Educational background: BA in international business from San Diego State University, master’s in public administration from Arizona State University
Current employer/job: Self-employed / nonprofit management consultant
Immediate Family: Michael Jermaine, one child
Year you moved to LD 18: 2011
Last book read: “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, 2nd Edition” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Genny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
Why are you running for the Arizona Legislature? All Arizonans deserve to have the same opportunities to succeed that were available to me. I decided to run because our state should be a place of safety, opportunity, and prosperity for all.
Why should voters consider you? I have spent a significant portion of my career working on nonprofit policy and advocacy efforts. I am also a former chamber of commerce membership director. I bring a wide breadth of knowledge about how government, nonprofits, and industry interact on local, national, and international levels. I understand how all the sectors are inter-connected and dependent on each other. I hold a bachelor’s in international business with a focus on trade policy and a master’s in public administration.
What sets you apart from the field of candidates you’re running in?
I believe in examining all sides of an issue or problem and various proposed solutions before deciding on a course of action. I will meet with everyone, even if you disagree with me, because I want to understand your position and why you feel the way that you feel.
Does public education in Arizona need more funding? If so, how should that be accomplished? If not, why not?
Yes it does. In reality, the only way Arizona will get new revenue is through a voter initiative because current law requires ¾ of each chamber and the governor to raise taxes.
Regardless of what happens on the school voucher referendum in November, do you favor expanding the voucher program in the future? Why or why not?
I do not support the expansion of the ESA program. SB1431/Prop305 is a poorly written bill that does nothing to curb the existing fraud in the program. Additionally, those students who qualify under the original program would lose their priority status and risk not having ESAs available for students with disabilities, military families, and students in failing schools. Saying No to Prop305 keeps the original program intact and available to the students who need it the most.
Do the three state universities need more funding and, if so, how would you increase it? If not, why not?
Yes, to make tuition affordable again and align with our Arizona Constitution, we must restore the state funding to our universities and community colleges. I think we need to examine historic budgets and realign our funding priorities. We funded them in the past. Why did investing in our future workforce become un-prioritized? By taking a hard look at why and how they were defunded, we can reverse engineer and restore funding.
In your view, have there been enough bipartisan approaches to issues in the Legislature in the last five years and how would you expand that bipartisanship?
No. Our current Legislature puts partisanship and political maneuvering above the content and value of the legislation being proposed. I would evaluate each piece of legislation in front of my assigned committee based on the content of the bill and how it would affect the residents of LD18.
What are the three biggest challenges facing Arizona in the next two years that you want to address?
Addressing the funding crisis for our Arizona schools, ensuring that our future workforce is able to continue growing Arizona’s economy, ensuring the protection and restoration of civil rights.
Do you favor further tax cuts? If so, which taxes? If not, why not?
In our current fiscal situation, no. We need a moratorium on cuts until we figure out how to restore the funding to our public education system, universities, and community colleges. This is a long-term investment in our future workforce and economic growth.