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Legislative District 12 – 2018 Primary Election Debate


– Good evening and
thank you for attending. My name is Leslie Kane and I’ll be the moderator
for this evening’s debate. Before we begin please silence all phones
and electronic devices. And additionally, please refrain from any
interruptions to the debate, as it is being recorded
for on-demand viewing and post captioning services. The Clean Elections, the Citizen Clean
Elections Commission is the sponsor for
this evening’s event. The Clean Elections Act is
a campaign finance reform and public education measure initiated by Arizona citizens and passed by voters in 1998. The system provides
clean funding for qualified
participating candidates who agree to abide by the
Clean Elections Act and rules. These include contribution
and spending limits, forgoing special interest money, and participating in
commission debates. We encourage audience questions, so please utilize the
note card given to you when you entered the
room and hold it up. Our volunteers will
pick up the cards and deliver them to me. If you need additional
cards, just raise your hand. If you have a question
for a specific candidate, please include the candidate’s
name on the note card. It will be considered during
the second half of the debate. We do screen
questions for clarity, to eliminate
duplications, speeches, or personal attacks
on candidates. This debate is scheduled
for up to 90 minutes, so we may not get to
all audience questions, but we will do our best. Tonight’s debate includes one
minute opening statements, and the first half of the debate begins with two minutes
to each candidate to answer the same question. After all candidates have
responded to the question, the first responding candidate will be given an
additional 30 seconds. We will rotate which
candidate responds first. The second half will allow a different question
per candidate with one minute to answer, and then we will have
one-minute closing statements. We ask that you remain polite
to all of the candidates, and give them a fair and
uninterrupted hearing no matter how
strongly you may agree or disagree with
anything being said. Tonight’s participants
are Mr. Joe Bisaccia, Democratic clean
elections candidate for state representative
for District 12. Ms. Lindsey Robinson,
Democratic candidate, Clear Elections candidate for state
representative as well. Mr. David Rothans, Democratic Clean
Elections candidate for state representative
District 12. And Mr. Blake Sacha, Republican candidate for state
representative District 12. The order in which the
candidates will speak has been determined by
alphabetical order by last name starting with the Senate. Of course, there are no Senate
candidates this evening, for opening comments, and will progress from
that starting point. So, the order for the second
half will be determined by reverse alphabetical
order by last name as well. Mr. Bisaccia, will you please
start the opening remarks? – Sure, it’d be my pleasure. Thanks everybody for
being here tonight, and that Clean
Elections Commission, DJ, Lindsay, and Blake
for participating. My name is Joe Bisaccia, and I’m a candidate here
in LD 12 for State House, and I’d like to tell you why. So, by profession I’m a
public school teacher. I began my career in
journalism and sales, but I found my true
passion in education and in teaching kids
how things work. So, after a few years I became a middle school teacher
here in Gilbert, and in the areas of applied
technology and robotics. So, as a resident of
Gilbert and a teacher, I believe I sit at the
intersection of tomorrow, which are youth and technology, and that’s why I’m running, particularly to
solve a few issues we have here at the state level, to fix our school
funding crisis, to fix our jobs crisis, to fix our
infrastructure crisis, and to reform our
state tax code. Thank you. – Thank you. Miss Robinson. – Good evening, everyone. Thank you to the Clean
Elections Commission for clean elections for
hosting this debate, our moderator, to
everyone who’s here, and all those who
are watching online. As for my background, I
have two bachelor’s degree, one in political science
and the other in philosophy. I have a master’s degree
in secondary education, and a doctorate in law. I am a former
Dreamer, a teacher, and an attorney who
worked in non-profit. I believe that my
personal life experience and educational background
has worked together to prepare me to serve
in this capacity. Thank you. – Thank you. Mr. Rothans. – My name is DJ Rothans. I’m a 57 year resident
of the state of Arizona, retired union steamfitter. I’ve worked in 10 States. I’ve seen a lot of
different things, and I think what needs
to be done in Arizona is fix our education system, and the best way to
do that is going to be to put charter schools on
the same level of restriction as the public run public school. That’s one of the biggest
drains of our budget, and it’s keep going the
wrong way and it’s going … Okay, 30 second I’ll
quit right there. It’s going the wrong
way, thank you. – Thank you. Mr. Sacha. – Good evening and thank you
all for being here tonight. I’d also like to
extend my thanks to the Clean
Elections Commission, and all of you for
braving braving our
weather this evening. I am an experienced
business executive. I worked for Intel for 28 years. I’m a professional
problem solver. I have a degree in
chemical engineering, and I studied systems
thinking at MIT, and I’m an educator. I have a master’s
degree in education, and I teach chemistry
and engineering for Grand Canyon University. I have an open and
collaborative work style, and I know that
in order to lead, I first have to
listen, build trust, and demonstrate integrity. I believe passionately
in the future of Arizona and especially in the
need to invest responsibly in high quality education,
and high paying jobs, and excellent
roads, and highways. Thank you. – Thank you. At this time, we’ll begin
the portion of the debate where each candidate
will have two minutes to answer the same question. The first question
is for Miss Robinson. Miss Robinson, what
will you do to make sure there is more accountability
and transparency for charter schools which
receive public funds, but aren’t held to the same reasonable standards
of accountability as other agencies
receiving public funds? – Thank you, given
the opportunity, one
of the first things that I would like to
do regarding this issue is to have the charter schools put on their website
their budget. I have been talking to
Democrats and Republicans and Independents alike and one of the things that
I hear from all of them is that they want
to see transparency, not just in our
traditional public schools, but in our charter schools. And, I believe
that we can’t have two different set
sets of standards for traditional public school, and another for charter schools. And so, ultimately I
believe both institutions need to be held to
the same standard. And if we have their budget, which is already on paper. So, it’s not that difficult
to just post it online for the members of
the community to see. Then there will
not be any question as to what is going
on behind the scenes, and ultimately we can
hold them accountable if we think they are spending
their funds inappropriately. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Rothans. – My thinking is separate
but equal doesn’t work. We tried that in the ’50s. We know it doesn’t work. I think that in order for our public school
system to function, the charter schools
that are public schools privately run and public
schools that are publicly run, need to be on the
same set of rules. There was no point in having
a $5,000 or more contract have to have two
bids in this school, and you could pay your
brother-in-law $100,000 to change the light
bulb in this school. I think that of the 87 schools that have gone bankrupt
since 2010, charter schools, all of them over
spent their budget, and they were
unaccounted for it. The big school in
the West Valley that went down last year, they got $10 million
or $2 million two months before
they went under had no accountability
for the money. This is wrong. You have the fox
watching the henhouse. And, one of our
representatives said that once he’s paid that money
it’s public or private funds, he doesn’t have
to account for it. That’s wrong. Everyone needs to
account for every cent that comes out of
the public coffer. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Sacha. – Thank you very much. I would describe
two specific actions that I would like to take, and the first one comes
with a little story. And that is during my candidacy, I have met with all of the
district superintendents within legislative District 12, and with the leaders of
most of the charter schools, and somewhere in that
our conversation, every one of them have
told me we get less money than everybody else, because
of the funding formula. So, the first and foremost
thing that I would like to do is to simplify and equalize
the funding formula so that we have a
level playing field for all of the students
in public schools across the state of Arizona. The second one is informed by my background as an engineer, and I learned very early on that the reason that
you do experiments is to learn from them. And so, in the last
20 years in Arizona we have performed an experiment
with charter schools, and I’m immensely frustrated by the fact that it seems like we are hesitant to learn
from that experiment. I don’t believe it’s
either pro-charter school or anti-charter school to say what’s gone well
in the last 20 years, and we should proliferate
to district schools. And what hasn’t well and
needs to be changed and fixed, so that we can benefit
from those in the future. So, those are two
specific actions that I would like to take. Thank you.
