After bearing the ravings of a “gentleman,” in desperate need of decaf coffee, going through drive-through rage at the Starbucks at Tatum and Paradise Village Gateway in Phoenix, Democratic Candidate Ms. Kristin Dybvig-Pawleko (pronounced Dib Vig Pa Welko) passionately framed why she is the best candidate to win the open State Senate Seat in Legislative District 15 this November.
A first-time Clean Elections candidate, running as a team with LD 15 State House candidate and fellow educator Jennifer Samuels, Dybvig-Pawleko wants to bring a community-minded consensus solution approach to governing that emphasizes lifting all people up by building up our public education system, infrastructure, local and state economies, and stopping gun violence.
LD 15 includes parts or all of Peoria, Phoenix, Cave Creek, Paradise Valley, and Deer Valley. Unlike recent past elections where there has been minimal or no Democratic presence, this year features three Democrats vying for the two State House seats in LD 15 and a very enthusiastic State Senate Candidate in Ms. Dybvig-Pawleko.
The Republican running in the State Senate Race is current LD 15 House incumbent Heather Carter, who according to Ms. Dybvig-Pawleko, is a “nice lady” but does not follow what residents want her to do in the legislature. A Representative that follows the reactionary party line, Ms. Carter (also an educator) did not support any of the measures that would assist educators in the classroom and voted with her party in making the processing of ballot initiatives more difficult, a woman’s right to choose more intrusive, allowing gun sales without a background check, and repealing campaign reform measures such as the revealing of campaign donors.
Realizing that the actions of local and state officeholders in areas like education, infrastructure, and zoning, most impact the people, Ms. Dybvig-Pawleko sees her pragmatic progressive ideas and approach to problem-solving as the best ways to represent the people in LD 15 and move the district and state forward.
Who is Dr. Kristin Dybvig-Pawleko?
A wife and mother of three, Ms. Kristin Dybvig-Pawleko is a senior lecturer and internship director for the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. Her Masters in Health Communication, Doctorate in Interpersonal Communication, and experience teaching statistical analysis and guiding students in the internship/job finding process has prepared her to address several pertinent public policy issues in her district and the state.
With her educational background and experience in looking at data accumulated from strong research, she feels she is best suited of the two candidates running for the State Senate to analyze issues and develop consensus solutions. While a progressive, she is willing to listen to the other side and “engage” with them to arrive at compromises. She feels her opponent, while in the State House, has helped preside over, contrary to the wishes of her constituents, the decimation of the public school system that has hurt the economic foundation of the state leading to large unsustainable class sizes and poor compensation for instructors, administrators, and staff. Ms. Dybvig-Pawleko wants to promote policies and legislation in education and other pro-economic and social justice areas that lift people up and moves the state forward so her children and future grandchildren can thrive in.
The top three issues in this campaign for Ms. Dybvig-Pawleko are education, greater health resources for the elderly, and a stronger economic foundation for the state that results in greater and sustainable economic growth. In her mind, these and the other issues are all connected to a varying degree of revitalizing public education in both the K-12 and post-secondary spheres.
What ideas does Kristin Dybvig-Pawleko have that will lift people up?
Like virtually all of the Democrats running this year, she sees education as the essential key to revitalizing Arizona, serving our communities, grow our economy, reducing intergenerational and income inequality, sparking innovation, retaining graduates that would otherwise want to move to another state, and attracting businesses that would provide good-paying jobs. Among her ideas to reform education, she calls for:
- Child Care assistance for families.
- Universal and fully funded Pre Kindergarten
- Funding for Full Day Kindergarten
- Smaller Class Sizes with no more than 20 children in grades Kindergarten through Third and no more than 26 in Fourth through Twelfth.
- Reducing the school counselor rate to 250 students to one counselor.
- Career Academies for grade 12 students
- Full subsidizing of extracurricular activities to channel talents and build the community.
- Free Community College funded along a model like a lottery revamp they recently completed in Tennessee or a short tax increase of up to $4.00 per Arizona resident.
- Per the Arizona Constitution, as free a University Education as possible for in-state students including Dreamers.
- Fully funding K-12 Education by passing the Invest in Ed Act along with corporate and sales tax reform.
In addition to the above ideas, she only favors private school vouchers for special education children. She supports Charter Schools as originally intended as laboratories of learning (she has been on the Governing Board of Foothills Academy, a charter school in Cave Creek). She feels that they need to be held to the same standards as traditional public schools, particularly with regards to special education students and children with 504 plans.
The Economy and Good Paying Jobs
Again, education and infrastructure is the key to ensuring a strong economy that attracts businesses to start operations and provide good-paying jobs. She condemns chief executive officers like the one from Sam’s Club who makes millions while the workers are saddled with minimum wage while praising the chief executive leaders at organizations like Costco for ensuring that their workers get a living wage and benefits. She wants to listen to experts on what would be an adequate living wage for all residents in Arizona.
She totally supports it and feels that the longer we wait in shifting to solar and wind energy resources, the harder it will be to achieve and the cleanup will be more difficult.
