Legislative District 18 – 2018 Primary Election Debate
Articles,  Blog

Legislative District 18 – 2018 Primary Election Debate

– Good evening,
everybody, and welcome to the primary election debate
in legislative district 18. I’m Ben Giles, I’m a recorder
for the Arizona Capitol Times, and I’ll be your
moderator tonight. A little bit about the Capitol
Times, we’re a great source of political news coverage
in the state of Arizona, we closely watch the
governor, state agencies and most of all, the
legislative process, including elections
like this one. I’ve been covering the
legislature for six years, so for our candidates
tonight, if you’re successful and make it through
to the general and
into the legislature, you’ll see a lot
more of me next year. Before we begin, I’m
just gonna go over a couple of things
one more time. We do request for our
audience to please silence all your cell phones
and electronic devices, and please refrain
from any interruptions, including clapping. This debate is airing live on
PBS and being live streamed on Facebook, it’s
also being recorded for those who’d
like to watch later and for post-captioning
services, so please no interruptions. And now a bit about the
host of tonight’s debate, the Citizens Clean
Elections Commission. The Clean Elections Act is
a campaign finance reform and voter education
measure, it was initiated by Arizona citizens and
passed by voters in 1998. As part of its role, Clean
Elections provides clean funding for qualified
participating candidates who agree to abide by the Clean
Elections Act and its rules. These rules include
contribution and spending limits on their campaigns, foregoing
special interest money and participating in
debates like this one. This debate is for
you, the audience, to ask questions tonight,
so I see a lot of you have already utilized
the note cards. If you haven’t got one yet,
just please raise your hand, we’ve got staff around, we
will get you a note card. You can write questions
down on those, they’ll bring them up
to me and I’ll be able to ask them of our
candidates tonight. We scheduled at least an hour
and a half for this debate. During the first portion,
I’ll be asking questions of all seven candidates. You’ll take turns as far as
who gets to answer first. We’ll just start alphabetically
and move down the line. And everyone will get a chance
to answer the same question, a minute per candidate. If the first person
to answer the question has a rebuttal or something
they wanna tack on at the end, we’ll give 30 seconds
for that as well. In the second half
of the debate, this is an opportunity
for you to ask questions of specific candidates. So if you want to ask a
question of Mitzi Epstein, just please write
her name on the card, they’ll bring the card
to me and then I’ll know who to direct the question to. I will say you’ll get two
minutes for those answers. And if there’s anyone
else on the panel who wants to address a
question that’s asked of someone else, just raise
your hand and get my attention and we’ll give you 30
seconds to chip in. So again, if you have a question
for a specific candidate, please write that on the card. At the end, we’ll have a
minute for closing remarks from each candidate. A quick note, we do
screen these questions that you’re writing for
clarity just to ensure we’re not asking the
same thing twice. We’re also looking for
questions, not speeches, and we also don’t
allow questions that are simply a personal
attack on a candidate. Once more, please remain
polite to all the candidates, please give them a fair
and uninterrupted debate, no matter how strongly
you may agree or disagree with what they’re saying. We’re gonna get started
with opening statements. You’ll each have one minute,
and we’ll start with Mitzi. – Well, good evening and
thank you to Clean Elections for holding these debates
and everything you do to help keep our
elections trustworthy, and to you, Ben Giles. I’m asking for your vote
because I get results for you. I’m committed to working
with you, my neighbors, to solve problems and
to open opportunities in education, jobs
and neighborhoods. I have a track record
of transparency, working to earn the
trust of my neighbors as state representative. I’ve been a school board
members, soccer coach, arts counsel, PTO, PTA,
and one of my favorites, Cub Scout leader. My work resume shows
that I get results too. And my work is a
computer systems analyst. I’ve developed efficiencies
for major corporations like Citicorp and Olin Brass. I’ve brought those
professional business skills to the legislature. As your state representative,
I listen to you and I take action. That’s why I fight
for local control, because your neighborhood
should be about your rules. And I’ve been a consistent voice to fully fund public education. I’m Mitzi Epstein, let’s fully
restore education funding. – [Ben] All right, Don. – Yes, my name’s Don
Hawker and I live in Tempe. Which, my family came
here in about 1960 and I’m a graduate of Tempe High
