Retired Social Studies instructor and Principal, Linda Patterson wants to build on Democratic momentum in Legislative District 11 (an area that ranges from Maricopa to Casa Grande to Oro Valley/Marana and to the outskirts of Tucson) and dispatch Vince Leach from the State Senate in 2020.
Mr. Leach is among the most reactionary members of the Arizona State Legislature. He is a controversial figure as he serves special interests who have donated to his campaigns.
The current State Senator from Legislative District has consistently embraced ultra-conservative positions, having voted, just in the last legislative session to:
- Deny HIV Prevention Education.
- Make it harder for Ballot Initiatives to get to the voters to consider.
- Make it legal for drivers to use their cell phones while driving.
- Fund Charter Schools over Public Education.
- Support Dark Money and Special Interests.
- Ignore Climate Change.
When he was a State Representative, Mr. Leach had earned a reputation with the Blog for Arizona, along with his LD 11 House Colleague Mark Finchem, as one of the worst legislators in Arizona.
In 2018, Democratic Senate Candidate Ralph Atchue improved on the Democratic Performance over recent election cycles. Retired Educator Linda Patterson feels she can build on what Atchue accomplished, remarking that she “stands in his shoulders”.
She is dedicated to bringing a new governing vision to the people of Legislative District 11…one that values bringing lawmakers together to solve the issues of the people of Arizona.
Ms. Patterson graciously responded to questions about her qualifications and ideas she would pursue should she win the election in 2020.
The questions and responses are below.
- Please tell the reader about yourself (education and experiences). Education:
“Washington State University/ BA, Cum Laude/Education/Social Science.
Oregon State University/MS Summa Cum Laude Intervention Counseling.
University of Oregon/ Administration, Magna Cum Laude.
Stanford University, Model Schools Initiative, Reforming large high schools into smaller, high performing learning academies that reduce the dropout rate, increase student performance and deliver to the passions inherent in their skills, abilities and passions.
- “Retired Educator 33 years in Oregon and California and Arizona. High School Teacher Government, History, Modern Problems. Intervention and Post High School Planning Counselor. Administration.
- Career Emphasis on Strategic Planning: Data, Research, and Best Practices. Demonstrated ability to bring diverse populations together to solve problems and address issues. I have consistently made a positive difference in the lives of others as an inspiration to reach beyond the present into a future of improved success.”
- “I take a most generous approach to others as possible…appreciation, gratitude, and respect. State legislators need to listen, find common values and be honest and firm. My approach is to build consensus, which brings about enduring change. I focus on honesty, integrity, and ethics.
Personal Interests and Passions:
- SCUBA diving
- Member if the Climate Action Network
- Working with the Jane Goodall Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, Orca Whale Research Project, the Pacific Whale Foundation, Turtle Conservancy.
- Volunteer Advocate for Suspended High School Students
- What is at least two reasons you would be a better public servant than your likely Republican opponent?
- “ I am not beholden to special interests that have undermined the priorities and will of the people. If one looks at the AZ Sec of State website donations from the last election cycle of opponent reveals over $150,000 of PAC and other special interest donations, including the Trump Foundation, are leftover from his 2018 campaign. I can only imagine what his campaign funding will be in the 2020 election!
2. I am running as a Clean Elections Candidate of a grassroots campaign with very little funding. Team Patterson will run a convincing campaign that represents the majority of LD 11 and not the special interests that support my opponent.
3. “I believe in a representative democracy where a legislator represents the will of the majority and works toward common-sense solutions. This must be done via Strategic Planning…analyzing data, research, best practices. I represent optimism that our current system of government can be improved. My opponent is known as a reactionary who supports those who get him elected through campaign donations.”
4. “I have a demonstrated career of bringing people together and across the aisle to solve problems. Uniting people to create a common purpose and solve problems. Optimistic about the fact that people are good and that democracy works. 2020 election is a pivotal time to save this democracy!”
5. Effective legislators are able to provide a vision for the future that improves lives for Arizonans. They listen to the needs and issues of their constituents and develop strategic plans that enact policy and laws that serve their desires.
“Most of the people in the district are disheartened with what is happening with our Democracy in Arizona and in our nation. Our political system is broken and needs all concerned citizens to come together to make necessary changes by electing legislators that will serve the majority of Arizonans.”
- “If being a Democrat means that I am someone who looks ahead and not behind…”
- “If it means I am someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions…”
- “If it means I am someone who values democracy over special interests and dark money…”
- “If it means I am someone who cares about the welfare of our residents….their health, their public schools, their jobs, their climate, civil rights, and civil liberties…”
“If that is what they mean when they say I am a Democrat than I am proud to say I am a Democrat! And, I am part of a movement that will save our democracy.”