– Thank You. Mr. Bisaccia.
– Thank you. So, recently The Washington Post called Arizona’s
charter school system the most corrupt in
the entire nation, and if you look
at some reporting by the Grand Canyon Institute they found that since 1994, 42 percent of charter schools have actually failed
and gone out of business in the state of Arizona. So, I think that
tells you that we have a serious problem on our hands and we need some real
reform to the system. I think we should
have very very strict anti conflict of interest
laws on the books that are vigorously enforced. We have far too many legislators that are currently
serving right now that are voting on legislation
that enriches them, and they own specific
charter schools or have a vested financial
interest in that. That should be illegal. I think charter
schools should not get more money per pupil than
traditional public schools do. I think that’s wrong and that should not be
part of our system at all. I think it should
be mandated by law that charter schools
have to offer their contracts to
the lowest bid job just like traditional
public schools do as well, and those are a
few of the things that I think we’ve really
got to get taken care of, because this is a
system that’s run amuck. As legislators, our primary job is to be guardians
of the taxpayer, and I don’t think
anybody could look at our charter school
system right now and say that we have been guardians of the taxpayer
in the state level. This is a huge problem and we’ve got to get
it taken care of. – Thank you. Ms. Robinson, your
30 second response. – We need a charter board
accountability committee that’s going to hold our
charter schools accountable. And when fraud is
found to have occurred, they need to be held
accountable in the court of law. We need to be able to
know what has happened to the taxpayer dollars that
has gone into those schools when they’re opening up and opening up and then
closing within a hundred days. We need to hold
them accountable, and we need to create
laws that will do that. Thank you. – Thank You. Mr. Rothans–
– We have a– – Next question is since
Governor Ducey’s 20 by 2020 plan does not have a
dedicated funding source, what are your
feelings about closing special interest
corporate loopholes to help increase
public ed funding? – The state budget
is about $10 billion. The state of Arizona
gives $13.9 billion in tax breaks to billionaires, such as if you buy an
airplane in Arizona, you don’t have to
pay sales taxes. If you land that airplane
at a Municipal Airport, there’s a landing fee, but if your plane is
registered in Arizona, you only have to pay
20 percent of that. You also do not have to pay tax on the fuel that you buy. Another corporate loophole is your country club
membership is tax deductible. These are tax breaks that
are not helping at all. If in fact, we took 10
percent of that $13.9 billion and put it back into
education in one year, we could put more
money in education than our very creative
figuring governor claims he did in three. Thank you. – Thank you. Mr. Sacha same question. – Thank you. In terms of looking for
additional funding for schools, the first action that
I would like to take is informed by my participation on the Gilbert School Board. And so, as a School
Board member, what I learned is that the state typically gives money
to schools in buckets. This money can be
used for textbooks. This money can be
used for computers. This money can be
used for buildings. This money can be
used for salaries. So, I would like that
the school boards don’t spend money that way. Needs don’t happen that way, so the first thing
I wanna do is remove those restrictions
into the money that goes to the school boards. That way, they can
be more effective with spending the
money that we have. That doesn’t require
us to have more money, but it enables the school
boards to be more effective in spending the money
that we do give them. I also recognize the need for additional
investment in education. I worked in the Gilbert
community to pass the bond and override that’s
currently in place, and I’ve supported organizations in other districts to do that, and I supported the
extension of Proposition 301, which my opponents in
the Republican primary all three voted against in this most recent
legislative session. Thank you. – Thank You. Mr. Bisaccia. – Yeah, repeatedly we’ve
heard this governor talk that it’s possible to somehow
boost education spending without actually
generating any new revenue. Unfortunately, I don’t think
he would actually be able to pass math at
Coulee Middle School. Time and time again we
have seen that this, the math simply does not add up. It’s impossible to do that. We have seen our state budget, which is about $8 billion be roughly compared
to that of Wyoming, which has about 530,000
people that live in the state, and we are a state of
over seven million people now in the state of Arizona. The numbers just don’t add up. We’ve gotta find a way to
recoup the $750 million that are still missing from
the budget just since 2009, that have been cut
out of the system. And you know, simply
siphoning some money out of the Department
of Environmental Quality is simply not gonna go
far enough by any means, and that means we
have to you know, look at real
comprehensive tax reform. Our state budget as I said, is about $8 billion. We give away $13.4
billion a year just in corporate sales
tax loopholes alone. There’s one company
in particular that if you go to a hardware
store and go to buy a pipe, a two-inch pipe has a tax on it, a four-inch pipe
has a tax on it, but if you go to buy
a three-inch pipe, there’s no sales tax on that, particularly because Southwest
Gas uses that specific pipe when they’re laying
pipes down in the state. Our state tax code is riddled with all sorts of
loopholes like that. We’ve gotta reverse the trend of cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, and that’s why I’m supporting the Invest in Education Act, and why we’ve gotta reform
our state tax code as well. Thank you. – Thank you. Ms. Robinson. – Would you mind
repeating the question? – Since Governor
Ducey’s 20 by 2020 plan does not have a
dedicated funding source, what are your feelings about closing special
interest corporate loopholes to help increase
public debt funding? – Thank you. I certainly support closing
corporate loopholes, but in addition to that, I think we need to take a
look at the entire tax code. We’ve been basically giving
giveaways to corporations and begging them to come out to, to come out to Arizona, you know to run their business, and at the end, we don’t
really get much for it. Certain companies, certain
taxes actually make sense, and it helps with stimulating
and growing the economy. Others do not and I
think we need to look at the entire code to make sure that we’re not just
giving away money that’s gonna ultimately
hurt our community. Education and the economy
work hand in hand. If we don’t properly
fund education, then our economy
begins to crumble. It takes time, but
eventually it happens, and I think we’re
starting to see the signs and the symptoms now. Ultimately, I believe in the
invest in that initiative. I carried petitions for it, and I look forward to
voting in favor of it, and if it does not
pass for some reason, I think that we need to look
for other revenue sources, not just in taxes but
also in looking at money that we’re putting
in the ESA vouchers that’s already not working. I think we need to
reconsider that, and because as of right now, the ESAs, they don’t fully
deliver on the promises that they were intended
to promised on. Average education
is about $17,000. Meanwhile, ESAs only
fund about $30,000, only fund about $5,000. And so, the parents are not able to actually benefit
from from the ESAs. And so, we may
need to take a look at the entire ESA voucher
system altogether. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Rothans, same question,
for your 30 second response. – Would you repeat
it again, please? I got really wrapped up
in what she was saying. – (chuckles) No problem. Since Governor Ducey’s
20 by 2020 plan does not have a
dedicated funding source, what are your
feelings about closing special interest
corporate loopholes to help increase
public ed funding? – This is my 30 second response? – Yes sir.