School and a BS in math, and I’m a retired
computer programmer. So I’m also a Republican
precinct committee man, and I’ve been involved
in local political action and races for about 14 years. And I’ve come up with
a number of opinions about various things and
I’d like to hopefully get through tonight, thank you. – [Ben] Thank you, Jennifer. – Good evening,
everyone, and thank you to the Clean Elections
Commission for hosting this event tonight and
thank you to all of you for coming out and sharing
your evening with us. I’m Jennifer Jermaine,
I’m running for legislative district 18
House representatives because I want to represent
you at our state capital. LD18 has been my home for
seven and a half years. I have a bachelor’s in
international business and a master’s in
public administration. And I have worked
for the last 15 years in the non-profit sector,
focusing on policy and advocacy in healthcare,
elder care and public education. And I currently consult
with several non-profits in the Arizona area. I’m running for this
office because this office makes the decisions
that I care about most in our local community. This office decides
the funding that goes to our public schools,
this office decides if we’re gonna continue to
fund kids’ care and access and this office decides
if and when Arizona will ever ratify the
Equal Rights Amendment and give women full equal
constitutional rights. Thank you, my name
is Jennifer Jermaine and I’m running for
legislative district 18. – [Ben] All right,
thank you, Jill. – Good evening,
I’m Jill Norgaard. It’s been an honor
and a privilege to
represent district 18 over the last four years. Professionally, I’m an engineer, I’ve worked in the aerospace
and defense industry for over 30 years. I have a bachelor’s
in engineering and a master’s in
business administration. At the capital over
the last four years, the committees
that I’ve served on have been appropriations,
commerce, education and ethics. A few of the bills
that I’ve passed have been to simplify
education finance, eliminate redundant
corporate commission fees and dyslexia handbook
that was developed that we finished last year,
which actually, this year, we launched the first
dyslexia preschool program, the first of its kind
not only in Arizona, but in the United States. And so I hope to
earn the opportunity to continue to represent
district 18 back at the capital. – [Ben] Okay, thank
you, and Greg. – Good evening,
I’m Greg Patterson. We have a very high
quality field here and I get a minute to tell
you what distinguishes me. And I think what that
is is experience. I served in the Arizona
House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995. I chaired the House Government
Operations Committee, I chaired the Banking
and Insurance Committee. I’m a lawyer and a CPA. After I was in the legislature,
I served as the director of the Residential
Utility Consumer Office, which is a state
agency that advocates on behalf of
residential rate payers in front of the
Corporation Commission and takes on big utilities
such as Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power,
Southwest Gas, et cetera. After that, I was chief of
staff in the State Senate. And then in 2008, I was
elected to the board of the county hospital. That’s a five member
governing board that deals with a variety
of healthcare issues, and after that, I served five
years on the Board of Regents. So when it comes to healthcare,
education, taxation, energy issues,
regulatory issues, I have a lot of high
level experience over
the last 30 years and I’d like to put that
to work for you, thank you. – [Ben] Thank you, Farhana. – Thank you, Ben. Good evening, everyone,
and my lovely family in Clean Election and
also all the audience for coming tonight. I’m Farhana Shifa. I’m running for
legislative district 18 House representative. I’m born in Bangladesh,
came here legally and become US citizen. Those who lived in
different countries and exposed to the different
political, economical and social environment, they
can appreciate what America is. I’m living the American dream,
that is why I’m committed to restore the American
dream for all of you. I’m a teacher and
a business owner. And I have corporate experience,
management experience also in Bangladesh. I was national consultant,
worked on education policy, child rights and women rights. So I want to bring those
expertise and knowledge and comparison to
better our own state. And as a conservative candidate, I will champion our
constitution, also protect our families and taxpayers,
also focus on the jobs, schools and our
safe neighborhood. Hope to earn your
vote, Farhana Shifa. – [Ben] Thank you, and Ladawn. – Hi, everyone, thank you
for coming this evening. I’m Ladawn Stuben. I am a fifth
generation Arizonan, my great great grandpa was
a rancher up in Taylor. I am the oldest of six children
raised in the East Valley, so you can guess what
kind of family I come from here in Arizona. I am the mother of two,
my daughter is here now, she’s going to be a senior
