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EDUCATION IS THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPON.
As a mother of two daughters in primary school, I believe the legislature should stop their repeated attacks on public education; increase revenues allocated to improve daily maintenance and operations; increase teacher pay; and either create or increase capital funding to provide all of our students with proper books and access to technology. Now more than ever, we must increase our education revenue due to the growth of mental health issues and continued shortage of behavior specialists, all of which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. I would firmly promote a public-private partnership between regional teaching colleges, universities, and local school districts to address the shortage of substitute teachers. We should work closely with our state secretary of education, local and regional education leaders and school districts to safely keep our schools open.
PROTECTING ARIZONA WORKERS
As a product of a union raised family, Arizonans need quality paying jobs that provide upward mobility. I will advocate for better healthcare, safe working environment, union development and the right to organize. To prepare Arizonan's workforce for today's economy, we must create more competitive pay structures that reflect inflation. We must attract companies that provide good benefits. We should provide more labor training programs to share with students and young professionals.
PURE WATER & CLEAN AIR
Arizona’s clean air and sustainable water crises are priorities for our district, state and the nation. I will be a strong advocate for policies that achieve water sustainability and groundwater management. Arizona must focus on a green economy and a green administration.
GOOD LIFE YOU CAN AFFORD.
As a previous director for Arizona Fair Housing, I am acutely aware that we must increase our state’s minimum wage. Additionally, home prices and rent have increased due to a combination of increased land costs, growing labor costs, supply chain shortages, and zoning approvals for apartments and affordable housing - all of which must be addressed through both private and public efforts. Housing discrimination is on the rise in group homes. Arizona must invest in affordable housing options for working families as quickly as possible.
VOTER PROTECTION RIGHTS
ELECTIONS BELONG TO THE PEOPLE.
The Maricopa County Recorder's Office has conducted fair and secure elections.
The Arizona Senate’s embarrassing, Republican-led "audit" of the 2020 election was not only an act of voter suppression, but an insult to Arizona voters and an immense waste of taxpayers’ dollars. I will fight against voter suppression bills and work to make voting easier while maintaining and improving election integrity for all Arizonans. I will work to keep Vote By Mail. With proof of residency and citizenship, I will work to keep Same Day Registration on Election Day.
HEALTH CARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT.
Just as I fought for every American veteran to have access to healthcare worldwide, I will continue the fight for every Arizonan to have quality, accessible and affordable health care. I will work to protect reproductive rights, children's health care, and expand funding and access for behavioral and mental health. Arizonan families should have healthcare coverage despite legal or financial barriers.
As a lifelong advocate of diversity, equity and inclusion, I will defend legislation that expands equal treatment under the law for every individual - no matter ethnicity, creed, color or orientation. I plan to review and repeal existing or proposed discrimination statutes to ensure protection of our treasured, and often hard-won, civil rights. We must address decades of systematic mistreatment of people of color (Asian Americans, Black, Hispanics/Latinos and Indigenous Americans) in Arizona.
IT'S PAST TIME THAT WE INVEST IN UNIVERSAL CHILDCARE
When it comes to taking care of our kids, Arizona’s families are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Childcare is essential: it provides stability, supports our children’s development, and allows parents to provide for their families. Unfortunately, childcare has become increasingly inaccessible in Arizona, with less childcare workers and rising costs. It’s past time that we invest in universal childcare.
Existing nonprofit programs and scholarships help families access more affordable childcare, and we should invest in and expand those options for all families across the state. We have an excellent childcare system for our military service members, and we can replicate the model in Arizona.
Inconsistent childcare, unaffordable childcare, or no childcare at all: all make it hard for working parents or those looking for jobs. For our communities right here in Legislative District 11, where our average household income is $35,000 per year and rent averages $24,000 a year, paying thousands of dollars in childcare every year may be almost impossible.
By the U.S. Department of Health Services’ standards, only 8.7% of families in Arizona have “affordable” infant care. If existing child care organizations and workers were subsidized by our state, capping costs at 7% of a family’s income, as recommended by the Department:
A typical Arizona family would have an additional 15% annual income (post-child care) for other necessities.
29,532 more parents would have the option to work.
Arizona’s economy would expand with $3 billion of new economic activity.
If elected to the Arizona State Senate, I would support:
Guaranteed, affordable childcare for all families, capped at no more than 7% of household income.
Increased salaries, benefits, and access to a union for all childcare workers, who have been leaving the field at higher rates since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ensuring diverse, inclusive options with standards for high quality care.
Coordination with all relevant stakeholders when crafting childcare policy, including parents, childcare workers, unions, and other providers.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Our criminal justice system is full of policies and practices that are flawed, outdated, and burdening our taxpayers.
Arizona has the 5th highest imprisonment rate in the country and as taxpayers, we spent over $1 billion a year just on the prison system. While many other states around the country work to reduce rates of imprisonment, Arizona’s has grown every year since 2000. In that time, the number of people incarcerated for non-violent offenses grew by 80%.
We owe our children a safe space free from violence, but when they are targeted, harassed, or criminalized at school, no one benefits.
It's clear: we’re criminalizing and imprisoning too many members of our communities over relatively trivial matters instead of finding evidence-based solutions to reduce crime and recidivism. In 2020, Arizona voters passed Prop 207, a promising first step in addressing the unnecessary criminalization of minor drug offenses.
As State Senator, I would support fair, data-driven reforms that will have an immediate benefit to families across Arizona, including:
● The legislature should strictly regulate the role of School Resource Officers (SROs). SROs were created to protect students from internal or external threats. SRO’s should never be used to enforce school discipline, provide counseling, and/or be a substitute for trained professional staff.
● Closing private prisons
● Repealing mandatory minimum sentencing laws with retroactive impact
● Banning the use of juvenile life without parole sentences
● Prohibiting youth from being housed in adult jails and ensuring they have age-appropriate facilities
● Reclassifying drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor
● Raising the felony theft threshold
● Passing “Second Look” laws that allow courts to assess long sentences
● Investing in & incentivizing educational programs for those incarcerated
● Developing a pathway to release for incarcerated elderly, ill, and disabled people who are non-violent
● Creating earned-time credit for those in prison
● Offering positive diversion opportunities over jail time
● Re-evaluating and reducing penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis
● Limiting penalties for minor violations of supervision
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