In 2016, I ran for the Arizona House on a platform of economic reform, equality, and tackling the opioid epidemic. I stood up to big-money politics and ran as a Clean Elections candidate, despite much advice to take the money and run.
I am running for re-election in 2018. As a Clean Elections candidate, I have pledged not to take big-money donations from special interests. This is my report card to you, the voters of Legislative District 9. It has been an honor to serve you.
Economic Reform & Public Banking
- I voted against all new tax cuts for big corporations. Trickle down economics doesn’t work. Arizona needs new strategies to create jobs, fund education, and build infrastructure.
- I proposed a feasibility study to create a state public bank. Arizona has focused its economic development efforts on tax giveaways for big corporations and austerity for the rest of us for far too long. The Republican-led Legislature has created a budget which gives away more revenue than it spends to run the state. When you’re in a hole, stop digging! Public banking is a sustainable economic development engine because it raises revenue without raising taxes. The Republican strategy of featherbedding the budget for multinational corporations and ideological experiments has led to sustained poverty in Southern Arizona and multiple local proposals for increased sales taxes. It’s time for fairness and equity in our budget and our tax system.
- I fought against multiple attempts by the Republican Party to weaken or eliminate the Citizens Initiative process. Why is the Republican-led Legislature afraid of the people? The progressives who wrote the Arizona Constitution gave the Citizens Initiative to the people; the Republican Party has no right to take it away.
- I supported returning transportation funds (HURF) to local control. When the Legislature starves local governments, it leads to crumbling local infrastructure and increased local taxes to fill the income gap. It’s time for the Legislature to give local governments their fair share.
- I voted against using taxpayer funds to pay for private and religious school education, through the expansion of Empowerment Scholarship Awards (ESAs). In addition, I fought for increased funding for K-12 public education, JTED, community colleges, and the universities. Improving access to quality education is the surest way to lift our citizens out of poverty and to build Arizona’s economy.
- I defended the rights of patients and workers during debates and voted in their interest on all insurance company bills (and there were a lot of them!)
Equality & Paycheck Fairness
- I proposed ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). In 2017, House Judiciary Chair Eddie Farnsworth and Senate Government Chair John Kavanagh tried to kill the ERA by refusing to hear it in committee. House Democrats used a parliamentary procedure to bring the ERA up for a vote. This sparked a lively debate on equal pay for women on the floor of the Arizona House. Ratification of the ERA was proposed in eight states in 2017. Since Nevada ratified the ERA this year, we need only two more states to ratify it before the ERA can be sent to Congress for enactment. Arizona, let’s make history in 2018 by standing up for equal pay and equal protection under the law for women. Again, what are the Republicans afraid of?
- I voted against all bills to decrease worker protections, pensions or benefits. I was one of the only Legislators who voted against changing the Arizona Constitution to enable reduction in benefits for workers.
- I fought for restoration of cash assistance and childcare subsidies for needy families. Arizona is the stingiest state in the country with cash assistance for the poor. Our state will not dig itself out of its own economic doldrums as long as we continue to ignore children and families living in poverty.
- I voted to increase teacher pay.
Drugs, Addiction & Health
- I proposed a bill to offer addiction treatment instead of jail for people who call 911 during an overdose situation. Again, as with the ERA, House Judiciary Chair Rep. Eddie Farnsworth tried to single-handedly kill this Good Samaritan bill. Luckily for addicts and their families, this bill appears to be a priority for 2018, as opioid deaths continue to rise in Arizona. I’m hoping we can pass this out of the Health Committee in 2018.
- I proposed adding new Spice ingredients to an existing Republican drug bill. As a result, dozens of compounds were added. The bill passed and was signed into law.
- I proposed a bill requiring healthcare providers and institutions to reveal religious beliefs that would stop them from providing legal drugs or medical procedures. Patients– particularly pregnant women– need to know upfront what legal services or medications are available when they are shopping for care. I voted against fetal resuscitation and will continue to fight for the rights of women to control their own bodies and to make their own medical decisions.
- I proposed a bill that would raise standards and require additional training for home health workers. Arizona has some of the lowest training requirements for home health aides; consequently, it is not surprising that elder abuse complaints have risen dramatically. It’s time that the Arizona Legislature opened its eyes to the needs of our Seniors.
- I proposed a bill that legalized death with dignity and outlined a process for patients, family members and physicians to follow.
- I proposed a bill that would lengthen the renewal period for a medical marijuana card from one year to five years. Arizona has one of the most expensive and complicated medical marijuana programs in the country; we have a medical marijuana program for people who can afford ~$250/year for a card renewal and the required doctor’s visit. This high annual renewal cost pushes poorer citizens to buy marijuana illegally on the street. Marijuana — a plant that never killed anyone— is a safe alternative to dangerous prescription painkillers for some patients. Let’s make it affordable. Perhaps we could save lives in the process.
- I voted against all bills that would have increased pollution, harmed the water supply, decreased environmental protection, or destroyed public parks and natural monuments. It’s common sense to protect our water supply and our state’s natural wonders– and our planet.
Election Reform & Big-Money Politics
- I proposed a bill to expand Clean Elections to county supervisor races and unpaid boards, like the school and water boards. The maximum individual donation in the county supervisor’s race is $6250 (thanks to a late-night Republican vote a few years ago). That’s obscene. If you look at campaign finance reports for the 2016 Pima County Supervisors’ race, you can see a proxy bidding war between the few local folks who can afford to donate $6250 per candidate. In contrast, the maximum individual donation to a “traditional” privately funded Legislative candidate is $5000 (also increased by the Legislature recently). For Clean Elections candidates, it is $160. Do you want rich folks and special interests to continue to control local and state elections? I strongly believe that our local, state, and federal governments would be more responsive to the people if big-money politics and special interests were not controlling the elections game. When people run clean, they vow to accept only small donations from real people– not from political action committees (PACs), not from dark money donors, big corporations, or unions. Only real people– not corporate people– can vote. It’s time that real people– not money– controlled our government. Money is destroying our democracy. Clean Elections levels the campaign finance playing field and strengthens the voice of the voters, by diminishing the voice of money in politics.
Independent Report Cards
- The Sierra Club gave me an A+ rating for voting to protect our home– the Earth.
- The Secular Coalition honored me as a Secular Star for standing up for religious freedom (even for the non-religious).
- The Children’s Action Alliance gave me a 100% rating.
- The Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC) recognized my work on the Spice and street drugs.
- I had perfect attendance and didn’t miss any votes.
- You can read news articles and other background information here.
It has been an honor to serve you in the Arizona Legislature. I hope you will support by re-election in November 2018. The people’s work is not done.
Here is an excerpt from the speech in which I announced my candidacy for the Arizona House.