at Corona del Sol next year, my son graduated from
Corona and is now serving in the US navy as a linguist. Professionally, I am the
executive pastry chef at Liberty Market in Gilbert. I am also a small business
owner and a community advocate. So I am running to
represent working families in our district. As a working mom for the
last 20 years in LD18, I have not felt
very represented. So I’m running to
change that, thank you. – All right. And as I mentioned, we’ll
be asking questions from the audience, everyone will
get a chance to answer. Since Mitzi had the
first opening comment, we’ll start with you, Don. Don, what is your
position on increasing public school funding,
perhaps to bring it back to its pre-recession era levels? – Well, it’s a very complex
question because I follow the Tempe Union High
School Board very closely. I even was involved in the
battle against Common Core, I spoke at both House and
Senate education committees. And I like to see
everybody treated fairly, but I think that there’s,
I have many grievances with the public
education system. The Common Core came in,
of course, not one teacher, one teacher actually came
in and fought against it, one math teacher
in this whole state fought against Common Core,
the most disgraceful system ever to come from the
federal government, there’s been some
pretty bad ones. I fought against the
sex education program on the Tempe Union High School
Board, the trying to get Planned Parenthood
style sex education. So my time is up, thank you. – [Ben] Jennifer. Again, the question was,
what is your position on increasing public
school funding, possibly to bring it back to
the pre-recession era levels? – As a mother,
our public schools are my number one priority. My child is about to go into
the Kyrene School District and she deserves to have
the same opportunities as the children who
came before her, and right now, she does not. We have a moral obligation
to fund our public schools, these children are gonna be our
workforce in 10 to 15 years. If we do not produce the
workers for our workforce, companies will stop
coming to Arizona and existing companies
will start leaving Arizona. It is time that we step
up and create a long term, sustainable investment in
our public school systems. – [Ben] Jill. – As part of the
Appropriations Committee, I structured and
supported the 20%, 20 by 20 teacher pay increase. The other means of
revenue opportunities that we have in the state
are school consolidation. Arizona has over 220
school districts. If you compare that
to Nevada that has 17, I think there’s a
great opportunity to look at consolidation
of schools. 40% of the school
superintendents that we have manage two or fewer schools,
60% of superintendents manage five or fewer
school, I think that’s a great opportunity for revenue. Also, with the Wayfair
versus South Dakota recent decision,
that’s gonna bring a lot more revenue
into the state. So those are two opportunities
where we would have additional revenue to bring back the funding for the education. – [Ben] Greg. – I support increasing
the funding as well. When I was in the
legislature the first time, I had four years on the
Appropriations Committee, and the theory was that,
as state income rose, that the money for education
would rise because two thirds of the budget at the
time was for education. At the moment,
healthcare has consumed so much of the budget
that, despite the fact that we’ve had a lot of
increases in the base for the state budget, the
shift away from education has been substantial. And so I support moves
that would shift more money towards education, I
do believe that the public schools are underfunded
and I also, of course, believe that the
universities are underfunded. And if I could get in
there, I would work not only to make
them more efficient, but to also make sure that
they have additional funding on the front end as well. – [Ben] Farhana. – I’m a Kyrene
school district mom, I have two little one going
to the public schools, so education is very
important to me, and also, I’m a teacher. So our K12 school system
recently got 13 billion dollar by the Prop 301
for next 20 years, also Prop 123 provided
billions of dollar. Not only that, 2020
legislation, that teachers pay, that has been done by the
Republican all legislature. So the money is there,
but we need to focus on wasteful spending and all the
loopholes of the bureaucracy, and the money needs
to go to the classroom and to the teachers who
deserve it the most. Only way we can increase
funding for the education, keep our economy going the way
we are right now in Arizona, attracting businesses
with the low tax and more pro-business
regulation. So we need to keep on doing that to have a really skillful
labor to have the jobs and to fulfill those
job opportunities by our own people, thank you. – [Ben] And Ladawn. – Sure, so I went to
Arizona public schools since kindergarten, as did both
of my children here in LD18. This is a very
personal issue for me. I believe that the only