– Okay. I couldn’t help but
agree with Lindsey about the voucher thing,
we know that doesn’t work. We need to take that
completely off the table. You look at the amount
of money that’s put out and the amount of money that, or the amount of good
we’re getting for it, dollar for dollar,
it’s not working. It just, it needs to go,
just simply, that’s it. – Thank you. The next question
is for Mr. Sacha. What, if anything, would you do to help rid Arizona
of dark money? – So, I think you first have
to start with a question about what is dark money? And I’ll share an
example of a question that I got last night
at a house meeting. And somebody asked
me, they said, well, your opponents have
taken money from PACs and specific interest groups. Isn’t that a bad thing? And I said well,
no not necessarily. We have many interest groups
in the state of Arizona, from education to
everything else, and those groups do provide
funding to candidates. So the fact that someone
contributes to a candidate, or a candidate takes money
from a special interest group, or a political action committee, it’s not in and of itself bad. The where it gets
bad is two things, either if the candidate
is inordinately influenced by that contribution, and that really is under the
control of the candidate. And I have high
ethic and integrity
expectations of myself. And, the second part is when
individuals in the public cannot figure out where
that money is coming from. So, I do support making sure
that anybody can figure out where that money is coming from in terms of campaign
contributions. Thank you. – Thank You. Mr. Bisaccia, same question. – Thank you. So, I believe that
Citizens United was one of the handful of worst decisions in the history of the
United States Supreme Court. My campaign has been
fully supportive of the outlawed dirty money
constitutional amendment. I helped circulate
petitions for that, and I’m excited that
that is looking like it’s gonna get on the
ballot in November. I’m supportive of it
and urging everybody to vote yes in favor of it, because the public
has a right to know if some billionaire
from out of state is spending tens of thousands
or tens of millions of dollars in a campaign election cycle. We have a right. We should have a right
to know who is doing that and for what reason. The public should
have a right to know. It’s that simple and
at and beyond that, I think we should look
to other countries and how they run elections. I don’t think it should be legal for you to be able to accept
campaign contributions from a PAC or a super PAC. I do not believe that
that is the case. Other countries don’t run
their system that way, and I don’t believe it’s very
effective in this country. I think that at a minimum,
that should be illegal, and we should look
to possibly moving to completely publicly
financed campaigns at a national level. – Thank you. Ms. Robinson? – As Clean Elections
candidates, we have to provide our campaign financing
information to everyone. And so, I don’t understand
why we need to have a different standards
for other candidates. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Ultimately, what I think is as human beings, I mean as just an honest person, and I think I’m about
as honest as they come. If someone gives me $50,000, it would be very hard for me
to not consider their position when I’m making a
decision regarding a bill, and that’s just human nature. And, I don’t see you know, why it would be such a
difficult thing for us to demand transparency
in our candidates when it comes to who’s
funding their campaigns. We know that financing is
a major part of a campaign. For the most part, some candidates elected
to run traditionally because honestly they know
that it ultimately comes down to who has the money
to win the campaign. And so, for us to act as though who’s financing our campaigns is not going to have an impact on how we vote down
at the legislature, I think it’s just a
blatant hypocrisy and lie. We’re lying to ourselves and
we’re lying to the voters. I carried petitions
for dark money, because I believe
in the initiative, and I hope that the
initiative passes, and I hope that I
have the opportunity to vote for if it does. And, I think that
we absolutely need to hold our candidates
accountable, and we need to see
transparency when they vote, so we can understand if there
are any ulterior motives behind the things that
they are voting for. Thank you.
– Thank you. Same question, Mr. Rothans. – Thank you. The simple solution to
this problem is impossible, but if in fact there was a
string tied to the dollar bill and was given to the candidate, you know where it came from. That’s this oversimplification
of the problem, but it certainly
would be a solution that when the Koch
brothers gave $10.7 million to whatever, it would be a
direct trail back to them. And what do they want? Well, they want to
destroy public education. That is their main goal, and there are times I
think our legislature is just right in line with that. What, they continually chop away at the public run public school and slant towards the
public private run school. And if in fact we
had, like I say, a trail to who gave the money,
there wouldn’t have to be. At least we would know
why this person voted other than in the,
as conscience said, and was because they got
$6 million over here. And, I don’t think those
people would get reelected. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Sacha, your 30
second response. – Thank you. As a traditional candidate,
funding candidate, I also have to comply with
all of the election rules, and make sure all of my candidate
contributions are declared. My lovely wife who’s sitting
in the back as my treasurer, does a wonderful job of
making sure that I do that. And I do not believe
that simply the act of taking money
from an organization implies an unethical
relationship. That act of being ethical or
not is owned by the candidate, but I do absolutely
support people’s right and responsibility to know where the money is coming from. – Thank you. Next question, Mr. Bisaccia. Please tell us your
thoughts on term limits for the Arizona Legislature and should jumping
back and forth between chambers be allowed? (laughing) – Ooh. That’s a great question. So, honestly speaking, I don’t believe that term
limits are effective. I mean, term limits
were instituted, it was actually founded
by a lot of outside groups from outside of the state in order to basically
handcuff the legislature from being able to be effective. Now, the way our system works where legislators serve for
eight years in one chamber, and flip back and forth, obviously that’s undermining
the spirit of the law, and I think we can all at
this table agree to that, however I think if you
looked traditionally through the history
of the United States that basically our state level,
and at the federal level, you can’t find a single
piece of legislation that was you know, co-sponsored, or sponsored by a backbencher in his first or her first term. There isn’t a single
piece of legislation, there’s not a single
example of that. You need a long history
and a deep understanding of how these institutions work to actually be able to push
an agenda once you get there. And you know for me personally, I don’t think term
limits are effective. I understand the argument
in favor of them, but personally, I do not believe that they serve their
intended purpose, and largely they’re
put in place, to I believe handcuff government from being able to function
in its proper capacity. – Thank you. Ms. Robinson. – I understand that the
words career politician has a dirty connotation, but I think true public
servants who has the skill and the ability to
serve in that capacity is an asset to our community. With that said, the idea
that our current legislators, in our District, and they’ve done this in
other Districts as well, but in terms of our District’s, would gerrymander back and
forth the way that they do is, it’s just unconscionable to me. People continue to
vote for them though, so if voters are
gonna vote for them, then they’re basically telling
them that this is acceptable. How do we tell people that
something’s not acceptable? You don’t vote for them. We don’t vote for their
ideas, their policies, we don’t support them. And so, ultimately to
answer your question, I am absolutely in
favor of term limits, because of the fact that
politicians tend to find a way to find a loophole
to violate the laws, and that’s a big problem in
every industry in our nation, not just in politics. I think a true public servant
will find the way to serve without having to violate
the spirit of the law. There are other areas as a
politician that you can better, you can benefit your community without having to
gerrymander back and forth between the House
and the Senate. Thank you.
