As your state senator, my most important priority is to help restore education funding and protect our local public schools and state universities.
This is personal for me. My family first moved to our community over twenty five years ago, drawn to our local public schools and quality way of life. I once sat in the same classrooms that now have larger class sizes, outdated textbooks, and overworked and underpaid teachers. I am a proud product of Kyrene and Tempe Union schools.
I have voted YES on multiple pay raises for our teachers, and while we have made steps in the right direction, more work needs to be done to better support our students, teachers, and support staff.
I have also fought for additional support for mental health resources for our students as well. I have passed three bills into law over the last two years on more mental health support for our children, including the Mitch Warnock Act in 2019, which requires training for suicide prevention for all school personnel working with students in grades 6-12.
I am also a big supporter of local control, and giving our local superintendents and school board members the resources they need to make the decisions that best fit their schools.
Restore the cuts to higher education. This is also personal for me. I saw the effects of budget cuts every day when I worked in the Provost’s office at ASU. I helped work to make college more affordable for low-income families, increased resources for first-year students, and expanded access to people all across the globe.
Since 2008, Arizona has cut more from higher education than any state in the country, a cut of nearly 50 percent. This has led to drastic increases in tuition, fees, and other costs. I graduated from ASU in 2008; since then, tuition has almost TRIPLED.
This unnecessary and excessive reduction in higher education investment is having a dramatic impact on our state, both economically and culturally. Our state simply cannot compete in a 21st-century economy by reducing investment in our state universities. As your state senator, I am fighting every single day for our universities, and working with them to strengthen our local economy.
Community colleges are important for me as well - we currently don't fund our community colleges in Maricopa County at the state level at all. Investing in our workforce and our community colleges is key if we want to have an educated workforce. I have introduced multiple pieces of legislation to help make community college more affordable, and direct more students into STEM fields so they are well prepared to enter the workforce.
Along with education, strengthening our economy and encouraging investment and job growth is a top priority of mine.
I have supported many bills over the years to increase our investment in workforce development, reduce regulations on licensing requirements for small businesses, and targeted tax credits for small businesses creating jobs right here in Arizona.
It's why I have been unanimously endorsed this cycle by bipartisan organizations representing small businesses, including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB).
Supporting our LGBTQ Community
I have introduced multiple bipartisan bills over the years to protect our LGBTQ community. For the last three years, I have introduced bipartisan legislation that would ban gay conversion therapy in Arizona. This harmful and thoroughly discredited practice is still legal in Arizona, and I have helped lead the fight at the state capitol to ban it.
I have also introduced bi-partisan legislation to expand non-discrimination protections for employment, housing, and public accommodation. I will continue to lead the fight to support our LGBTQ community in the state senate.
Criminal Justice Reform
In Arizona, there is more we can do to reform our criminal justice system. I've supported legislation to reform our private prison industry, modify sentencing guidelines, and increase oversight over our state's Department of Corrections.
Black Lives Matter. I've signed on to public letters to support police reform, and supported legislation that would increase the number of police body cameras, require stronger training, and stronger oversight in cases of police misconduct.
We must secure the border. I support giving our border patrol agents the resources they need to protect our state and our border. Above all, I will listen to the law enforcement community from our county sheriffs to local police and provide them with the tools they need to do their jobs effectively. I will also work with our federal congressional delegation to ensure that Congress funds our border efforts.
Climate change is a real, significant issue that we must do more to address. At the legislature, I've supported legislation that would increase our state's investment in clean, renewable energy, and opposed efforts that would benefit polluters and reduce regulations over polluting chemicals in our air and water. Moving forward, with the effects of climate change as real as ever, I will continue to fight for the development of more renewable energy resources throughout the state. Doing so will help create jobs and strengthen our economy long term.
I am a strong supporter of the second amendment, and I will protect the rights of gun owners already in place at the state level. I do not, however, support allowing guns on college campuses or in government buildings. Additionally, I agree with the vast majority of gun owners and support requiring background checks for all gun purchases to ensure that firearms do not fall into the hands of criminals or those with mental health issues.
Save the Lakes
As an Ahwatukee resident, and as someone who attended Mountain Pointe High School next door, I strongly support saving the lakes property. I do not support housing development on the land, and will work to protect the space as a public park or golf course. I will work with the city of Phoenix and other stakeholders to ensure that this space is protected from development.