thing holding Arizona back from leading the nation in
excellent public school systems is legislators who lack the
political courage to do it. So we saw 75,000 teachers
show up at the capital to insist that we do
something about this problem, that means that it
needs to be fixed. And not only, you
know, elementary or
high school education, but I also believe
that we can have tuition-free community college and debt-free state
college for everyone, all it takes is some
courageous lawmakers. We have the money, don’t
let them lie to you and say that we don’t. Thanks. – [Ben] All right,
and finally, Mitzi. – We need to fully
restore education funding, with accountability to
taxpayers and to parents. Just today, I was in a
meeting with other legislators and staff, working on bills
to provide accountability for charter families. I know that our families
in charter schools want good choices and
they want transparency. With accountability
measures in place, then we need to fully
restore education funding. Representative
Norgaard was the chair of the Education
Appropriations Committee, and her committee
did not get it done. They came up with a 1% raise. Then 75,000 people
marched on the capital and they started to
listen and she followed the governor’s lead and came up with the 5.7% per
pupil increase. That’s still far short. It will not keep
Arizona competitive. I’m ready to fully
restore education funding because today’s students deserve what my kids had 10 years ago. – [Ben] Okay, Don, do
you have anything to add? 30 seconds. – Yes, I would say
that, you know, I go to school board meetings
and I do textbook reviews. And there’s a lot
of people that think you dump money on something
and it’s gonna make it better. Well, you can check
Washington, D.C., you can check LA and you can
find out that doesn’t work. I go in there and I see
exactly what’s going on. The textbooks are horrible
that they’re buying. And they try to get,
they’re giving condoms out in the nurse’s office. You wonder, what is
their priorities? And you look at the,
that’s just 30 seconds, okay, thank you. – [Ben] So we heard
a lot about, just now about loosely some ideas
for how to restore funding, or perhaps if there’s
better ways to find waste and free up funds. So just a follow up to
the last question then, I’ll warn you, there are a lot of education related questions. How do you envision
specifically, I
wanna hear some ideas for restoring funds. Taxes, waste, fraud, sweeping it from other parts of government, what are your ideas for
how to boost funding for K through 12
schools if you think it’s necessary, Jennifer. – One of the first
things we need to do is plug the leaky bucket. We need to say no to Prop 305. Prop 305 is a
poorly written bill that is riddled with fraud. It does nothing
to stop the fraud that exists in the
ESA system right now. Under Prop 305, the very
students who the ESA program was created for will lose
their priority status, we will be harming
students with disabilities, we will be harming
the military families and we will be harming
children in foster care. So one of the first
things we need to do is to stop the leaking bucket
and stop the leaking money out of our education funding. – [Ben] All right, Jill. – Again, consolidation
of school districts I think is the
number one priority, to streamline some
of the inefficiencies that we have in the districts. And one of the other,
when we talk about possible tax increases, I
think the medical marijuana needs to be taxed the same
as over the counter drugs. That’s an industry that
would equate itself to additional revenue
dollars that could be added to the general budget,
which could be used for K through 12 and
university increases. – [Ben] Greg. – We all think that education
should be more efficient, we all think that there
needs to be more money in the classroom. I certainly agree with all of
that, I think school choice has made schools more
efficient than they used to be because they can lose
students to that, I think, that we have competition
in the system. I think we also have
to recognize that whenever the legislature
has put a tax increase on the ballot, that
voters have approved it. And so I think that should be
something that we consider. So if voters wanna do that,
that would be up to voters, and they’ve done
that in the past. And if they wanna choose
to put more revenue into the system that way,
I think that would be good. But it’s gonna be very
difficult to squeeze a lot more money
out of the system by continually chasing
fraud, waste and abuse because we’ve been chasing
that for a long time. – [Ben] Farhana. – In my opinion, if we do
the income tax increase, that’s gonna
reverse our economy. So we need to keep it
going the way it is now, with the reduced tax and
more revenue for the state that’s gonna go back
to our school funding. And also prioritizing
the spending, and the school board
needs to be accountable to spend those money
with responsibility because there are many
loopholes in this system that the money is there,
