I am hoping for your support, so it is only fair that you know my positions on key issues to make sure I'm the right Representative for you. And that is exactly what you will have with me: You will always know where I stand. While you may or may not agree with me on every issue, I will always be straight up with you. You can also see who is backing my campaign by checking out my Endorsements.
I have been teaching at Mesa Community College for over 10 years, so education is a top priority for me. I want to see teachers paid at a salary that rewards them for what really is one of the most critical functions in our society (teaching our kids!) and attracts more to this noble profession. I also want to ensure that we have the appropriate resources for our education system and that those resources are getting to the classroom.
I believe we need to get more resources into the classroom. We also need to develop a funding model that actually works, a system that emphasizes classroom resources and student progress. The K-12 finance system in Arizona is the most complicated education funding method in the country. It is illogical, incredibly frustrating to navigate, and long overdue for an overhaul.
Teacher pay should be the cornerstone of Education funding. There is no greater predictor of student achievement and success than the quality of instruction. The problem is we don’t have salary levels or teaching environments that are very attractive. The talented individuals who work in the classroom are often underappreciated, and underpaid. This should not be. The teaching profession, in my mind, should be held in the highest regard. These are the folks outside of the home who are helping to lay the foundation for our children’s future. School budgets should be designed around teacher pay. And, teachers should be paid based on their abilities and with consideration to their students’ improvement and outcomes.
Teachers should be given a budget to spend on classroom resources and supplies. Let them teach how they want to teach, using the materials they think best! Many educators already spend money on school supplies out of their own pocket. This just isn’t fair, especially considering the less-than-stellar teacher salaries.
On the flip side of the equation, I can think of no greater way to drive schools to be better than to create an academic environment that emphasizes parental choice. The more choices there are, the greater the competition. I realize competition makes some folks within the public school sector uncomfortable, but competition is a great motivator forcing all those competing to be better! Healthy competition should exist at every level of our education system: between schools within a district, between districts and charter schools, between online and ground campuses, and between public and private schools. Where this has been done, studies have shown improved education quality across the spectrum, and that's what we need.
Jobs & Economy
Business big and small cannot be taxed and regulated with ever-increasing intensity without the inevitable consequences that follow: increased prices, reduced wages, and, worst of all, job losses. The best leverage an employer has is in providing a job and paying a wage. The best leverage an employee has is their skill set and job performance. The two balance each other out. You cannot artificially tip the scale in favor of one side or the other and expect the system to work as well as it would if left untouched, even if your intentions are good. Reducing the regulatory burden on Arizona businesses will help create jobs. We also need to invest in workforce development. In an economy that is constantly changing workers are always needing to develop new skills. We must make sure we have a system of educating that is accessible and affordable to make sure workers can get any training they need. At the same time, I am not in favor of "special deals" or "carve-outs" for big corporations. They need to follow the rules like everybody else. We just need to make sure those rules are fair and not overly burdensome so that they can focus their energy on providing high-wage jobs.
Our borders should be secure. Any illegal immigration reform must begin with securing the border. You cannot adequately address flooding until the water flow causing it is cut off. Securing the border will help reduce the financial costs borne by all taxpayers from illegal immigrants benefiting from government services—particularly in areas of education and health care. In addition to the financial burden, the effects on crime and safety must also be considered when data shows a strong correlation between illegal immigration and crime rates. A focus must be on stopping smuggling and trafficking of drugs, weapons and people. Furthermore, border security is a crucial national security issue. We live in a day and age where terrorists want nothing more than to kill us and destroy our way of life. At the very least, they should not be able to do this by walking across an unsecure border.
In addition to securing the border, we must make sure jobs in our country go to those who are here legally, whether they be citizens or legal residents. This is especially important during these economic hard times, when the unemployment rate is the highest we’ve seen in a generation and where jobs are few and far between. I certainly can’t blame someone for wanting to move to the greatest country on earth to create something for themselves. But they need to do so the proper and legal way, even if it proves more challenging. If the migration process itself needs improvement, that’s a legitimate but separate issue. Personally, I have found that many of those most frustrated with illegal immigration are my immigrant friends—those who came to this country legally. They want to know why those who come here illegally should be treated better than those who migrated here according to the law. It is neither right nor fair to reward those who break the law.