– Thank you. Same question, Mr. Rothans. – Yes ma’am, I think the term
limits could be effective, if in fact you
served eight years, and then you had to
be out for two years, one election cycle you could
not be an elected official. I think in that time
it might be like, you could see from the
other side of the coin, you know, whether you
would be a lobbyist, or an aide to a senator,
or a representative. You could see how
frustrating it is for people to talk to you and you not get any
response from them. And then maybe you would put
the shoe on the other foot. When you got back in there, you would have a better
understanding of why, and maybe it wouldn’t
take so long. Like Joe said too, no first term person
ever gets anything done. If you knew, and all the
people around you knew, that you had four years or
four terms to get this done, it might not take so much
dragging of your feet. And like has been said,
our people have jumped back from the House to the
Senate in District 12, their thinking has made
us 50th in teacher pay and 46th in education, and the whole idea
behind term limits was to get fresh thinking and
that is not fresh thinking. It’s the same thing
over and over again. That one definition
of stupidity, is to do the same thing
over and over and over again and expect a different result. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Sacha.
– Thank you. In an ideal situation, the ballot box would
function as term limits. Everybody would vote. Everybody would be aware of the positions
of the candidates, and if we have candidates
that aren’t supported by the majority of folks
in a legislative district, they wouldn’t get returned. Unfortunately, that
isn’t practically the way our system has worked
over the last many years. So, I reluctantly
accept term limits as the second best alternative
to having the function, the system function ideally. I do believe that the
current intent of the law was that an individual
can serve eight years. And so, I don’t believe
it is acceptable to jump back and forth to avoid what was the clear intent
of the the people of Arizona when they passed an amendment
to our Constitution. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Bisaccia, your
30 second response. – Thank you. Harkening to what Blake said, I think the real
underlying issue at hand, not necessarily just that
we have these term limits, and people are violating
the spirit of the law at the state level here, but I think we need to fix
our corruption problem. If we fix our corruption
problem here at the state level, and we, I don’t believe
that the term limit issue would be as much of a
problem as it currently is, because we have just
way too many people in the legislature that
view public service as a means to self enrichment, and a means to
career advancement, and that’s not what being a
public servant is all about. – Thank you. Next question. Ms. Robinson, please
share your position on a woman’s right to choose and protecting the rights of members of the
LGBTQ community. – Thank you.
– Mmhmm. – I am a Christian and I would like to see
women have less abortions. I believe in the value
in the sanctity of life. That doesn’t mean
that I have the right to take away a woman’s
right to choose. Am I gonna stand beside her,
financially support her? Am I gonna hold her hand
through the tough times, help her heal during, you know, the difficult times in her life or through the emotional turmoil that having an unwanted
baby will cause? Am I gonna be there for her? No. So why do I get to determine whether or not she can
have a baby or not? That decision is between
her and her doctor, and if she believes
in God, her Creator. That is not something
that the legislature, that as a legislator, we
should be legislating on. But we do need to
respect Roe versus Wade, and I believe in the
woman’s right to choose. As far as the LGBT community, they have been marginalized, abused, disrespected, put down. I mean, they have been treated pretty badly in our community, and I believe that all
people, all people, have value and matter in
the eyes of the Creator. We need laws that make
sure that everyone is treated with equality. And for me, that means I support the LGBTQ community having
the right to get married, I support families, and I support the sanctity
of life in people. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Rothans the same question. – Yeah, thank you. I’m never gonna
have an abortion. (audience chuckles) I’ve never been involved in one. I never will be. It’s not my right
to tell someone else what they can do
with their body. Everyone says that
they’re pro-life. No, I think those
people are pro-birth, because like Lindsey said, they’re not gonna be
there for the whole time. The woman has five children, and is having a hard
time feeding them, and she finds herself
pregnant again, and she determined, are these six children
gonna have less to eat or should I take care of the
five that I already have? That’s the choice that she’s
gonna have to live with the rest of her life. I was raised Catholic. I’ve never been
involved in abortion. I never will be. But it’s not my
place or my right, in my opinion, to
tell someone else what they can or can’t
do with their body, and that trends into the
gay community as well. Like Lindsey said, every
human being deserves value. They deserve their own space. What they do in their
space is up to them. As long as they’re not
hurting anyone else, they can do whatever they
want and that’s my opinion. Thank you. – Thank you. Mr. Sacha. – Thank you. My faith and my religion and my family are
important to me, and my religion teaches me and has informed me that
all life is precious, and as a result of
that, I am pro-life. I support the rights
of all individuals, including LGBT individuals
to choice, to make choices. Every person is important, every person is valuable, every person deserves the
rights and responsibilities and membership of our country,
our society, and our world. And so, if we need
legislation to make sure that those rights are
available to every individual, then I support that legislation. Thank you. – Thank you. Mr. Bisaccia. – Thank you. I am pro-choice. I support Roe versus Wade. and I am proud to have
earned an endorsement from Planned Parenthood
advocates of Arizona. In terms of the LGBTQ community, I also support recognizing them as a protected class
here in Arizona. Thank you. – Thank you. Ms. Robinson, your
30 second response. – Thank you. I support equality for
the LGBT community, in housing, in the
workforce, in education, and in marriage rights, in all the other areas that we would want
rights for our families. When it comes to abortion, I believe that if we want to
see a reduction in abortion, then we need to increase funding for families who
are financially struggling. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t wanna take away … I’m out of time, thank you.
(audience chuckling) – Thank You. Mr. Rothans next question. What are the top three
issues you believe that the Arizona Legislature
should make a priority? – My first one
would be education. There is actually
no doubt about that. If we don’t have a proper
educated workforce, the middle class is
never going to strive, and if the middle
class doesn’t strive, we’re not gonna be able to
afford goods and services that are produced locally, and those things are
going to go away. I think the second
most important thing that we need to work
with is equality. This whole, we have one set
of rules for these people and one set of rules for those, that’s gotta go away. People are people. That’s the way it is, and I do firmly believe
that our environment, I think in Gilbert, we have
way too much surface water, and I’m guilty. I live just off a golf course and they run water at the gate, but we’re in a desert,
and we need to realize that if we’re going to function
a hundred years from now, we’re gonna have to
conserve some water today, and I think that that’s, that’s the top three things, education, equality,
and environment. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Sacha.
– Thank you. My answers are greatly informed by the many, many doors
that I’ve knocked on, and asking the question of you, what is the most important issue that you think that we face? And so, the answers
that I consistently get, and the priorities that
I would like to take to the state legislature
are first education, sustainable, long term
funding for education, such that we can
do an excellent job in the State of
Arizona educating all of our children
across the entire state. The second one is
transportation. Many of you may or may not know that when you pay gasoline tax, it goes into something
called the Highway User Fund that’s there for
highway maintenance. Our current legislators
have made a habit of sweeping that money to use
it elsewhere in the budget. That’s wrong, it needs to stop, and we need to have money to be able to maintain
our roads and highways. A part of this district
is in Queen Creek, and if you lived in Queen Creek you would be very
frustrated with the fact that Highway 24
doesn’t exist yet, and the arterial
streets don’t exist yet, but all the traffic
from San Tan Valley comes right through the
middle of Queen Creek. So, transportation is the
second important issue for me. And the third one is healthcare, and specifically access
to mental health care. So, I believe we
have a significant
crisis in this country with people who
don’t have access to mental health
care and need it, and we need to make changes
to that availability. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Bisaccia.