but is not going straight to the students
and the teachers. So we need to hold them
accountable to that, even though I support local
control, also prioritizing. Some of the time, we have
seen the education purpose, the other cost become more
important at the school level, not the instructional
cost of the classroom. So we need to give those
money to the right place, that’s how we can
bring back to the point we want to go with
the education. – [Ben] All right, Ladawn. – Thank you. Something that I think
is very important is that we close
corporate tax loopholes. There are thousands of
corporate tax loopholes that, if you read through
them, they’re the most ridiculous
things you’ve ever seen. They’re losing us millions
of dollars in revenue that could go towards
education, and I commit that, if I am elected, that is
going to be a focus of mine. Corporate welfare
should not come at the expense of
our kids’ welfare. And I’m not afraid to
say that it is high time that the wealthiest
people in Arizona who use most of
our infrastructure and most of our labor
pay higher taxes. That shouldn’t be a
scary thing to say. I do believe, you know, I
agree that if the voters would be willing to raise
taxes on the wealthiest, it would be awesome, but also
let’s elect some legislators with the courage to say that
needs to happen, thank you. – [Ben] All right, Mitzi. – We need to keep
Arizona competitive and protect our
future, and to do that, we need to fully restore
education funding. So the question of how
is really important. I would agree that we need
to close some tax loopholes, but much more specifically,
rather than going with broad soundbites, I
have a 10 point checklist that I use. I like to make sure
that, whenever we look at any tax program, we wanna
ask, is it the benefits or the problems,
which is greater? Because every tax
program does have both. And I’m an analyst, in
my professional training and as a state representative, I will reach out to both
sides, bring them together and try to figure
out, is this something that’s helping our economy
or is it actually hurting us? And I believe that we
need to do the analysis to figure out
program by program, rather than taking a
broad sweep at anything. – [Ben] Don. – I guess I’m the
black sheep here, I’m the only one that’s
not advocating more money. I’m gonna give you an
example, Tempe High School, at the instigation
of Brandon Schmoll, one of the board members,
sold a big piece of property and made millions
of dollars from it. And then, even before
the deal closed, then went out and got
a 15% bond issue going. And so that the people of Tempe and the people of the district,
this is the kind of thing, and Brandon Schmoll
asked at a meeting, if you could ask for more
than 15%, would you do it? Everybody there laughed. And this is the problem,
you want better schools? Often, I and maybe
one other person are the only people at
these board meetings. You want better schools? Go to the board
meetings, get involved. Take a look at what your
children are reading in these schools and so forth. You just throw money at it,
you think you’re solving the problem, you’re not
solving the problem. There’s a very serious problem, the math teachers were bragging that they’ve got all
Common Core math books. Common Core math is garbage
and they’re bragging about it. Why, because
there’s money in it. And if there’s money in
it, they’re gonna go for it ’cause they think
that’s their job. – [Ben] And
Jennifer, 30 seconds. – I agree with Mr. Patterson,
we should let the people vote on whether or not they
want their taxes raised. And that’s it. – [Ben] Okay. A couple questions
about Invest in Ed, or formerly the Red
for Ed movement. Generally, there was an
allusion to the, the numbers are different, maybe 60,000,
70,000, 75,000 teachers that showed up at the
capital this spring. Jill, we’ll start with
you for this question. What was your opinion
of the protest, both the fact that there
was a teacher strike, and overall, just the
message of that protest? – Well, the mask is off. When you look at the AEU
Noah Karvelis as a leader, he is a self-proclaimed
socialist. He just spoke in Chicago
at the socialism meeting. So let’s put that
out there as fact. Now, the AEA joined
with the AEU, whether or not that was
a known fact at the time, I’m not quite sure. But the Invest in Ed initiative
that we’re looking at now is penalizing the
top earners who are actually creating jobs. They pay the most taxes
now, the high income earners are the ones that create
jobs and create the, pay most of the taxes,
so the Invest in Ed is punitive to those people. In fact also, the
people who aren’t paying the bulk of the
taxes are, in fact, gonna get taxed,
because in 2015, we actually passed legislation
that indexed income taxes to consumer price index. And what that did was
prepared or protected them from tax increases
due to inflation. So what this Invest in Ed
initiative actually does is not tax only the