- If elected, please describe the top two education issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
- “ Full Funding of Public Education…the great equalizer in our society! AZ is rated among the worst states in academic performance, keeping kids in school, shortage of certified teachers, preventing school dropouts and teacher pay. I support Public Education with an emphasis of PreK-Community and College Education. Providing students with the education they deserve, teachers to earn a living in the career they are devoted and parents and communities with a top-rated education system will attract living wage companies to AZ…strong economy. How to pay for it: money left on the table in the last session and uncollected taxes provided on a temporary basis to attract businesses to AZ that have not been updated…billions of dollars. I talked to a senior-level writing teacher over the weekend who informed me he was teaching 40 students each class period of five sections. This is an impossible situation that adversely affects students and teachers. This type of issue affects all students at all levels which is tragic!
2. “Infrastructure and conditions in public schools. There are substandard and crumbling buildings without air conditioning that contain lead pipes and lack of adequate facilities. We need to bring these conditions into the 21st Century.”
3. “Addressing pay and teacher retention, overcrowded classrooms, low student achievement, lack of adequate books and other learning aids, strategic professional development and other student to teacher issues.
- If elected, please describe the top two healthcare issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
- “Many citizens are working without health benefits and too poor to afford healthcare, others are covered under an ever-shrinking Affordable Care Act and those with private insurance are experiencing outrageous deductibles/copays. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. We need to create a system that does not place citizens in a situation where they are one health incident away from total bankruptcy. Access to accessible and affordable healthcare is a moral imperative.”
2. We need to put a stop to the undermining of healthcare that has eliminated protections of millions of Arizonans with preexisting conditions. The present party in power really, really wants to take healthcare away from families.”
3. “The lack of affordable and accessible healthcare for Arizonans is amplified when compared to AZ lawmakers who enjoy prime healthcare benefits funded by Arizonans! These benefits are robust and generous.”
4. “Arizonans need to trust that they will be able to go to a doctor and get medical care when they need.”
- If elected, please describe the top two sustainability issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
- “Climate Change is a real and present danger to life as we know it. We need to secure an environment that protects the air we breathe, the water we drink and maintains the ability to live productive lives. We deserve the right to a future in a sustainable world that has been undermined by the inaction of the present party in power.”
2. “Research has proven that we need to be focused on a worldwide solution to climate change…such as an international carbon fee and dividend initiative. This initiative is supported throughout the world and is a win-win for all people. Simply collect a fee from fossil fuel corporations and refund an incentive to residents, depending on their carbon footprint. As state legislators, we need to be serious about providing the leadership toward solving the problems associated with climate change…new ideas for energy, creative solutions for rising temperatures, pollution, water issues, droughts, and mass migration. I am a proud member of a grassroots initiative to educate, inspire and solve the issues connected to Climate Change -the Citizens Climate Lobby. We are genuinely making a difference and providing the leadership to bring our residents together to realize we can solve this issue by adopting common-sense solutions. Mother Earth is angry and we need to intervene.
3. “Protect our Public Lands that are currently being sold to the highest bidder to mine, develop or destroy its natural wonder.”
- If elected, please describe the top two helping children issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
- “Increasing Kids Care for children in poverty in order to address their healthcare needs. This is always under threat by the state legislature. Our society is judged, in part, by how well it takes care of our children. We must commit ourselves to do so by protecting poor kids.”
2. “Maintaining the right for those in poverty to access food to feed their children whose brains are developing and need balanced diets to address their nutritional needs.”
3. “Authority for state agencies to spend tens of millions of dollars in annual childcare funds for scholarships for working parents and foster parents.”
4. “Streamline the process so that abused and neglected children are not exposed to cruelty and neglected
5. Intervening with the homeless so they do not become victims of crimes. Many suffer from mental health issues that can be treated so they can once again contribute to our society. It costs much less to adequately address their issues as the costs of incarceration cause us much, much more.
- If elected, please describe the top two helping the most vulnerable issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
- “The Five Major Factors of Vulnerability: Access to Resources, Family Dynamics, Healthcare, Education, and Employment. We have serious numbers associated with these issues. The most important of these numbers as they represent people in need of attention and intervention.
2. “Almost 20% of Arizonans live in poverty and the asset poverty rate is 29.5%….most are defined as the “working poor”. The poverty rate for children is at 23%. Our High School graduation rate is 77%. Others are disabled, veterans without work as a result of service disabilities and children, the unskilled, drug affected and the like. Access to affordable housing is compromised and must be addressed. AZ must ensure that its total citizenry is more financially secure via a strong economy that delivers fair wages and security for all.”
