Arizona Legislative District 22, an area that includes all or parts of Lake Pleasant, Surprise and Sun City West.
In its current geographic configuration, it has never had a Democratic Legislator in the State House or Senate.
Kathleen Honne‘s mission is to change that in 2020.
Campaigning as a Clean Elections candidate to replace either incumbent Ben Toma or Frank Carroll, Ms. Honne, a retired educator, wants to bring a pragmatic consensus-building forward-looking approach to the Arizona State Legislature.
Meeting at Lolas Café, Ms. Honne discussed her qualifications for legislative office and her positions on the issues.
The questions and her responses are below.
- Please tell the reader about yourself (education and experiences).
“ I am a third-generation Arizonan. Other than a summer lifeguarding on a lake in Illinois and spent the nineties in New Mexico where I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees at Western New Mexico University, while teaching, counseling and starting a family, I am Arizonan, through and through! My husband and I chose to come back here and raise our family after college because we believed in what Arizona had to offer culturally, economically. We grew up in Douglas, with the benefit of a well funded public education and a thriving community that supported families when there were needs. I want to help everyone have the same positive experiences growing up in Arizona we did. Both my husband and I are educators, have two children, a granddaughter, and a dog. My experience as an Arizonan, teacher, counselor, Assistant Principal in the Dysart District, and the administrator of multiple states, federal and private grants have shown me what is possible. The most relevant experience to legislating is overseeing the $5 million Safe Schools Healthy Students Grant which required community partnerships for school resource officers and mental health services. It gave me the perspective of how to sit down with people who you may not agree with or may not understand the issues and come to a consensus in the best interest of the community.
Aside from my experience as part of the education community, participating in 4-H and Future Farmers of America as a kid instilled a sense of service that has pushed me to always be an active participant in community development. Managing every sports team imaginable, either for my own children or my husband Coach Honne, building a community park, implementing robust Driving While Intoxicated laws, and serving as a volunteer special education advocate for students are a few of my most rewarding experiences. It is exciting that my granddaughter has just signed up for her first t-ball, soccer and gymnastics experiences.”
- Please tell the reader what are at least three qualifications you have for the Legislative seat you are seeking.
“This is not something I was looking for, I am not a politician. I have not campaigned for office since my freshman year in high school! I felt the call to action and have experienced the support of people in my district looking for someone to represent their voice. As an educator, having the ability to work across socioeconomic and political spectrums is vital. I have a proven track record of getting things done. Within my family, I am known as the go-to problem solver. Whether I’m helping my sister-in-law get results from a health insurance company, negotiating a bill with a utility company for my parents, or putting my counseling background to work reminding feuding cousins that we can value each other without agreeing on every opinion, I seem to be the one others look to guide them from being stuck in a problem to finding resolution. Basically, I have the perspective of the whole community and the ability to multitask. Finally, working as an activist at the Capitol with proven nonpartisan groups like Save Our Schools, MOMS Demand Action and Outlaw Dirty Money inspires me to do the best for all Arizonans. I have worked to arrive at a consensus and decease the polarization. I want to bring this life experience to the state Capitol.“
- What are at least two reasons you would be a better public servant than your likely Republican opponent?
“I do not look at them as Republicans, their values for our state are just different than mine. I want to clean up the political spectrum of dirty money currently fueling decisions and returning to the John McCain era of civil dialogue. I have made an effort to meet with all my legislators by email, phone, handwritten cards welcoming them to office, and visiting their assistants in person. It took a year and a half to get a response from just one of them. It was a good conversation but it should not take a year and a half to start a dialogue. I am a fiscal conservative like my opponents claim to be. Arizona is not lacking money. Arizona is deficient in how it spends and earns its money. What we do with our money shows our values. Currently, Arizona appears to value tax relief for the wealthiest and corporations over providing for the common good of all Her citizens. As a Christian, my faith provides a guide to leading for Arizona. Caring for those in need and vulnerable, forgiving easily and loving everyone, regardless of our differences, are guiding principles I aspire to live by daily. Those values drive what we do with our money as a family and will drive my decisions as a Representative in the Arizona Legislature. “
- If elected, please describe the top two education issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“We have ridiculous funding formulas by design that needs to be cleaned up. Getting our funding right is the most important thing we can do. Some of the ways we can do this are by establish better communication with the Federal Government in reference to educational funding under their control, like Title I and IDEA, strengthening the relationships between education organizations within our state, and establishing partnerships across school choice options so that all students can benefit from whatever methods are proven successful. Traditional, Charter Public Schools and other institutions receiving Arizona tax dollars through methods like ESAs need to be totally transparent and accountable at all levels, both academically and fiscally. We also have to make schools as safe as possible. One data-driven way to do this is through the funding of school threat assessment teams at all schools that include five key staff members (counselor, psychologist, school resource officer, nurse, and social worker) focusing on the student’s needs. Local control is critical because the closer to the student decisions can be made, the better the outcomes will be. It is the legislature’s role to provide the funding, and a framework for expenditures, then get out of the way for each campus to decide how to meet the unique needs of their population. Finally, we charge our kids too much on university tuition. Community Colleges and Universities need to be as free as possible.