wealthy, but in fact, taxes every single person. – [Ben] Okay, Greg. – I can understand that the
teachers were frustrated, and Americans have a
long standing right to petition government
and they did so, and I had a lot of
friends who were out there who were Republicans who
have gone into teaching and were very
frustrated and marched at that event and I
can understand that. And I also do believe
that the leadership of that event has hijacked it. I think it was
unfortunate that he did go to that socialist event and
talk about some priorities. It showed, I think,
what the leadership of that group is
really thinking. And I think, in many
ways, it’s simply part of the democratic
campaign for governor. And I think that
the tax increase that ultimately they
are trying to get done is exceptionally
counterproductive. People who are
wealthy oftentimes are the people who
are the employers who produce a lot of the
jobs and they’re mobile. So I mean, frankly, if
you’re really talking about how the Laffer curve works
or any other tax theory, if you take somebody
who’s exceptionally mobile and has a choice
of where they live and where they work and where
they run their business, then giving a punitive
tax that just affects them gives them the
opportunity to say well, my home is really Las Vegas. Frankly, we’ve been
taking advantage of that by getting people to
move here from New York, New Jersey,
Connecticut, California, because we can get really
high profile people here, and now we’re simply
driving them to Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado. – [Ben] Farhana. – There are many ways to bring
back what teacher needed. When the movement was
happening, everybody came along because Republican,
Democrat, independent, everyone felt teachers
need to be respected. And me being a teacher and
my mother is still a teacher in a pre-school, I feel
like, just like veterans who, as a society, we need to thank the teacher for their service. But what happened
through that movement when it came to the point,
the students were a hostage and the teacher
went for a strike, that a lot of parents
like me didn’t like it. I will tell you a little story, when my eight years
old who was taught to respect their teacher
next to her parents, she said mom, is my teacher bad? That day, I cried, I
couldn’t bear the emotion that my daughter is
doubting her teacher. Doesn’t matter she is
the champion teacher, she wouldn’t learn
from that teacher. That movement went
to that direction due to the wrongful leadership. And I hope you all
know by now, thank you. – [Ben] Ladawn. – I proudly support the teachers
of the Red for Ed movement. Our teachers walked
out for our kids. They didn’t walk
out for themselves, they didn’t stop just because
they got a small raise, it wasn’t so they
could get more money. When our teachers have to
walk out of their classrooms to get any sort of
change, we have a crisis. And we have an education
funding crisis in this state, I am friends with
several teachers who have ended up
going overseas to teach because they cannot
afford to live here, and they love it
here, they go to ASU, you know, they’re from here. They don’t want to leave,
they want to teach our kids, they love our kids. I absolutely 100%
support the Invest in Ed ballot initiative,
and I would encourage the rest of you to
do so, thank you. – [Ben] Mitzi. – You know what, Ben,
I’m gonna need you to repeat the question,
I’ve heard so many answers. (laughter) – [Ben] So specifically,
the question was about the Red for Ed movement,
about the teacher protests. Did you support the protest,
do you think that it was a good idea, and do
you support the message of that protest that the
teachers were trying to send, that they want more
money for teachers, that they want more
money for support staff, that they just generally want
more money for education? – More money for
education, yes, and yes, the Red for Ed movement was
the most effective protest I’ve ever seen in my
life, and let me tell you a little story about
these protesters. Their leaders are people
like my friend Carol and Maria and John, who
are leaders in their school and they lead a total
of maybe 60 people who have decided
that yes, teachers and every single
educator deserve a raise. They recognize that we
need to invest in education because that is the future
for every single one of us. When we retire,
we need these kids to take care of our retirement. They’re the ones that are
gonna be looking out for us, and we wanna make sure that
they have been educated as well as they possibly can be. And that’s why those
teachers walked out for their children,
for your children, for your future, those
brave brave teachers did this most scary thing
in the whole wide world. It was so scary to them and
they did it for their children because they believe
that that’s the way to take care of our children
in the future for your future. So yes, I agree with
them and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. – [Ben] Don. – Yes, there’s a little
difference between a public servant strike and