– Thank you. So these are the
three biggest issues that I believe our
legislature needs to handle, and in the very near
immediate future. One, fixing our
school funding crisis. We still have $750 millionú that’s missing
out of the system. We’ve gotta get that back, and I actually long term support a constitutional amendment that would actually
remove the legislature and the governor outside of, remove them from this
process long term, because they have shown that the partisanship of this
issue is just too extreme for us to really have a long
term sustainable solution with them continuing
to fund the system. So, I think we
should totally pass this constitutional amendment that automatically
adjusts for inflation and comes up with an
entirely new funding formula. I would also like to see us fix our crumbling infrastructure, because our success
tomorrow depends on how we deal with our
infrastructure needs today. And as Blake said, we
have constantly been, you know, siphoning
money out of the coffers of the Highway Trust Fund here at the state
level for far too long, and we have gotta stop that. We’ve gotta take care
of our infrastructure. The American Society
of Civil Engineers recently gave Arizona’s, graded Arizona’s
infrastructure as a C, and they gave our roads,
particularly, a D plus, so that’s unacceptable. And in terms of the last issue that I think that the
legislature needs to handle, and that’s obviously
reforming our state tax code. We’re giving away so much money in state corporate tax loopholes and corporate sales
tax loopholes as well. And you know, we’re missing billions of dollars
a year out of this, and we’ve gotta figure out a way to generate more revenue. – Thank you. Ms. Robinson. – Thank you. I believe that the top three, or most important
issues facing us is education, the economy,
equality, and the environment. Education and the economy, as I said earlier,
work in tandem. They work hand-in-hand together. And so, I believe
we have to tackle education and the economy
together at the same time, but most importantly
I would say education, because as a product of public education
and a former Dreamer, I believe that education
is a great equalizer. Immigrants don’t risk
life and limb to come here just for job opportunities. They do so because they
recognize that education, that their child
receiving proper education will make the difference and allow them to be able
to use their God-given, their full God-given potential. A well-educated workforce
will encourage business, will encourage corporations
to come to our state, as well as provide
jobs for our economy, and will stimulate our economy. And so, in doing those things, we have to also be
mindful of being, at being equitable to
those who are here, and making sure that everyone has the same opportunities. And then we ultimately have
to protect the environment, because it is our home. And so, if we destroy
the environment, what good is the economy? What good is an education? And so, I know that they’re
looking at, you know, space force out in,
on another planet, but right now, as
far as we know, this is the only
home that we have, and we have to protect it. And so I, you know I
think we need to get back to a fully funding
public education, not at 2008 or 2006 levels, but we need to
fully fund it now, at 2018 levels
for the year 2018. Thank you. – Thank you. Mr. Rothans, your
30 second response. – Of all the things
that are said, I agreed to 90 percent of them, but my comment about the environment and water I left out but I
meant to get in there, the one liter bottle of
water that everyone carries, we throw away enough of them to go to the moon and back
in one year, seven times. And like Lindsey said,
what good is a economy if we destroy the environment? Thank you. – Thank you. At this time candidates, if you’d like to
take a sip of water, we will be transitioning to
the second part of the debate, where each candidate will
receive a separate question with one minute to respond. So remember, you may
still submit questions via the notecards and direct
them to specific candidates. The first question
is for Mr. Sacha. Mr. Sacha, what role should a candidate’s personal
religious beliefs play in the way he or she votes? – I think implied in there is the way you vote on
legislation, I suppose, not legislation, not
voting for candidates. I don’t think personal
religion should play any role in the way anyone
chooses the candidates that they vote for in election or in the issues, the way
in which they vote on issues that come before them at
the state legislature. So, I don’t think that it
should have any impact. – Thank you. And next question, Mr. Rothans. Should you be
elected in November, how will you present
your district issues that your voters consider
very important to them? – When and if, as I go
door-to-door and talk to people and hand out my literature
and talk to them, well, the main thing
that I’m coming across is a lot of people are in
education and charter schools, some people even speak about
private prisons, roads, I would think that
education, my point, maybe the roads, and private prisons
are something that just keep coming
up more and more. Now, I didn’t put
that in my top three, but that’s something
that I’m hearing from the people
that I’m talking to. – Thank you. Ms. Robinson, what was your
position on Red for Ed and their walkout and receiving
their 20 percent increases? – Again, as a product
of public education, I strongly support Red for Ed. I supported their
decision to walk out. I supported their
decision to walk in. I think that they were
forced to have to walk out, because the legislature
wasn’t listening to them. Their backs were
against the wall, and they ultimately had
no choice but to walk out in order to get the
attention of the legislators to get them to do something that was going to benefit our
community and our teachers. They didn’t do this for
a salary increase only. They did this to benefit the
entire public education system and our children, and
we should be proud, and we should applaud them,
and we should support them, and I certainly support
the Red for Ed movement, and our teachers. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Bisaccia, how will you
keep your district informed of pending discussions
on legislation affecting your District
and all of Arizona? – Sure, a great question. So, I’ll just continue to
do what I’ve been doing. I’ve knocked over 5,000
doors in District. I’ve talked to
Democrats, Independents, and Republicans alike
and I’ve listened. I’ve done a lot less talking
than I have listened, and I’ve learned in life that that is usually the best
way to conduct yourself. So, I’m gonna listen to folks. I’m gonna make myself available. My door will always be open
and I’m gonna you know, I understand that
I’m accountable to all the voters
in this District, not just the ones that
are gonna vote for me. So, that means that
there’s probably gonna be, if I’m elected, a lot of
people that didn’t vote for me, and I recognize that
I have to do my best to represent those folks too, because that’s what being a
public servant is all about. And, my door is
always gonna be open. I’m gonna keep going around and canvassing my District, and I’ll even hold
some town halls, too, make myself available
as possible. – Thank You. Mr. Sacha, how would
you bring jobs to LD 12? – Thank you, a great question. So, I think the most
important thing that we can do to bring jobs to LD 12 is to have a robust
education system and a well trained,
well qualified workforce available to those employers that are looking to
relocate in Gilbert. I’m strongly supportive of
career and technical education, and providing multiple
pathways for students to be able to be ready
to join that workforce and to provide those
excellent employees. I think that is the most
important thing that we can do to support economic development here in Gilbert and Queen Creek. – Thank you. Mr. Rothans, how will you work towards mitigating homelessness? – In order to bring
people off the street, we have to have a place to
bring them off the street. There’s a man working in
Queen Creek called Wood Life, and he is developing a
deal for veterans and– (coughing) for troubled teens,
and he’s taking, devoted his property and they’re in the
process of building it. His name was David Weddell. He has brought my
attention to the fact that Queen Creek is number 11 in teen suicide in the nation. I was not aware of that. And he is working towards having a place for homeless people, veterans, and troubled teens, and I’m going to
continue to support him to the best of my ability. Thank you. – Thank you. Ms. Robinson, how
important do you feel it is to vote your conscience versus
voting down party lines? – Thank you. I think it’s very important
to vote your conscience, but I think you also
have to be mindful of the role that you
play as a legislator. When voters elect you in
the role of a legislator, they do so, so that
you are their voice, not a voice for yourself,
but a voice for the people. And so, anytime that
I have the opportunity to do the will of the
people who elect me, if I am in fact elected,
that’s what I’m going to do, I will not compromise things that I believe that
are non-negotiable, so I will not compromise
my integrity to do it, but I will make sure that
in every opportunity, every chance I get, that I vote based on
what the people want. Ultimately, I think that… – Time.