One caveat regarding school resource officers. Every campus deserves the protection of a trained Law Enforcement Officer, however, every LEO is not qualified to be on a school campus. There is a specific framework for identifying the correct officers for this role. School/LEA partnerships and interagency agreements, with the school having the ultimate decision in characteristics of the best candidate for their population, are critical to the success of an officer being assigned to a campus.”
- If elected, please describe the top two healthcare issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“A SINGLE MEDICAL EMERGENCY SHOULD NEVER BANKRUPT A FAMILY. The state should provide access to quality health insurance. I favor a buy into the State Medicaid program and more choices on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Insurance and prescription drug protections protect businesses as well as people and we should be doing that. Kids need to be first. When we have healthy kids, we have a healthier community and economy. Furthermore, we need to fully fund mental health services.”
- If elected, please describe the top two sustainability issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“We have to move towards renewable energy like wind, solar, and safe nuclear because it is good for the economy and healthy citizens. There is no reason we have less solar than New Jersey. Water is another important issue because of the shortages. We cannot put a golf course on every single corner. Let’s reward developers who reclaim and recycle water and serve as a model for other communities. We have to monitor impact studies on industrial development projects.”
- If elected, please describe the top two helping children issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“We do not as a state provide a safe or healthy environment for all kids from birth to adulthood. We have to stop piecemealing pet projects together and make the decision that our children are valued. We need to provide more oversight for foster care and adoption programs that ensure our kids are safe and healthy if they must be removed from their birth parents. We need to prevent child access to firearms and drugs. I do not want to take away guns from responsible, stable citizens, I want to make limit unsafe access. The Be SMART program is one avenue that offers an educational framework to do this. I want to provide funding to prevent mistakes as early as possible. Much like pool fences prevent drowning, gun safes and training prevent firearm deaths. I support free full-day kindergarten and Pre School. “
- If elected, please describe the top two helping the most vulnerable issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“We need to honor people that are disabled. We need to look at people as having different abilities and talents instead of whether or not they have disabilities. Arizona is ranked 32nd out of 32 states measuring this service in rehabilitation services. Everyone who has a disability and wants to work should be able to do so, quickly and with support. There has to a balance in services and retraining people so they can find success. We need to revamp transportation services in the West Valley.”
- If elected, please describe the top two law enforcement issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“Our law enforcement community is equally as important as the education one. Educator’s mold life’s while law enforcement protects us. They need to have a pension and health care system that is beneficial and reliable. They do not need to worry about that. Prisons should not be privatized. We should also use law enforcement as partners to the community and educational outreach.”
- If elected, please describe the top two immigration issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“Immigration is a federal issue. It is critical to the Arizona Economy and our trading partners with Mexico. We need to remove the stigma that all immigrants are bad. A day labor program that is fully vetted will benefit everyone and get rid of the stigma. Also, stop using DACA kids as pawns. I favor secure borders. The majority of illegal immigration is from expired visas and illegal drugs coming from overseas and carports, not the desert border with Mexico. I believe in science and data. Please remember, I grew up in a border town. I still have family there. This issue is personal to me in a way it may not be to someone who only has their experience with the news to base their decisions.”
- If elected, please describe the top issues facing women, minorities, and the LGBTQ communities that you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“It is a matter of equity. It does not matter what your gender, religion, the color of skin, or sexual preference is. It is what the United States is supposed to be based on. As a legislator, I will invite all stakeholders to the table to invest in the decisions that impact them. ”
- If elected, please describe the top two government reform issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“I support the Outlaw Dirty Money and Fair Elections Initiative. I believe in proper oversight for any agency under the umbrella of Arizona. The money needs to be spent on oversight. We have to put natural sunset on every tax credit passed in this state so oversight can be provided. Again data is key. I am in favor of citizen ballot initiatives, but I would prefer a legislature that values the will of the people, so citizens don’t have to invest hundreds of hours collecting signatures, and tons of money battling alternative perspectives in court.”
- Are there any issues not mentioned in the previous questions that you feel should be addressed by the Legislature.
“I am a clean elections candidate and someone who supports getting the grime out of politics. We need to move towards the clean elections system where everyone has equal footing and you truly are providing government by the people. We need to also provide economic opportunities for the local populace so they do not take jobs in other parts of the county. I am in favor of a 50 percent sales tax cut. Sixty percent of our state’s revenues come from a sales tax. It is regressive and not a great funding model for the state. We need to tax property (including corporate) and income differently for more stable financing of the state. “
- Is there anything you would like to let the reader know about yourself that has not been addressed by the previous questions?
“I want to talk about our shared values and work with you on finding solutions to our district and state.”
The Republican opponents Ms. Honne is seeking to retire have less than stellar records with regards to helping others and Democracy.
- To reduce the minimum wage for teenagers and full-time students.
- Stifle the ballot initiative process.
- To fund education at pre-2008 recession levels.
Mr. Toma has also voted to:
- Add restrictions on a woman’s right to choose.
- Allow nonlethal (Huh) weapons on college campuses.
- Deny cities and towns from having campaigns publicly reveal donations.
If the people of Legislative District 22 want public servants that will choke Democracy, deny women basic rights, not allow a living wage for all working-age individuals, and not fully fund schools, Toma and Carroll are the candidates to choose.
However, if the voters want a new approach that looks forward, believes in the power of the people, and prudent investments in children, education, the most vulnerable, and infrastructure, then Kathleen Honne merits consideration in November 2020.