a private industry strike. A public servant
strike is illegal. The district’s covered for
them by closing the schools so you couldn’t
tell which teachers were participating
and which weren’t. Also, it’s interesting
that they went after the, they keep going after
the state legislature, there’s not enough money,
there’s not enough money. The Goldwater Institute
did a very good thing on their website showing
that two schools, one of which was in
Tempe, got about the same per student amount,
same size districts, and one was getting
thousands of dollars more to their teachers
than the other one because it’s controlled
at the district level. And if you don’t know
what the details are, you’re just gonna keep
throwing at a problem like an addiction, when
you use the wrong tool, it becomes an addiction. You’re addicted at throwing
money at the schools. I hear from professors,
from nurses’ groups when I walk into the
districts, that every year, the students are less prepared,
they have to send them to remedial community
college to get the knowledge they should’ve come out
of high school with. – [Ben] Jennifer. – I was part of
the group of moms that started going down to
the capital two years ago to try to prevent the
walkout in the first place. We started lobbying and
working with our legislators, but leadership would
not meet with us. Our schools are
at a crisis point. We have schools that are
literally falling apart in the West Valley. We have schools that have
unsafe drinking water. This is about our children. The teachers walked out
because the leadership would not listen to the
parents that had been down at the legislature for two years trying to fix this issue
before the teachers walked out. – [Ben] Jill, 30 seconds. – One of my favorite things
about having all the teachers down at the capital
was I got to meet a whole bunch of
teachers at one time. A couple of years ago, I
started a take your teacher to the legislature day,
as some of our districts host the legislators
at the schools, and so I started that
a couple of years, and so it’s been really
fun getting the groups down and learning the
legislative process. So I really enjoyed
meeting a lot more teachers from a lot of the
different districts. – So we’ve talked a lot
about school funding and we’ve at least
addressed one proposal to increase school funding,
the Invest for Ed initiative, which would raise
the income tax rate on the top two tax
brackets in the state. But generally, one of the
questions we have here is there’s always a debate
down at the capital about how much of the state’s
budget goes to schools and if that’s enough,
or whether or not there’s just enough
money to go around. So just generally,
broad strokes, Greg, do you support raising
taxes in any way, are you at least
open to the idea, or is it something you oppose? – Well, I already
got Jennifer’s vote from saying it last
time, so I think that we have a budget
that is pretty tight, that we have worked out
a lot of efficiencies, that we’ve shifted a lot
of money to healthcare. And the reason is that, when
I was in the legislature, there were 80,000 people on
AHCCCS, there’s now 1.2 million. And it’ll be interesting
to see if eventually, you get to healthcare questions
or other policy questions, but you have to look
at the budget globally. And at the point
where we used to have a million kids in school
and 80,000 people on AHCCCS, then the money
went to education. Now we have 1.1
million kids in school and 1.2 million
people on AHCCCS, and the money goes
to healthcare. And we have to look at why
that is, what the balance is, what the entire big
picture needs to be. We do that because it draws
down a lot of federal funding. But in many ways, that
federal funding is addictive because it shifts
the matching funding, the state funding, away
from other priorities, and one of those priorities
has been education. So there needs to be
a comprehensive look at the entire budget,
both federal and state, and what has happened from
one program to the other. – [Ben] Farhana. – Question again? – [Ben] Sure. Generally, do you
support raising revenues by increasing taxes, or
is any increase in tax something you’d oppose? Is it something you’re open to? – Okay. I do not support tax
increase because tax increase will drive away all
those businesses and corporate organizations
that we are having in Arizona. They are coming from California,
there is a reason for it. Because we are low
tax environment and more pro-business
environment. So I want to see that
is happening because
more investment means more jobs, that
ultimately brings more revenue to our funding. And not only that, I want
to address another issue. Like, the money sources,
the bucket full of money coming to the school
district, but again, I will point back how
that is a spending, because according to
the Arizona Office of the Auditor General,
the average national classroom instruction
spending is 60.7%, where Arizona has 53.8%. So now the money, however
it comes, whatever it comes, needs to go to the