– Thank you. – Thank You. Mr. Bisaccia, how long
have you been a teacher, and why did you
become a teacher? – Great question. So, this is gonna be my
second year as a teacher, now. I teach at Cooley Middle
School here in Gilbert, at Higley, in Higley Unified. As I said, I began my career
in journalism and sales. I was applying to law school and began substitute teaching. A teacher had quit, so
there was a vacancy, and after a few weeks, it
was brought to my attention that with my career background,
I could get certified. So, I took a streamlined
process to do so, and I’ve enjoyed it ever since. And you know, I do believe
that the STEM field is an incredibly important field and we need to make sure that we have dedicated teachers that are preparing these
students for the future, because you know that’s
the future of Arizona, is youth in technology and
STEM is super important. – Thank you. Mr. Sacha, what is your position on the Prop 301 renewal? – So, for those of
you make sure that so, because we have a number
of propositions out there. So, Prop 301 is the sales tax that was passed 16 years ago, and the legislature
voted to renew for an additional 20 years in this most recent
legislative session. I supported that renewal. It will provide $20
billion dollars, that’s billion with
a B to education over the 20 years
that it is in place, and both of the individuals
that I’m running against voted against it in this most
recent legislative session. – Thank you. Mr. Rothans, what
is your position on the federal
immigration crisis, and the government’s actions when it comes to taking children
away from their parents, and what about
Arizona’s participation and cooperation
in these actions. – All three at once, huh?
– Mm-hmm. – I think taking the children away from their
parents is wrong, and I haven’t talked
to too many people that think it’s right. I’ve had two really
staunch Republicans get on me yesterday
about that whole thing and we eventually agreed that their taking away
the children is not right, that’s not you know, it
creates a situation now, that it’s far reaching out. I can’t imagine my children
being taken away from me when they were two years old and taken to another state, and two or three or
four months later, you reunite with them. What is the trauma that’s
happened to them in that time? It’s never gonna be erased. I don’t claim to have
the answer to everything, but I think that that is wrong, and there’s something that I’m not sure what we can
do about it right now, but it needs to be looked into in a whole lot different
way than it is. That’s the first part. What was the second part? – (laughs) Thank you. (Leslie laughs) For Ms. Robinson. What do you see as state representatives’
or senators’ primary job when voted into office? – Thank you. A representatives primary
job is to pass legislation that will support
their community, to vote based on the will of
the people in that community. When the opportunity
presents itself, I think that they should take
it to work across party lines when common ground exists. As a matter of fact, they should seek common
ground whenever possible, because it’s not gonna
be an all Democrat House of Representatives. I wish but the reality is, that’s not what’s
going to happen. And so, we have to find common
ground with one another, and we have to be willing
to work with one another, and we have to do the will
of the people ultimately. We can vote our conscience, but if we vote our conscience, and it is against the
will of the people, we have to have the
backbone to stand straight and to look at the
voters in the eye and to tell them why we
voted the way we voted, and understand that that means that we may
not get voted next time, because we’re not
doing their will. And so, long as we
can live with that. I think that’s acceptable, but we must find ways
to work across the aisle and find common ground
whenever necessary, and to make sure that we are
delivering on our promises, our campaign promises. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Bisaccia, what do you think about amending the
state constitution so that state
representatives are elected for three-year terms instead of the constant need
to politic and raise money, and spend more time to address the needs
of their constituents? – I think that’s a great idea. I’ve actually never considered
that at the state level. I’ve heard some
folks talk about that for the House of
Representatives, changing their terms from
two years to four terms. Obviously that’d
be quite difficult, ’cause that’s embedded
in our Constitution at the federal level, but I think that’s
a brilliant idea, and I would to
completely support something like that, absolutely. – Thank you. Mr. Sacha, what are
your thoughts on banning single-use plastics, such
as straws, bags, et cetera? – So I believe in limited
and local government, so if the town of Bisbee
wants to ban plastic bags, the town of Bisbee should be
allowed to ban plastic bags, and if the people of
Bisbee don’t like that, they should vote out
their town council, and vote somebody
in who changes that. If the town of Gilbert decides they want everybody to
have single use straws, they should be
allowed to do that, and the people of Gilbert
then should be able to decide who they elect to Town Council, and decide to change
that if they want, and the legislature
should not be interfering in those limited
and local decisions. – Thank you. Mr. Rothans, how would
you attempt to address the issue of doctor shortages
as an elected official? – Say it again, please. – How would you
attempt to address the issue of doctor shortages
as an elected official? – Doctor shortages?
– Mm-hmm. Doctors have a tremendous debt by the time they
get out of school and they’re gonna go
where they can make money. And, rural areas, I grew up in a rural area
that didn’t have an doctor. The closest doctor
was 30 miles away, and the reason we didn’t
have one in our town was we couldn’t give him
enough business to support him. If in fact, we’re going to put, have areas that need a doctor, it might be entirely possible that the doctor should be
subsidized by the state to stay in that spot that
he can afford to maintain his student loan amortization and still provide
for his family. If we have an area
that needs a doctor, the state should
step in and say, you know we’ll give
you another … I don’t know, I won’t
even put a figure on it. I don’t know doctors’ money, but they need to make a living, and they need to
amortarize their debt. – Thank you. Ms. Robinson, what is your
position on gun control? – Thank you. So there’s a saying that the
children shall lead them, and I think that when
it comes to gun control, the children has led us. When we look at
March for our Lives, just the spirit, the energy, it’s the determination of
our youth is astounding. They are telling us
that they are dying. They are the ones who are
dying when they go to school. We need to listen to them. We need to find ways
so that we can make, we can make our
communities safer, and I am absolutely in favor
of comprehensive gun reform. I mean, I want us to
have background checks, waiting periods, and we need to do
everything that we can to keep guns out of the hands of those who have been
found to be dangerous, felons, and domestic
violence abusers. Thank you. – Thank you. Mr. Sacha. I’m sorry, Mr. Bisaccia, what is your position
on climate change? – Well, climate change is real. I mean, that goes
without saying. I think to deny climate
change is to deny science. So I mean, we have to
first start establishing what the facts are
in this country, and the facts are that
climate change is real, and it’s being caused primarily
by human beings, okay? So, that’s step one. The next step we need to stop the corruption in this country,
and at the state level, so we can actually pass
comprehensive legislation that’s gonna protect
our environment, so we have clean air to breathe, and clean water to drink, and we have natural resources
for future generations. I support public lands, and I’m proud to have
earned an endorsement from the Sierra Club
Grand Canyon Chapter. I’m an environmentalist and
I am proud to have stand, to stand on the right
side of history. – Thank You. Mr. Sacha, to follow up
from your previous answer, would you take measures
to do away with the current Arizona law that
