This pandemic presents enormous challenges that require leadership in the Arizona legislature that both recognizes the problems and has the competence to develop solutions.
Drawing from my experience in international business and technology – and decades advocating for strong schools – I am bringing forward a vision and plan for our Arizona House of Representatives to do a better job of including the public and fostering teamwork among legislators.
We need to empower all of our resources to come out of this pandemic stronger, and our best resources are our people.
Challenges: Pandemic related stress is hard for us all. Isolation is especially hard on the most vulnerable, like those in the disability community and the elderly.
Workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own have had their lives turned upside down.
The cost of housing is rising faster than wages; healthcare is imperative and too expensive.
Parents and teachers are juggling enormous workloads as they navigate the best way to educate our children. Schools need funding for PPE, sanitation and ventilation on top of the need for funding for better teacher pay to keep our great teachers, more counselors and building repairs.
Solutions: We all need our schools and businesses to be open, and stay open with safe, healthy conditions for students, customers and workers.
For schools: I am proud to have been named a “Champion of Public Education” by organizations of school board members, teachers, and parents – not only as a legislator but also previously as a volunteer.
Past legislators cut education funding in the last recession, and it has never been restored. Our budget must be balanced, but not on the backs of our children and teachers. Not again.
We must restore education funding to provide quality education for students: better pay for educators, more counselors, STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts, and math – and affordable college and job-skill tuition.
For business: Part of our economic recovery should include my plan to support our small businesses being open and safe, with appropriate enforcement, and with the support of low-cost loans or grants, and technical advice about how to operate safely.
We also need job creation. The CBO has rated Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits as the Number 1 plan to create jobs. It has bipartisan support.
A study commissioned by the Bush Administration showed that UI created 1.75 million jobs during that economic downturn. When people have money in their pockets, they can afford to pay the landlord and local businesses, which stops job losses and increases paid work right here in our community.
However, right now management of UI in Arizona is frankly a mess. Eligible people face weeks or months of UI delays while we hear several news stories of people getting benefits fraudulently.
I am leading a team to reform UI in Arizona. We have gathered economists, businesses, and many others to work on three parts: increase benefits, audit the UI division of the Department of Economic Security and assure the UI Trust Fund is secure and taxes are fair.
Small businesses must be held harmless and must not see increases in their UI taxes because they already pay more than their fair share to help the economy.
As your state representative, I do the work to help our economy to thrive in balance with high quality public education, health, and safety.
In committee meetings and on the floor of the House, I speak up to protect consumers from rip-offs and to protect and empower our vulnerable populations including the disability community, our seniors and those who need a bridge to the next job.
I ask for your vote so that I can continue this work.