Lynsey Robinson wants to continue the fight to put Arizona Legislative District 12 in the Democratic Orbit.
The legislative district, which includes all or parts of Gilbert, Queen Creek, and San Tan Valley, saw dramatic increases in Democratic Party involvement in 2018 over previous election cycles.
Democrats fielded two candidates (Lynsey Robinson and Joe Bisaccia) in the State House Race and Elizabeth Brown in the Senate one.
Although none of the Democrats prevailed in the 2018 elections, their performances exceeded expectations and surpassed previous party results in the district.
Ms. Robinson, who is now the Second Vice-Chair of the Maricopa County Democratic Party, has decided to run for the Legislative District 12 State Senate seat currently occupied by Eddie Farnsworth, an individual who has come under scrutiny for the self-profiting measures in charter school statutes he helped draft, support, and benefited from before announcing his retirement from the legislature in 2021.
Hoping to build on the Democratic performances of 2018, Ms. Robinson graciously responded to questions regarding her qualifications and ideas on the key issues facing the people of the state.
The questions and her responses are below.
- Please tell the reader about yourself (education and experiences).
“I am a former DREAMer originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Haiti has a long history with the U.S., dating back to the Revolutionary war; where Haiti fought alongside America to help it gain its independence from Great Britain. I came to the U.S. at the age of eight and grew up in New York. I credit my success by all accounts (other than to God), to a quality public education. Despite the financial and legal barriers I faced to finance my college and post-baccalaureate education; I managed to complete my educational objective and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy.”
“The foundation that I received at a K-12 public institution left me lacking for nothing when it came to the challenges of the real world and academia. This is the hope that every parent has for their child. That our public institutions will prepare them to maximize their potential. This is my prayer for my own children and for every child in our state.”
“I first entered the realm of education as a substitute teacher while attending law school. I worked with children in Kindergarten through 12th grade. When I could no longer finance law school out of pocket; I accepted a full-time teaching position. Despite being qualified under the state standards; I felt that our students deserve an educator who is actually trained in the Art of teaching. I earned a Masters degree in Secondary Education while teaching because our children deserve trained professionals in the classroom. The business of educating our children is a skilled profession, not a babysitting gig. There is no better instrument to measure our state’s future prosperity other than with a reading of how serious we are about educating our future generations.”
“In 2010, President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. The student lending overhaul played a major role in my academic journey. The new legislation allowed students like myself to borrow directly from the federal government. In doing so, the government cut both the interest rates and the red tape that prevented me from obtaining the loans I needed to complete law school.”
“Subsequently, upon graduating from law school and passing the State Bar; I took up the charge to help the indigent. As a survivor of domestic violence and someone who has battled adversity, I wanted to do more. I accepted a position at Legal Aid as a staff attorney where I had the privilege of helping those who were facing economic challenges. My employment at Legal Aid allowed me to push forward with helping individuals who were looking for economic and social justice.”
- Please tell the readers what lessons you have learned from the campaign in 2018 and how you plan to apply those in 2020?
“This district had the largest voter turnout in the county compared to comparable previous election cycles. There is a great deal of voter excitement and enthusiasm for new leadership. It’s a monumental task, but this race against all odds is win-able because with each passing election the voters begin to realize just how high the stakes really are for their families and the future of their communities.”
- Please tell the reader what are at least three qualifications you have for the Legislative seat you are seeking.
“As an Arizona licensed attorney, I see how well-intentioned laws can have a disproportionate outcome. I understand the practical component of policies and how it impacts a community. The challenge is not to just put something on paper that reads well, but will also have the intended outcome when applied.”
“As a former staff attorney for Legal Aid, I assisted and or represented clients in the areas of consumer law, family law, bankruptcy, education law, landlord/tenant law, public benefits, and administrative hearings. I had the privilege of working with the most vulnerable in our communities from our senior citizens, veterans, and survivors of domestic violence. I spent some time working with community organizations as part of legal aid’s community outreach philosophy of connecting our clients with their community resources.”
“In doing such, I discovered how the community plays an instrumental role in bridging the gaps where the law falls short.”
“However, It is my personal experience that I believe uniquely qualifies me for State office. As a mother, I know the value in having quality childcare, quality public schools, and the sometimes elusive work-life balance. Legislation impacts every arena of our lives. As the wife of an entrepreneur, I understand the real challenges of running a business and the impact that the local economy has on our communities.”
“I know the challenges that plague our public-school system first hand. I worry about the rising cost of college tuition. I want affordable health care for my family. I know and have experienced the hurdles that women face on the path to equality.”
“As an attorney, I have a good understanding of the limits of the law when it comes to victims of domestic violence, child abuse, and poverty. I understand the plight of women in domestic violence and children that are in abusive homes, and or facing sexual abuse having survived all three. I understand the desperation and despair our teens feel as we watch teen suicide rates climb, particularly in the East Valley. I care enough to address these issues that plague our communities throughout Arizona head-on.”
- What are at least two reasons you would be a better public servant than your likely Republican opponent?
“My campaign can only go as far as the grassroots efforts of the people on the ground are willing to take it by funding my campaign. As a result, I am solely beholden to the people, not special interests. I hold myself solely accountable to the communities I serve.”
- If elected, please describe the top two education issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“We must fully fund our traditional public schools. Charter schools cannot continue to receive public funds without public accountability.”
- If elected, please describe the top two healthcare issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“So many middle-class families struggle to afford healthcare and are underinsured. There are numerous health insurance companies that offer healthcare coverage that have no true benefit to the consumer. Many individuals who are in the need of healthcare suffer from pre-existing illnesses and conditions that are not covered under the plan options. We must make sure that consumers are made aware by these companies at the onset of entering into the contract. We must protect the integrity of the health insurance system in order to protect working Arizonans. We can’t allow “fake” insurance companies to enter our state and take advantage of our citizens.”
