When I ran for office in 2016, I said I wanted be your voice—the voice of the people—in the Arizona Legislature. And that is exactly what I did.
I used my voice, my votes, my amendments, and my bills to fight for the rights and wellbeing of workers, patients, teachers, students, women and the underserved.
Protecting your family…
I was a strong voice for public health and affordable access to care during the negotiations and eventual passage of both the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act and dental therapy. I also co-sponsored a bill to allow Arizonans to buy-in to Medicaid (AHCCCS). This is a potentially cheaper option for folks who are struggling with the cost of health insurance. House Democrats will be proposing it again in 2019.
On budget night 2018, I proposed an amendment to appropriate $56 million in federal child care subsidies to fill the $80 million gap left after Republicans swept the funds during the Great Recession. Arizona House Republicans voted to leave those funds unspent; Arizona is the only state in the country that didn’t use those earmarked childcare funds. (I’ll try again in 2019.) I also backed a bill for tiered reimbursement for childcare subsidies. This bill, which was signed into law, and the $56 million in subsidies would go a long way to help Arizona families and children.
Protecting your rights…
Also on budget night, at around 4 a.m., I defended the rights of pregnant homeless women to have access to abortion and abortion referrals. I have seen young homeless women with infants on the streets of Tucson. The streets are no place for adults– let alone children and babies. Because we are a state that does very little to help women once their babies have been born, I believe we should expand access to contraception and all legal medical procedures and teach medically accurate sex education in the schools.
Two years in a row, I proposed ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in Arizona. Arizona women won’t have equal pay for equal work without passage of the ERA. Overall, women are paid roughly 78 cents on the dollar compared to men. Due to the intersectionality of race, class, ethnicity and gender, African-American women, Native American women and Latinas are paid far less than white men. Latinas make roughly 55 cents per hour for every $1 earned by a white man. Tucson’s population is 41% Latino. Just think of the economic impact to our city and our region if Latinas were paid fairly and if they were offered quality education for themselves and their children. It doesn’t do our community, our state or our country to force people to live in poverty and sickness.
Protecting your pocketbook…
I fought against bad bills that would weaken workers’ compensation laws and strong-arm injured workers into full and final workers’ comp settlements. On both of my committees– Health and Banking and Insurance– we heard many pieces of legislation that would impact your insurance coverage or make contracts less transparent. The three House Democrats on the Banking and Insurance Committee– Reps. Athena Salman, Kelli Butler and me– were watchdogs for your rights and your pocketbooks on that committee dominated by businessmen and lobbyists.
With our dogged debate skills, the three of us killed a bill that would have paved the way for risky investment of state pension funds. This bill to skirt procurement procedures to allow more “nimble” investments of pension funds died in the Banking and Insurance Committee. Seniors depend upon the state to be good stewards with their pension funds.
I fought against deregulation financial products and contracts. Republicans passed the deregulation “sandbox” which allows corporations to test “innovative financial products” on the unsuspecting Arizona public. On a party line vote, Republicans also passed a bill which allows people to waive contract law when signing online contracts. What could go wrong? I think the Arizona Legislature should be protecting consumers, rather than putting us and our finances at risk.
I voted against every tax giveaway proposed in two years, and there were a lot of them– most of which benefited one or a handful of large corporations– to the detriment of small business owners and the people of Arizona. If we want to fully fund public education in the state of Arizona, we have to stop giving away tax dollars.
Building a better future for all Arizonans…
I fully support a thorough review of all of the tax giveaways and identification of the ones that are beneficial to a broad range of Arizonans (like the tax exemptions on food and prescription drugs). Further, I believe that the Arizona Legislature should have the political will to identify and eliminate tax giveaways that benefit special interest groups and have little or no benefit to the general public. Also, any new giveaways should have a sunset date.
I agree with the Red for Ed movement that until the schools are fully funded, we should not give tax dollars away, but I would take this one step further. For the overall health and financial security of our state, we should fund education at all levels from early childhood education through community college, the university system, trade school, or adult literacy– whatever our people need to attain food security, housing security and financial stability. Our state’s future will be stronger and healthier if we have an educated populace.
It’s time for the Arizona Legislature to fund the People’s To-Do list instead of the corporate wish list. It’s time that we funded education, healthcare, infrastructure and safety and security. That would economic development.
As a Progressive Democrat and a Clean Elections candidate, I want to continue to do the people’s work in the Arizona House. I ask for your vote in the Democratic Primary on August 28.
Onward to victory! Thanks for your support!