David Schapira, candidate for Congressional District 9, made it clear that he’s running for office to support education and jobs during his appearance Friday at the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Committee meeting.

Schapira was a teacher in the Paradise Valley School District before he got involved with politics. He says as a teacher he noticed that not every student had the same opportunities he had as a student, and after some research he realized that the groups that had the most influence on schools were the governing boards and the state Legislature. As soon as he turned 25 in 2006 he ran for the state Legislature and won.

Schapira is also a member of the Tempe Union High School District Governing Board.

While he’s been involved with groups that have a lot of influence on education already, Schapira says this next term in Congress will be the most important term for education “in the history of our country.”

“The reason is because about a decade ago we passed a piece of legislation called ‘No Child Left Behind,’” Schapira said. “We made some really substantive reforms and some of those reforms, I think most in the educational system would agree, are taking us in the wrong direction. There was some good stuff in there but there was also some bad stuff that needs to be fixed and it hasn’t been fixed yet. Why is it most important in this next term to fix it? Because in 2014 there are nuclear options that are exercised in schools across this country if we don’t make some changes and some fixes to the legislation.”

He said the drafters of “No Child Left Behind” did not include the stakeholders to the degree they should have, and that is something he would like to see fixed.

Schapira also mentioned his experience as a business owner. He’s owned a few businesses including a web design business he still runs and an online convenience store that catered to Arizona State University students. Schapira said as a business owner he learned the same lesson he learned as a teacher.

“I have a core belief I believe is rooted in the American Dream,” he said. “My view is that the American Dream doesn’t mean everyone gets a handout or a giveaway. My belief is that the American Dream means everyone should get a chance or an opportunity to succeed and make something of themselves. I think it starts in school and moves through the workforce and the ability to start a business and be successful.”

Schapira is running against other Democrats Kysten Sinema and Andrei Cherny. Republicans vying for the office include Travis Grantham, Martin Sepulveda, Vernon Parker, Leah Campos Schandlbauer and Wendy Rogers.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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