prevents local governments from banning single-use
items or the like? – I would. I don’t … One of the things when I talked
to people is I talk about the legislature needs to
focus on the biggest issues that we face in education,
in healthcare, and water, and so I don’t believe undoing the single use plastic law
is the most important thing in front of the state
legislature in the next session, so I would try to focus on
those most important things, but absolutely it’s a law
that doesn’t have a place, and simply usurps local control. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Rothans, what
is your position on requiring police officers
to wear body cameras? – We have seen with a number
of things in television, the Rodney King case for one, that when you show one
side an edited tape, you can make things
appear one way. Once you see the whole thing, you can make it see another. I don’t think that there’s a one fits all formula for
this body camera issue. A number of times in a struggle, we’ve seen where police
officers cameras can fall off, and there’s,
stepped on whatever, and the assailant will
say, you know, that, that this was done to keep
them from seeing me being hit, and the police officer
has a different side. I don’t know that that helps or takes away from
the situation. I would be neutral
on that issue. – Thank you. Ms. Robinson, regarding
higher education, what do you think the
legislature should do to address college
affordability? – Thank you. Again, all roads lead
back to education. The economy and
education work in tandem. If we want a strong,
robust working class, and we want to attract
corporations here to stimulate and
grow the economy, we have to invest
in higher education, the same way we invest
in K through 12. And so, I believe that we
need to fund higher education. We have not been doing
our job in doing so. We’ve been leaving
higher education behind, and ultimately, I feel
that we have to do whatever it takes to
fund higher education. We have to reduce tuition
cost when possible, we have to look for avenues and ways to encourage
people that are educated to stay here in Arizona, and not look for
jobs out of state by giving teachers the
salaries that they deserve, looking for ways to reduce, to cut costs in terms
of student loans, and to give incentives for
the workforce to stay here. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Bisaccia, how have
your life experiences prepared you for working
in the legislative process? – That’s a great question. I’m 27 years old, and I’ve had almost as
many careers at this point. (Joe and Leslie laugh) No, I’m only half kidding. You know, I worked in, I
was a TV news reporter. I covered the 2016
Iowa caucuses. I’ve met probably about
50 members of Congress, over 10 governors. I’ve been involved in
the political process
in this country since I was about
20 years old now, so I have a pretty good sense about how this kind
of thing works, and now particularly
having a background in software sales, and now working in
education in the STEM field, I believe that particularly my, my work with children
and my work in technology makes me uniquely
qualified to be able, to be able to be very
effective in the legislature. Thank you.
ú- Thank you. One moment. Mr. Sacha, are
you in support of, what is your position on
the Equal Rights Amendment? – So it’s not one I had
thought about recently. So, I stated earlier when we were talking
about LGBT rights, I believe every individual
has equal worth and value, and has right, you know, and
has rights and responsibilities for equality under
all of our laws. So, I support actions which increase equality
in our country. – Thank you. And, Mr. Rothans, how has Arizona’s
immigration policy affected the state’s ability to attract new
businesses or tourism? – Well, I think 1070
set the bad tone. It’s kind of gone
downhill from there. Our governor was willing to send National Guard to the border, but he did say that they
were not gonna be involved in actual whatever it was that our current president instructed the
rest of them to do. I think it’s given
Arizona black eye. I don’t think that
people or businesses that have money to
invest are saying Arizona is a good place to go, because after all, they have
equal rights for everybody. I know I don’t see that our
current immigration situation is a shining example of Arizona. – Thank you. Ms. Robinson, what role
should the state play in protecting our borders? – Thank you. I believe that our state has a tremendous
moral obligation to lead the way, because
we are a border state. Sending the military
to our border, I think is a waste of resources. I think that we can look to respect immigration laws
and force immigration laws, but do it in a
matter that’s humane and that respects the
lives of all people, because that’s
what being American is supposed to be all about. That’s what makes us the
shining city, the shining star, the city upon the hill
that we are known for. And so what is happening
right now at the border, I think is just an outcry, for human rights. It is a total violation
of human rights, the way that children are being taken away
from their parents, especially young infants. Thank you. – Thank you. Mr. Bisaccia, what is your
position on increasing education and vocational training
in Arizona prisons to reduce recidivism? – That’s a great question. I’m definitely
supportive of that, and one thing
we’ve got to do is, is reduce incarceration
rates to begin with so we’re not in that
position anyway. I believe that we have
way too many people in our prison system that are
nonviolent drug offenders, which is why I support the
decriminalization of marijuana here at the state level. We have way too many people that are getting put in prison and are a huge burden on the
state for petty drug offenses. We need to get these
people back out to society and being productive
members of society, because we’re ruining
people’s lives, and we’re costing the state tens of millions of
dollars per year. So, yes I do support
vocational programs and educational programs for
currently incarcerated folks, but I would like
to see less people get incarcerated to begin with. – Thank you. Mr. Sacha, what is your position on women’s rights to choose, if their life is in jeopardy or in cases of rape or incest? – So I stated earlier
that I am pro-life. I do support exceptions
for the life of the mother, or in the cases
of rape or incest. – Thank you. Mr. Rothans, what
is your position on the legalization
of marijuana? – I agree with Joe. We should decriminalize
marijuana. We have our current
judicial system, our Attorney General determines that you found with
a seed in your car, they’re going to get you for a number of
charges beyond that, and you can go to trial
and get 20 years in prison, or you can plead guilty to this and we only give you six months. And I think that
because of the situation we have with the
private prisons, that they’re
guaranteed occupancy. They’re guaranteed a profit. The two riots that we had
in Kingsman a few years back were private prisons
that were undermanned, and the best way
to make a profit is to under man your staff. And if you don’t have
to feed as many people, or you don’t feed them
stuff that they’ll eat, you know you’re making
an even bigger profit. I think that we need to
decriminalize marijuana. – Thank You. Ms. Robinson, how do you think that requiring
identification at the polls is impacting the … What kind of impact do
you think it is having to require
identification at polls? – Can you repeat
that, I’m sorry. – What do you
think is the impact of requiring identification
at the polls? – Okay, thank you. I think if you require
a driver’s license or some form of ID
just to make sure that you are who you say
you are, that is acceptable, but asking voters to prove
that they are US citizens, is basically voter suppression. And so, I think that it
is a way to intimidate and to keep voters from
coming to the poll, and I think that we
need to eliminate that. We need to look at a mail-in
ballot system in order to, in order to encourage
voters to come out to vote. We need to look in, we
need to possibly look also into the possibility of
automatically registering people to vote when they turn 18, so that we can
encourage voter turnout. Thank you.