“When it comes to the working poor, we must protect children whose families need health care protections for their child. We have a responsibility to make sure that Child Health Insurance Plans like Kids Care remains funded in order to make sure that children always receive proper health care.”
- If elected, please describe the top two sustainability issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“As it relates to natural resources, and overpopulation we need to look at solar power and wind turbines as viable options to help reduce pollution. Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. We need to remain creative in how we build structures, expand roads for car travel as the population grows.”
“Investing in our infrastructure benefits everyone. Expanding public transportation will help low-income families secure and keep jobs while encouraging other commuters to protect the environment. Trains that run from Tucson to Phoenix will facilitate a greater pool of applicants for jobs and provide increased job opportunities for all. Corporations realizing that they have access to a greater pool of applicants may consider locating to parts of the valley they may not have considered before.”
- If elected, please describe the top two helping children issues you would like to focus on as legislator?
“Our children need fully funded schools. Our children deserve to know that when they are at school, they are safe. This means public schools must be armed with the resources that children need, from licensed educators to school nurses on staff, counselors, advanced placement courses to vocational, and an array of arts/sports, music, technology and special education classes for all types of learners. I stress education because without it nothing else we do will matter.”
- If elected, please describe the top two helping the most vulnerable issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“Two years ago, the legislature at the direction of the Governor failed to authorize the expenditure of $56 million in federal aid for childcare costs for the working poor. It is appalling that the working poor would be denied funding at such a crucial time.”
“According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, women who need childcare assistance while attending college are required to work a minimum of twenty-hours a week. It’s nearly impossible for single mothers to attend college without adequate resources for childcare. The National Education Association maintains that high-quality early education sets the foundation for a successful future. Arizona ranks at the bottom in educational funding. We need to ensure the working poor have access to quality early education for their children. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior from those whom the voters have placed their trust to serve and protect. Early education is a necessity when it comes to stopping the cycle of poverty.”
“Family members who take in their relative’s children when the child has been removed from their parents’ home receive less financial support. It is estimated that they receive $45 a month compared to $650 a month paid to foster parents. The American Bar Association states that it is in the best interest of the child to live with a family member rather than foster care placement. According to the Children’s Action Alliance, 209,100 children in Arizona live with relatives and 85,500 of them are being raised by their grandparents. Family members who step in to care for a child-relative do so often at a great sacrifice. Especially grandparents where 1 out of 5 grandparents raising their grandchildren has a disability; 1 in 4 grandchildren living with their grandparents live in poverty. According to Forbes, grandparents often find themselves forced to cut into their own retirement finances to care for the child. Providing all children with equal resources will alleviate the burden on the family.”
- If elected, please describe the top two law enforcement issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“Listening to the community is paramount to finding the right balance between public safety, treating people fairly, police oversight and accountability. Body cameras and civilian oversight boards are necessary to restore public trust. Active shooters and mass shootings are changing the face of policing in America. Police officers need proper resources to meet those challenges as well as mental health support for themselves and their families.”
- If elected, please describe the top two immigration issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“Immigration is within the purview of the federal government. However, as a border state, we must not allow the federal government to commit acts against humanity with our help. We can continue to lawfully detain and deport illegal immigrants by making those who commit crimes our highest priority.”
- 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 time to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. Women deserve equal pay for equal work. Currently, women earn about eighty cents for every dollar earned by a man. Minority women earn even less. The problem is exacerbated when workplace policies exclude women from certain job sectors. These exclusions create persistent disparities in women’s income, wealth, and economic security.”
“Many states have enacted laws for the public and private sectors that go beyond what federal law requires, however, Arizona is not one of those states. We need to ensure working parents have paid family and medical leave, flexible use of sick leave and workplace protections for nursing mothers.”
“Both minorities and the LGBTQ communities have faced both historical and present discrimination in our state. We can repeal laws that have a discriminatory effect. Arizona is one of 31 states in the U.S. that doesn’t fully protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Arizona has no statute, regulation, and/or agency policy on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in child welfare.”
“The idea that we need laws to protect the LGBTQ community is disheartening. The reality is without such laws the group will continue to face paramount discrimination. Arizona needs laws that protect sexual orientation and gender identity in order to ensure that no public accommodation can use the disguise of religious belief to prevent people from accessing goods and services without a rational and just reason. I don’t support any legislation and or policy that denies any human being their God-given dignity.”
- If elected, please describe the top two government reform issues you would like to focus on as a legislator?
“We must strengthen the current conflict of interest laws in order to eliminate loopholes and we need legislation that removes Dirty Money from politics.”
- Are there any issues not mentioned in the previous questions that you feel should be addressed by the Legislature?
“As stewards of the Earth, we must pass legislation that holds the planet with the highest regards and shared respect for the other creatures we share it with. Responsible legislation requires that we consider the harm that may come to our fellow Americans/neighbors health and our land, above financial gain. It is through that filter that we must look at every environmental issue. This state is simply beautiful and we must preserve its beauty for our future generations to come.”
During his tenure in the State Senate, Mr. Farnsworth has championed reactionary measures like:
- Supporting tax cuts over proper investments in public education.
- Opposing HIV prevention education.
- Hindering the ballot initiative process.
- Not penalizing drivers for using their cell phones while driving.
If elected, Lynsey Robinson would offer the people of Legislative District 12 a profoundly different governing vision than the current retiring incumbent or the probable 2020 Republican nominee.
It is one that puts people, not special interests and self-enrichment, first.
It is one that moves the district forward, not stationary or backward.
The people of Legislative District 12 must have a real yearning for that type of vision by now.