Kyle Nitschke has already had an impressive political career.
He has been:
- An organizer for Next Gen registering 2500 new voters in Flagstaff.
- Managed the congressional campaign of Eva Putzova.
- A leader at the Arizona Students’
He has now set his sights on running for the Arizona State Senate in the new Legislative District (LD) Seven.
His Republican opponent will either be the fringe Kelly Townsend or the equally fringe Wendy Rogers.
Based on their voting records, both Townsend and Rogers would probably not offer anything the residents in the new LD Seven would benefit from in the long term.
Mr. Nitschke, however, is running on:
- Fully funding Pre-K through college education.
- Securing voting rights and protecting Democracy.
- Small business and local government assistance.
- Tax fairness.
Most voters will probably not find either Senators Townsend or Rogers embracing any of those positions.
Mr. Nitschke graciously took the time to discuss his candidacy for the Arizona State Senate.
The questions and his reposnses are below.
- What is, what are two reasons you are running for the state legislature in the new LD Seven?
“Reason number one is just I want to ensure that there is a candidate on the ballot. Democracy only works when we have choices. My campaign is focused on engagingnew voters and getting them out to vote this year.
The other reason why I’m running is that with the Arizona Students Association, we’ve been fighting a lot of bad bills from our state senators over these last four years.
In 2018, Senator Bob Thorpe introduced a bill to not allow college students to vote at their dorm addresses. Wendy Rogers this year has the one about allowing concealed guns on campus.
So frankly, I’m tired of fightingbad bills.
But most importantly, as a state I want us to prioritize good policy. Currently, our legislators are focused on overturning the election, taking away mail-in voting, and making more tax cuts for the richest Arizonans.. What we should be working on as a state legislature is addressing housing and food insecurity and investing in our future.
- What are at least two reasons voters should elect you over any opponent, a legislative race.
“There are two good reasons to vote for me. One, I have experience at the state legislature. I know that sometimes people might be worried about me being a young candidate. But I’ve testified at the state legislature I’ve met with state representatives. I run an internship program every semester, walking students through what’s going on in the state legislature and working on different bills. So, I’ve got some experience. You’re not lacking that just because I’m young..
Number two is that I am a clean elections candidate, so I don’t have to spend my time raising money from big corporate donors and from wealthy Arizonans. I really have time to talk to the voters in my district and get to know them so I can really be a good representative of them in the state legislature if I do get elected.
What is my pathway to victory?
I really need to turn out a lot of NAU students to vote. This district was heavily gerrymandered through the independent redistricting commission process but I can win by getting NAU students to register and vote locally here in Flagstaff. And then I’m focusing on cities and towns that aren’t regularly visited by Democrats. I will be knocking doors all over the district this campaign to win over voters regardless of their party preference.
NAU is where I know we have the biggest amount of votes that we can turn out. And if we don’t manage to, turn out enough votes to win my race, maybe we can help in some of our statewide races. But it’s also important to me that I’m representing the whole district and I will put in the work this campaign to learn from Arizonans throughout the new LD 7.”
What is your message that will appeal to both the NAU student body and as well as independents?
“We need to give people a reason to vote and we need to give people something to vote for.
A lot of my messaging is about really how we’re investing as a state. And I think I can focus on education and prisons to clearly show where we’re going wrong right now..
My mom was a Gilbert public school teacher for over 30 years. And I remember when I was in fifth and sixth grade, she did not have enough paper at the end of the semester. And lack of funding and its results is still prevalent in our schools 15 years later. And it’s absolutely ridiculous. We know the fight about K through 12 public education, but I want to highlight a little bit of the real lack of investment we’ve had in higher education as well.
Currently the Department of Corrections is funded more than every single community college and university in the state. This has been a reversal since around 09-10. As a result of this lack of investment, we’ve seen the cost of college tuition, nearly double for our in-state resident students.
We know that when we graduate a student from university, it sends an additional 660,000 hundred thousand dollars to the state in additional property taxes and income taxes over their lifetime. So the fact that we, as a state are investing our money to lock these high schoolers up and put them in prison instead of sending them to trade schools and to give them an opportunity to go to college is hurting our economy in the long run as well. I think that will resonate with voters despite their background..”
- If elected, what are these four issues you will focus on in the legislature?
“First is public investment in our public schools. That includes Pre-K through 12 education as well as our community colleges and for universities.
My second big issue is voting rights and I want to push for same day voter registration, as well as protecting mail in voting. I think election day should be a holiday. In regards to the NAU students and how it’s more difficult for them to vote. In 2004 we saw the creation of additional proof ofcitizenship that impacts students.
So currently NAU students, if they’re coming from out of state and they don’t have an Arizona driver’s license, they can only easily register to vote for President, Senate, and Congress. They have to do an additional follow-up to prove their citizenship, to be able to register for the rest of Arizona state elections. Arizona is the only state in the nation with a documentary proof of citizenship requirement currently in force.
This is just one thing, that’s a barrier to vote for these students. But in general, same day voter registration will go a long way to making it more accessible to vote.
Number three, I want to really try to focus on small businesses and creating a thriving economy. It’s difficult to compete with mega-corporations receiving huge tax breaks. Small businesses are not able to provide healthcare, 401k, etc for their employees and it can create really high turnover as a result. .
It really can create high turnover for some of these small businesses.
Being able to provide for their employees will strengthen their businesses. . I think parental and maternal leave and sick leave are really important and needs to be talked about.
My fourth big issue is leaning back into public investment. I just want to ensure that our wealthy Arizonans and corporations pay their fair share. And I want to stop this reckless spending in the Department of Corrections and really shift how we’re investing as a state. Why are we giving tax breaks to the wealthiest corporations and Arizonans When we can’t fully fund our public schools?”
Are you for Universal Pre-K?
Are you for funding the police?
“The Department of Corrections, definitely not. And then, when it comes to our local police forces that’s a city issue. But generally speaking, most of our city police forces are over funded.
Securing the border coupled with immigration reform.
“The fact that Senator Rogers wants to send our tax dollars to pay for the border wall is ridiculous.”
- Is there anything not covered in the first three questions that you would like to readers to know about you and your candidacy?
“I wanted to talk about the clean elections program. Just the fact that I’m able to not spend these next six or seven months, fundraising is really important to me. And I would not have committed to this campaign if clean elections was not an option. I’m just a really huge fan of the program.”
Please click on the below social media links to learn more about Kyle Nitschke.
Website: www.nitschkeforazstatesenate.com (Will be up and running before April 10th)