Name: Sean Bowie
Immediate family: Two brothers and one sister
Community of residence: Ahwatukee
Education background: Master’s in Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University; Bachelor’s in Political Science and History, ASU
Occupation: State Senator, District 18; Professor of Practice, Arizona State University
How long a resident of LD18? 24 years
Last book read: The presidential biography ‘Grant’ by Ron Chernow
Why are you running for the State Senate?
I am running for re-election to the state senate to continue the work I’ve been doing the last two years, primarily to restore education funding and strengthen our schools, and work in a bipartisan way for our community. I have a proven track record over the last two years of putting our community first.
Do you support Gov. Ducey’s plan for the Severe Threat Order of Protection to give authority to family members and school officials to seek the court-ordered temporary removal of guns from people considered a danger to themselves or others? Why or why not?
Governor Ducey’s proposal was one that I supported, yes. Unfortunately, during the legislative process, the bill that was introduced dramatically scaled back the STOP orders and weakened the governor’s plan. We should continue to look at ways to keep our community safe, and that includes temporarily removing firearms from individuals who pose a real danger to themselves or others.
What other measures do you feel are necessary to protect schools from a mass shooter?
I would like more funding for school resource officers in our middle schools and high schools. They serve as an important resource for our communities. We should also look at more training for our teachers and educators in the event of an emergency. Finally, working with our local school districts to make sure they have the resources and equipment they need to keep our schools safe.
Should the state be doing more to curb teen suicides? If so, what? If not, why not?
Yes. I introduced a bill earlier this year that would have required suicide prevention training in our middle schools and high schools. With the alarming increase in teen suicides over the years, more needs to be done to train our teachers and educators on how to spot the warning signs before it’s too late.
If Proposition 305 is defeated, will you try a different tactic to expand vouchers to parents of private school students? Why or why not?
I am opposed to a statewide expansion of vouchers, which was the original intent of SB 1431, the bill that led to Proposition 305. An expansion would divert resources away from our local public schools with zero accountability over how those taxpayer dollars are spent. We should be doing more to support our local public schools, not expand vouchers.
In your view, is K-12 public education sufficiently funded in Arizona? If not, how would you propose increasing that funding?
The budget we passed earlier this year was a good first step, but more work needs to be done to restore funding to our classrooms and lower class sizes. Reprioritizing our state budget and allocating more resources to K-12 education needs to be a priority. As our economy continues to improve, we need to make sure we are keeping that commitment at the legislature.
Is state university funding adequate in Arizona? If not, how would you address this?
Since 2008, Arizona has cut more from higher education than any state in the country. As a result, tuition has tripled and cuts have hurt our universities and community colleges. Targeted investments in workforce development programs and our community colleges can have a big impact on our workforce and our economy. It’s something I will continue to champion in the Senate.
Has Arizona cut taxes sufficiently? If not, what would you propose in the way of additional reductions. If so, how would you propose the state be positioned to meet new costs and inflationary increases in existing costs?
While our state income tax is one of the lowest in the country, our sales tax is one of the highest, especially in the city of Phoenix. I am always open to tax reform, provided we have the resources necessary to fund education, health care, public safety, and all of the programs we fund at the state level.
How can Arizona best find the revenue to pay for both new highway construction and maintenance of existing state thoroughfares?
The first step is to stop the raids on the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF), which funds roads and maintenance. The legislature has continued to raid the fund over the years to fund other areas of the budget. The budget we passed this year restores some of that funding, and I would be opposed to any effort to raid the fund again in the future.
Would you support a legislative remedy to the state Supreme Court decision that limited the state’s ability to block development because of water supply concerns?
Water is an extremely important issue for our state’s economic future. We need to get serious about long term water planning, which will take a bipartisan coalition of the legislature, the business community, and agriculture to develop sound water policy for decades to come.
Do you support any controls on citizen-generated initiatives? If so, what kind of controls would you favor?
Citizen-generated initiatives are an important part of the policy making process. We always want to stamp out fraud and abuse in the initiative process, while also ensuring that citizens have the ability to make their voices heard if they feel like the legislature is not listening to their concerns when it comes to state level policy.
Do you believe in a bipartisan approach to governing Arizona? How specifically would you try to achieve that?
Yes. I’ve worked hard over the last two years to govern in a bipartisan way. I was named the most bipartisan member of the state senate last year, and always look out for what’s best for our community when I vote on bills. We need more legislators who are more focused on governing than on politics.