3. “Specifically, the AZ Legislature must *guarantee that the working poor and those locked out of work must have access to community college skilled working programs to enable them to lift themselves out of poverty. And, *provide basic needs programs that enable the vulnerable to access healthcare, food and the other basic needs.”
- If elected, please describe the top two law enforcement issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
- “I am inspired by the work of the Society of Police and Criminal Psychology that encourages the use of scientific study and best practices related to problems in criminal justice. This is a robust example of the value in strategic planning that delivers the research, data and best practices to improve issues in criminal justice.”
2. “I support policing interventions that address psychological related issues in the assessment, consultation and operational assistance to policing agencies. For example, by providing skills in assessing mental health and delivering individuals to the proper authorities, we can prevent crime and death. In identifying policing agencies that deliver the superior intervention and training policing personnel produce policing agencies that are responsive to the needs of its citizens. A great win for all of us.”
- If elected, please describe the top two immigration issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
- “The issues related to immigration on the border are the responsibility of the federal government. However, when the Federal Government processes immigrants, the local communities in Legislative District 11 have borne the brunt of providing services to immigrants. The Federal Government allowed thousands of immigrants into AZ and bused them into AZ communities who provided these people access to shelter, food, water, healthcare, and clothing. We can do better!”
2. “AZ legislators must take the lead to educate, inform and address Congress about the problems associated with the cruel and inhumane treatment of immigrants who are placed in detention facilities that are substandard. In addition, young children separated from their parents for months or years at a time must stop now. The traumatic effects of being taken from parents are life-lasting.”
3. “AZ has joined other states to end the DACA program. These former children who were brought into the US have lived as productive residents in our communities for most of their lives and must be provided a path to citizenship. The vast majority of Americans support this initiative. It is just and right to do so.”
4. “A safe and secure border with technological improvements and more personnel are superior than spending the unnecessary costs of billions of dollars are superior alternatives to building a boondoggle wall.”
- If elected, please describe the top issues facing women, minorities, and the LGBTQ communities that you would like to focus on as a legislator?
- “Yesterday’s AZ State Supreme Court that limited the rights of the LBGTQ community has created a very slippery slope for these citizens. Now, AZ has joined an effort practiced by some other states to discriminate. What we all must realize is that once a group of people’s rights are taken away, it limits the rights of all in the future. Legislators must pass laws and policies that guarantee individual rights to all.”
2. “AZ is one of a few states that have not passed the Equal Rights Amendment. Limiting the rights of one gender is unconscionable and unjust. Once again, the majority of Arizonans support this initiative and our representative democracy must deliver on the will of the people.”
- If elected, please describe the top two government reform issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
- “Outlawing the influence of Dirty Money and Special Interests that are creating a climate in the state that is corrupt. It is not fair that corporations or individuals with enormous amounts of money have undue influence over the state legislature. We have become a state that works extremely well for those who have the means to influence our political process at the expense of the will of the majority of its residents.
2. AZ has a long history of engaging in practices that undermine the will of the majority of its people and the present-day assault on our public lands, environment, climate, government services, etc., needs correction. The threat to representative democracy today is at a critical state. We can do better! Vote for public servants that serve the majority of Arizonans, not the vested few who are undermining all of our rights.”
3. “Fully Funding Public Education so our state economy is strengthened by well-educated communities who thrive.”
- Are there any issues not mentioned in the previous questions that you feel should be addressed by the Legislature.
“Arizona needs to develop a State Infrastructure Strategic Plan for the next 40 years as well as a Climate Change Strategic Plan for the next 40 years.”
- Is there anything you would like to let the reader know about yourself that has not been addressed by the previous questions?
“My candidacy for the AZ State Senate, LD 11 is dedicated to bringing about changes we all can believe in! As a lifetime civil servant, I can provide the vision, collaboration, leadership, and passion to create a state government that is responsive to the will of its people. I am passionate about doing so and am looking forward to being your voice.”
Pragmatic Progressives are tired of division and corruption.
“Mine is a grassroots campaign. I purposely decided to be a Campaign about listening to voters, assessing their priorities and delivering on their values. Also, I did not want to link to PAC’s and special interests. I am conducting a clean elections campaign. I believe that by generating ideas and issues among the voters is the only way to be an effective senator. I value the contributions of volunteers that are unselfishly dedicated to Team Patterson – without their assistance, it would be impossible to do the work that needs to be done in order to reclaim the state senate in LD11.”
“The key is to a win is to get Democrats, Independents, and like-minded Republicans to turn out and vote.”
Linda Patterson has several of the attributes necessary to be a successful public servant. These include:
- Knowledge of history and how government should work.
- A devotion to serving the people.
- Having the vision to take the state forward.
If chosen in the Democratic Primary, she would be a marked positive change in government philosophy offered by Mr. Leach.