If we want better, we must do better


You might have noticed I’ve not posted anything in quite some time. For those of you who don’t already know, I am managing my wife’s, Hollace Lyon, campaign for the Arizona House of Representatives in LD 11. That obviously, is taking up much of my bandwidth.

This morning though, while riding my spin cycle, I read an article on TucsonsSentinel.com from October 2016 titled “A decade after the recession, Arizona schools still suffer from budget cuts” that got me too spun up to keep spinning.

What really set me off was Senator John Kavanagh’s answer to why the AZ Legislature has cut $4.69 billion from our public schools since 2009. He claimed lawmakers didn’t neglect schools but actively worked to “give individual schools the most flexibility, because…I believe the districts themselves know the best choices for their students.”

Give me a freakin’ break! Why is it that Conservatives seem to love them some “choice” as long as that choice is not a woman’s. Let’s face it. The only “choice” the AZ Legislators give district schools, is a sort of “Sophie’s Choice”. For those who never saw this Meryl Streep movie set during Hitler’s Germany, Meryl played a mother to whom the Nazi’s gave a “choice” as to which of her children they would allow to live. Don’t get me wrong, it is certainly not my intention to minimize the horrors perpetrated on the Jewish people during the Holocaust, nor to equate the taking of a life with the underfunding of schools. But, when a school board is forced to make choices between the lesser of evils due to inadequate funding, this is not a real choice.

Okay, so this article was from a year ago…surely things have improved right? After all…we passed Prop. 123 and, the Governor “lavished” a 1.06% pay raise on teachers. Well…even after Prop. 123, (a 70% settlement of a debt already owed), state and local funding remained $1,300 less per pupil in FY 2016 than in 2008 when adjusted for inflation. As for teacher salaries, we still need an influx of $1 billion to get Arizona’s up to the U.S. median. And now, the Arizona School Boards Association, and others have sued the State of Arizona and the School Facilities Board for inadequate capital funding (cut by 85% since 2008).

None of this should surprise us. After all, the Arizona electorate continues to elect legislators that vote against our district schools and their students. The bottom line is that until we realize that doing what we’ve always done and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

We MUST accept that the ONLY way we are going to see things really change for the better with Arizona public education is if we elect more pro-public education candidates. As it turns out, I have three great ones for you to take a look at.

Hollace Lyon is a retired Air Force Colonel who served 26 years in the Communications career field, commanded twice, served in NATO, taught senior military leaders at Armed Forces Staff College, and retired out of the Pentagon where she helped set priorities for the Air Force budget. Since retirement, she has pursued several charitable endeavors and been involved in state-level politics at all levels, to include serving as campaign manager for a state Senate race and running for the House in 2014.

Hollace is obviously pro-public education (how could she not be living with me), but she is also focused on the need for voters to demand fiscal responsibility from our lawmakers. “Our lawmakers talk a lot about fiscal responsibility,” she says, “but they aren’t delivering it. Instead, they are busy diverting education tax dollars to private schools with no accountability or transparency, sweeping our highway maintenance funds away for corporate tax breaks and offering us the “opportunity” to double or even triple tax ourselves with measures like Propositions 416/417, and pulling monies out of the state employee pension trust fund requiring them to pay increased premiums to replenish the fund.” Hollace likes to point out that fiscal responsibility means more than cutting taxes or reducing programs and services. What it really means is that we…the taxpayer…get what we pay for. Learn more about Hollace at www.LyonforAZ.com where you can donate to her campaign, join her email list, or sign up to volunteer.

As the current Past-President of the Arizona School Boards Association, a member of the Peoria USD Governing Board and a former teacher, Kathy Knecht is another huge public education advocate. Aside from the fact that she will be a wonderful state Senator, her race is all the more important because she is running in LD 21 against Arizona’s Chair for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and sponsor of SB 1431 (the full expansion of vouchers), Senator Debbie Lesko (cue the hissing.) Learn more about Kathy and donate to her campaign at www.ElectKnecht.org. Let’s all help her give Debbie Lesko the boot!

Another fabulous candidate is Christine Marsh. Christine was Arizona’s 2016 Teacher of the Year and an outspoken advocate for Arizona’s students. She is running in LD 26 for the Arizona Senate. Like many of our education professionals, Christine doesn’t do it for the money, (I teased her once that if she gets elected, she’ll actually make less than she does as a teacher), but rather, for the love of her students and the opportunity to make a real difference in their lives. Go to www.ChristinePorterMarsh.com to learn more about Christine and contribute to her campaign while you are there!

These races are critical because we actually have a chance in 2018 for real change. We only need to flip two Senate seats for parity in that chamber and only five in the House. The tea leaves say it’s possible, but it will take all of us to make it happen. You see, that’s the thing about a Democracy, it requires participation by the voters.

Not everyone can actually run for office, but EVERYONE can do something. All three of these candidates need money and almost everyone can donate something. Campaigns also need lots of volunteers to canvass, drive, make phone calls, have house parties, write letters to the editor, install signs and much more. No matter what your limitations or your skills, I guarantee campaigns have something you can do to help.