– Thank you Mr. Bisaccia, how
do you plan to work with others across
the table if elected? – Well, that’s a great question. You know, I consider myself
to be a pretty personable guy. I was at the Gilbert
Chamber of Commerce event a few weeks ago, and I struck up a conversation with Travis Grantham,
Warren Peterson, JD Mesnard, those are some folks
where I needless to say, I have some fundamental
disagreements with on basically every
single issue, heh heh, but with that said, I
found them all to be, you know perfectly
pleasant and polite, and you know, very
kind individuals, and I look forward to just
working across the aisle, and getting to know
everybody, first of all, and at least generating
a personal relationship, because if you can’t see each
other on a personal basis, then I don’t think that you can, you know, find common
ground to, you know, close some of these
corporate sales tax holes, and other issues that, you know, conservatives say that
they agree with us on. And I look forward to, you know, having a positive
working relationship with everybody in
the legislature. – Thank You. Mr. Sacha, what do you
think differentiates you from other Republican
candidates, and why should
voters consider you? – Sure, thank you
for the question. So first my experience. I’m an educator, I’m a
professional problem solver, and I’m a business executive, but most importantly I think is my willingness to go beyond the focus on narrow
partisan issues and focus on what are
the biggest issues that we face in Arizona, and make sure that I am
applying all my time and effort, and working with
others to do the same, to focus on those big
problems that we face. Thank you.
– Thank You. Mr. Rothans, what, if
any kinds of regulations would you recommend regarding gun purchasing
and ownership? – I’m a firearms enthusiast. I’m registered with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco
and Firearms as a gunsmith. There are only 2,500
in the United States. I have a degree in gunsmithing. I left the gun
community in 1995, because the way it was going was not a way that I wanted
to be associated with. Now my particular
solution to this problem would be that in
order to buy a gun, you should have to prove not
only the background part, but you should prove that
you know how to use it, how to clean it, take it apart, put it back together,
how to load it. You should also have to have
a driver’s license like that and every three years, you have it renewed in
order to buy ammunition. I think that that
would cut down, not eliminate,
but would cut down a number of the issues
that we’re having. – Thank you. Ms. Robinson, how has the
increased minimum wage affected small businesses
from your perspective? – Thank you. So, I support small businesses, because I think that they
are vital to our communities. When we increase minimum wage, small businesses have to comply. It’s not an option, but we can look for other ways to help small businesses
stay successful so that they do not go under as a result of
minimum wage going up. That can include looking at
incentives and tax benefits, if it will not
hurt our community. If it will not hurt the
people in our community, we can look for
ways to help them, so that they do not fall under as a result of
minimum wage going up. Thank you. – Thank you. And Mr. Bisaccia,
how would you propose reducing opioid
abuse in our state? – That’s a great question. Well, I actually
think that this is a, this is a huge issue, and it actually goes
into marijuana as well. I think that first of all, we are prescribing opioids
at an alarming rate and that’s not
just in this state, but in this country in general, and they’re highly addictive, and they have created
an enormous black market for not only opioids,
but also heroin too. So, this is a really
complicated multifaceted issue that we need to look at, and I think in a
lot of úregards, I would be much
more comfortable, with people using
recreational marijuana or medical marijuana instead
of being prescribed opioids. I mean, this is an issue
that’s really personal to me. My father is partially disabled, and he takes opioids everyday, so I know this issue personally, and you know there, there
are far too many people that are getting
hooked on this stuff, getting put away in prison, and people’s lives
are being ruined. So we need to, we need to show
compassion and empathy, and we need to, we need to look at
alternative ways of, you know, not having to prescribe these
drugs in the first place. – Thank you. At this time we will
have the candidates give their closing statements, and the first will be
given by Mr. Sacha. – Thank you, and thank you all for taking your time
to be here tonight, and listen to all of us answer, and hopefully inform
you with our questions. I’m a professional
problem solver, an experienced
business executive, and an educator. I’ve demonstrated the ability
to solve difficult problems effectively and efficiently. My opponents in the
Republican primary have repeatedly chosen to focus
on narrow partisan issues, and I believe in the
importance of focusing on the biggest issues and finding solutions to
those issues that we all face. I do believe passionately
in the future of Arizona, but I believe that
future is at risk, unless we invest responsibly
in high quality education and high paying jobs, and excellent
roads and highways. My name is Blake Sacha, and I’m asking for your vote in the Republican
primary on August 28th. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Rothans. – My name is DJ Rothans, and that rhymes with both hands. (audience laughing) I’m a retired Union steamfitter. I’ve not worked for
wages in six years. This will be my only job. I will put 100 percent
of myself into this. I’m a workhorse,
not a show pony. This is substance, not fluff. I will work for you
with both hands. I will do what needs to be done. I will find out the
answers to the questions that I don’t know
the answers to, and I will look into every
corner ’til I find a solution. Again my name is DJ Rothans, and I’m asking for your vote
in that Democratic primary. Thank you.
– Thank you. Ms. Robinson.
– Thank you. Thank you all once again. As an attorney who has
worked in non-profit, I’m committed to serving
everyone in my community, and not just the means to
influence public policy. If we want fully funded
education systems, we have to elect those who actually want to fund
our public education system, not just give lip service because they wanna
be voted into office. I believe in doing just that. We can’t continue to
elect the same people and expect different outcomes. And I say this respectfully, but we can’t elect
people who have shown us that they do not support
our education system. I don’t think that
it’s gonna be easy for someone who is a Republican to vote against their own party. I think it’s gonna be a tremendously difficult
thing for them to do. I am tired of watching
the legislators have to pull teeth
in the legislature just to get our
schools fully funded. And so, I think that if
we put Democrats in office who have already shown us that they truly
support education, we can kind of get
it going a lot faster and where we need it to be without having to have a
lot of political discourse. I believe that the issues
that influence our Districts fall within the
realm of the economy, education, equality for all
in the, in our environment, and that needs to be rectified in order for our
state to move forward. I believe that I
am the candidate that will bridge those gaps, and I hope that you
will vote for me. Together we can bridge the gaps, and move our state, our
District, our country forward. Thank you.
– Thank you. Mr. Bisaccia. – Thank you so much, and again thank you to the
Clean Elections Commission, and to Lindsey, DJ, and Blake. I think everyone at this
table can attest to the fact that running for
office is no easy task, so I admire all of
them for doing that. You know, I firmly believe
that we need more advocates for public education
and educators in the
state legislature, and that’s why I decided
to run for office. This to me is an election about the future
versus the past. Are the voters gonna decide to continue to send
same legislators to
the State Capitol, supporting the same failed
policies of the past, or are they gonna take
a chance on some folks that have a different idea? And you know, are
talking to everybody, Democrat, Independent,
and Republican alike, and looking forward
to actually solving some of the really big crisis
that our state is facing. We need people that
are problem solvers, and people that are
looking to the future, not stuck on
preserving the past. I am proud to have
earned endorsements from Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club,
Moms Demand Action, and the local chapter
of the AFL-CIO. I am humbly asking for
your vote on August 28th in the Democratic primary if you are a registered
Democrat or Independent, and I look forward to moving on to the general
election in November, and earning your
vote then again. – Thank you. To our candidates, thank you so much for
participating in our forum. And to our audience members. we thank all of you
who took time to come and inform yourselves
before voting. We encourage you to visit www.azcleanelections.gov/voterdd for a customized experience to find information on
the primary election, the candidates, the issues, and to view this
debate on-demand. Please fill out the
debate evaluation form and return it to one
of our volunteers. Your feedback is important
to the Commission, and will help improve
future debates. Thank you all for
coming tonight, and you are welcome to stay and speak directly
with the candidates. Have a great evening. (all applauding and chattering) – You too.

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