatures that we are prioritizing the choices the majority of families in this state made to send their children to public schools. So thank you so much…”
Invoking Superintendent Hoffman’s daughter, Clara, Ms. Casteen relayed:
“I have to admit I didn’t really hear much of what these wonderful candidates said because I was way too busy looking at Clara. And really Clara is the reason why I think a lot of us are here today because we know that the education system that Clara will be entering into in a few years is at the bottom for funding, the bottom for the size of class sizes, the bottom for teacher satisfaction, for teacher salary, and Clara deserves better just like all of our children, all of our nieces and nephews, all of our grandchildren deserve better. This is truly the culture war that they want. They want to pit those who have against those who have not. Our public education system in America is foundational to a Democratic society. But they don’t want that. The fact that you are all showing up here today to fight for that system where every child deserves access to an excellent education regardless of their zip code, regardless of their parent’s income, regardless of the opportunities they have. It’s up to us to provide children with those opportunities whether it’s reading, writing, arithmetic, after-school programs, rich arts education, adequately funded special ed programming. Clara deserves the very best and so do the rest of the kids in Arizona. So thank you for being here today.”
Just before canvassing and reaching out to the voters, Superintendent Hoffman graciously took some questions about her recent canvassing experiences.
- What are some issues you discuss with the voters when you speak with them this Education Weekend of Action or before?
“It’s really no surprise to me when I’m going door to door that questions and topics that people bring up the most often are things like are we going to support our teachers and make sure that our teachers have adequate pay and what are we doing with the teacher shortage. I’m glad that’s consistent with the people we are talking with.”
Any surprises when you have spoken with the voters?
“Sometimes, it’s surprising when people, like Native Arizonans, don’t realize that this is an elected position or the role of Superintendent of Public Instruction. It is a little surprising to me but it’s a good opportunity for me to educate them a little more about the role of the Superintendent of Public Instruction so that has been a little surprising.”
Has anyone spoken with you about CRT (Critical Race Theory?)
“It really hasn’t come up very often.”
- What are at least two points you tell the undecided voters about yourself and your leadership at the Department of Education that you hope will convince them to support you this November? Please explain.
“I want to make sure everyone understands that it is important to have an educator leading the Department of Education and contrast that with the last several administrations where there was a lot of controversy surrounding the position and the department. Under my administration, we’ve been able to hold steady leadership and bring stability to the Department of Education and to support our schools.”
- Is there anything about the experience of canvassing and speaking with voters not covered in the first two questions you would like to mention/discuss? Please explain.
“I love it. I think it’s a great opportunity to meet people who may not be as in tuned to political news, being busy with working lives, taking care of their families, and not everyone is paying attention to all the political news so it’s a good opportunity. I think people appreciate hearing about what matters and hearing directly from candidates.”
Do they like seeing Baby Clara?
“When I have the opportunity to canvass with Clara like when we were in Prescott and cooler weather, I think people have a stronger connection with me as a Mom, and seeing that I am going to work as an educator and a mom is important to people and makes me more relatable.”
Voters have 64 days to decide which direction they want to take public schools.
Do they want the Republican proposed system where public schools are ridiculed and monetarily shortchanged, teachers are vilified for teaching the truth, books are banned, and private schools (some religious, others fringe) are allowed to take the public taxpayer dollar and spend it on anything without any accountability?
Do they want a system, supported by the Democrats, where public schools are fully funded including full-day kindergarten and pre-school, teachers are respected and appreciated with better salaries and working conditions, class sizes are smaller, history education is factual, children can read age-appropriate literature, and private schools and their plutocratic supporters do not have full access to the public treasury?
This should not be a hard decision for the great majority of Arizona residents this November 8, 2022.
Please click on the below links to find out more information about the candidacies of Superintendent Kathy Hoffman, Representative Judy Schwiebert, and Ms. Jeanne Casteen.