Finally, you need to be registered to vote and then actually vote. I can’t tell you how disheartening it was in 2014 to find out that not even half of the people in LD 11 with mail-in ballots, bothered to mail them in. RIDICULOUS! Joseph de Maistre, a visionary French counterrevolutionary, is credited with originally saying, “we get the government we deserve”. If we want better, we must do better. It is beyond time to step up. DO. IT. NOW!

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Linda Lyon retired as a Colonel (Thomas) from the U.S. Air Force in 2007 at Andrews AFB, Maryland where she served as the Mission Support Group Commander (city manager) for a 20,000 person community with 2,000 people under her command. After retirement from the Air Force, she managed a $28 million logistical service contract at the Department of Energy and served as Deputy Program Manager for the $30 million SBInet contract at L-3 Communications. Since moving to Tucson in 2008, she (and her wife Holly) created and ran four annual Wingspan charity golf tournaments bringing in almost $65,000, and she served as the organization’s Director for 14 months. She also served in key positions for five AZ legislative races. Linda is in her second term as a Governing Board member for the Oracle School District, was named Advocate of the Year for 2013 by the Arizona School Board Association and in 2018, served as the Association's President. She'll be the past president in 2019 and will also be serving as the Federal Legislative Chair for the Arizona PTA.


  1. Wow Linda. I hope that you are not an english teacher because you totally misread my comments. But the good news is that you can no longer be upset with me for the erroneous reason you stated.

    We cut ed spending because we had to cut $3.5 billion from a $10 billion budget. Just about everyone got cut. And I find it amazing that you include in you criticism of me my statement that we should, ““give individual schools the most flexibility, because…I believe the districts themselves know the best choices for their students.” I took that position at the request of the schools!!!!!!

  2. I agree in a democracy we get the government we deserve. the latest example of this is hillary clinton saying all women should be believed unless they are talking about my husband! and the women and men of the democratic party saying oh its just about sex not something important. and you wonder why the democratic party is at 37%. though in recent days as the clintons are finished democrat feminists are saying bubba should have resigned so they don’t look so phony and hypocritical in attacking roy moore.

  3. Kavanagh only speaks in approved talking points. If you’ve ever seen him on one of the local round-table shows, he has notes on the table and he sticks to them.

    Talking Points are designed to deflect/distract/confuse voters, and to keep less agile speakers from painting themselves into a corner, so that makes sense.

    He’s also full of shit. Everything the GOP has done for the last 40 years has been to end the Teacher’s Unions. It has nothing to do with children or America’s future.

    I happen to love it here in Arizona, but we moved here after our kids were over 18. If I had school age children I would not pick AZ as a place to live.

    • Yes, the good Senator is the very model of a modern moron ‘Publican. Only knows what his donors want him to know and outsources his beliefs to them.

        • Okay, Johnny, what did I make up?

          Exactly WTF are you saying I made up? You literally did what you accused me of doing.

          And why are you trolling here when you put us 100 million in debt and Don Shooter is running around doing creepy things on our dime?

          • You made up the following:
            “Kavanagh only speaks in approved talking points. If you’ve ever seen him on one of the local round-table shows, he has notes on the table and he sticks to them.”
            Talking Points are designed to deflect/distract/confuse voters, and to keep less agile speakers from painting themselves into a corner, so that makes sense.”
            He’s also full of shit. Everything the GOP has done for the last 40 years has been to end the Teacher’s Unions. It has nothing to do with children or America’s future.”

            What other than venom allows you to say that my personal notes are “talking points” that I get from some left-wing imagined evil conspiratorial source? Those are my notes and I stick to them because they are my views.

            You are unbelievably partisan and vicious. I actually feel sorry for you because you will never know the good feeling that comes from engaging in productive and intellectually probing debate in the search for good policy. All you do is pollute public discourse with disinformation and venom. You really belong here at BfA.
            And by the way, there are no teachers’ unions in Arizona. Not sure how a lib like you missed that point.

          • So you’re saying I didn’t make anything up, thanks, I accept your apology.

            My comment about teacher’s unions applies nationwide, and for the record, Arizona should have a teacher’s union. Arizona should support workers, period, instead of being a “right to work for less state”.

            And remember this? That extra million you gave GEO? Still my favorite.

            “”This is somebody getting a handout,” Campbell said. “It’s unnecessary. This came out of nowhere — I mean that. No one said a word about it. It wasn’t in the Senate budget, it didn’t come as a request from DOC. There’s something really shady here.”

            Doug Nick, a state Corrections spokesman, confirmed his agency did not seek additional money for GEO.”

            Or how about the racist laws you pass that literally tear children from their parents?

            I’m pretty sure that no matter how butthurt you feel over my comments, it’s nothing compared to how the people who’s lives you’ve ruined feel.

            And that “left-wing imagined evil conspiratorial source”? We didn’t “imagine” ALEC and the Koch Brothers.

            Don’t feel sorry for me, sport, feel sorry for people like Guadalupe García De Rayos, a mother of two US citizens that people like you tore from her family.

            Shameless, truly shameless.

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