One of the responsibilities of a member of the state legislature is to make sure the infrastructure of the state is modernized and continually maintained. Arizona desperately needs to improve its roads. Potholes need to be taken care of. Street Lights need to be in working order. Furthermore, in order to generate growth and attract businesses to the state that will provide good paying jobs, other infrastructure areas like light rail must be expanded and a rail line connecting Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Las Vegas must be built. Internet broadband must extend to all areas of the state (rural, urban, suburban) and its capability enhanced in places like our schools and libraries so high volume usage does not cause slowdowns or system collapse. Finally, in cooperation with Nevada and California, steps must be taken to address our water supply situation, its levels during this drought, and its safety from mining interests being allowed to function in places like the Grand Canyon.
“We are all one accident away from financial ruin because of soaring health care costs.”
She feels that preventive health care needs to be emphasized along with investments in mental health care and the elderly (which can be aided by investments in free community college and career apprenticeships).
She also supports a Medicaid Buy-In proposal similar to what passed last year in the Nevada legislature but was vetoed by their Governor.
Reducing Poverty and Homeless rates
She feels that investments in mental health (especially for returning veterans), childcare, and free community college will help reduce poverty and homeless rates.
Criminal Justice Reform
She feels that the criminal justice system, especially the dark money infested private prison component, unfairly singles out minorities, the poor, and illegal immigrants who commit non-violent and victimless offenses at exorbitant costs to the state. She feels that private prisons should be done away with or at least openly justify their expenses. Furthermore, people incarcerated for drug possession should be released when marijuana becomes universally legalized in the state and the procedures for jailing non-violent and victimless offenders should be reformed. Finally, she champions rehabilitation, treatment, and counseling at the school and, if necessary, prison level to prevent these criminal acts from either occurring or repeating.
Gun and School Safety
She is in favor of several measures to ensure gun and school safety that will not infringe on the second amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. These include:
- Reducing the student to counselor rate to 250 to 1.
- Greater investments in extracurricular and school community activities.
- Investments in Mental Health.
- Not providing teachers with weapons.
- Updating online the ATF Database.
- Universal Background Checks.
- A Class on Conceal and Carry.
- No Bump Stocks, a limit on High Capacity Weapons, and increasing the types of assault firearms on the assault weapons ban list.
- Gun Free Zones in Schools, Universities, and all Public Places except for security.
- Closing gun show and domestic abuser loopholes.
- Increase the age to 21 to purchase weapons except for police officer and military service personnel.
While this is ultimately a federal issue, she favors technologically savvy approaches to securing the borders like the utilization of drones. Walls do not work because they can be tunneled under or climbed over. She feels migrants that cross illegally should be treated well while their case is processed and children should not be separated from their parents once apprehended. Legislators should enact bipartisan state laws that forbid the construction or utilization of detention facilities, saying “we don’t have a soul if we don’t stop this” separation of children from parents. A Migrant Visa Program should be advanced that will help the state economy. Finally, a pathway to citizenship should be formalized for parents of Dreamers or other illegal immigrants that are, other than their first offense, obeying the law and are productive members of society.
Equal Rights Amendment
She fully supports and wonders why it has not been ratified yet.
She fully supports, stating that same-sex marriage and housing rights need to be codified in state law. She feels that her opponent’s embrace of the “sanctity of marriage” is code for being against same-sex marriage.
A Woman’s Right to Choose
Yes in all circumstances and policies and scientific/medical developments should reach a level where abortions are safe, legal, and rare.
Dark Money and the War on Democracy
Lifting all people up will not mean much if Dark Money interests, like the ones Ms. Dybvig-Pawleko’s opponent (who counts Pinnacle West as one of her patrons) embraces, put a stranglehold on sensible campaign finance measures like getting their “paid for” public policy legislators to pass measures to halt the revealing the names of donors like 91 percent of the residents of Tempe voted for. Furthermore, these interests, with their lackeys in the legislature cannot be allowed to put obstacles in the ballot gathering process or suppress early voting efforts.
Ms. Dybvig-Pawleko supports the Outlaw Dirty Money Initiative and, unlike her opponent, is a Clean Elections Candidate. She feels the law should be changed so everyone is required to run clean elections campaigns. She also supports making it possible for people to sign ballot petitions online rather than struggling to sign in the designated area on a paper petition.
Ms. Dybvig-Pawleko is very excited about the coming campaign and is eager to debate Ms. Carter on the issues. Like the other Legislative Districts, enthusiasm and Democratic voter excitement, fueled by the Trump and Ducey Administration and Republican Federal and State Legislatures, is surging with people being “terrified and fed up.” To illustrate the high level of engagement this election year, she pointed out that it only took three weeks for her, Mrs. Samuels, and another District House Candidate Julie Gunnigle to gather the required signatures to place on the primary and November ballots.
Saying she is going to knock on doors and talk to people, including Republicans, about her ideas for the district and state while also maintaining a social media presence, she is excited to see what will happen in the coming months, saying “there is no place I would rather call home.”
Please review the below links for more information on Ms. Dybvig-Pawleko, her teammate Mrs. Samuels, her opponent Ms. Carter, and LD 15. People are welcome to contact her team and arrange volunteer opportunities if they would like.
She is a very dynamic and passionate candidate who is very articulate on the issues. Voters should seriously consider her when voting in November.