proper function. – [Ben] Ladawn. – Sure. Short answer, yes, I absolutely believe in raising taxes to
increase revenue for education. I also, touching on
all of the companies coming into Arizona because
we have such low taxes, they’re also bringing
their own employees because we don’t have enough
highly educated people to fill the jobs. So part of investing
in our economy is workforce development. And that means that we
educate Arizonans to be able to take those high
paying jobs that require a good education and
we invest in them. And that’s not by
raising sales tax, that’s not by raising taxes
on the poorest people, that is by requiring
the wealthiest Arizonans to pay their fair
share, thank you. – [Ben] Mitzi. – I’ve always been
curious when I hear folks talk about the percentage
of the state budget that goes to education,
because that’s not a narrative that makes sense to me. To me, what makes sense is
are we educating children for our future, are we
doing a good job of it, are we adequate at that? And that’s what matters to me. A percentage seems
to be arbitrary. But your question also
was, do you support a different tax structure
or even raising taxes? I think the most
important thing is that absolutely no
increase to the sales tax, because we are already so
badly overtaxed in sales tax. We are among the 10 highest
states in the country on sales tax rate, and
that’s not helping us. But I would consider discussions
about an overall look at our tax structure
to make it more fair and less regressive, it
is so horribly regressive. I said that I’m an
analyst, I am an analyst, I like to look at
the whole picture and decide, is this being
fair to everybody or not? And our current system is not, in large part because our
sales tax rate is so high. – [Ben] Don. – Yes, I keep waiting and
I cannot get an answer from a Democrat, when
will graduated income tax be enough for them and
how much do you do this to these bad old rich
people to raise your taxes? It’s a great demagogic trick. It’s in the Communist
Manifesto and the whole thing, but you know, I would
prefer a flat tax. And to be realistic, if the
people are gullible enough to keep raising
spending thinking that’s gonna solve
their problems, we have to tax because
that’s, we have, in the constitution, we
have to balance the budget. But my, I will always
support a more flat tax, and including getting
rid of or certainly getting loopholes
out of the income tax and going more to a sales
tax which is a flatter tax. – [Ben] All right. Jennifer, once again,
the question was, broad strokes, do
you support or oppose raising taxes for any
sort of revenue increase, or is it something
you’re at least open to? – I support putting
it to the voters and letting the voters decide. The voters should
have the last say on any increases that come
through at the state of Arizona. – [Ben] All right, Jill. – I think the budget in
the last couple of years, we’ve been engaging in a lot
of responsible restoration. The percent revenue
increase this year is 7.5%, which is ahead of what
we expected at 6%. The unemployment is
at a 20 year low, small business confidence
is at an all time high. We have gained 150,000 jobs
over the last three years, these are all great
things, a lot of people are coming to Arizona,
people and employers. The number one reason why
employers come to Arizona is the ability to make
a profit and make money. They bring employees
and that is revenue in the form of sales tax,
income tax and personal tax. Now, an area that we
should be working on more, as I have been with our
federal counterparts, is acquisition more of our land. Arizona only owns
60% of its land as opposed to a lot of the
states on the eastern side own 100% of their land, so
we are already 40% behind as a source of revenue, so
that’s another initiative. So when we see
things relative to getting our land
back from the Feds, that’s something, an initiative that all of us should
be able to get behind. – [Ben] All right, Greg,
final thoughts, 30 seconds. – The legislature is
constrained from raising taxes, so if you’re gonna
have something that’s not revenue
neutral, it has to go to the voters anyway. It is, I think, I agree
that it’s demagoguery to say let’s just tax the rich because we can set maximum
tax rates on the rich and the rich either
don’t come here or they go away, et cetera. So it’s great to have a
lot of economic theory on what we think
the best thing is, but it has to be
something that works, it has to be something
that’s accountable, it has to be something
that passes from the voters and it has to be something
that solves the problem, and I haven’t heard
much that does that yet. – So in addition to the
Invest in Ed initiative, there is a referendum on
the ballot this November that would give you, the voters, an up or down vote on a
law that was passed in 2017 that expanded access
to what is known as Arizona school
voucher program. It limits access to
about 30,000 students, but it does at least
open the program up to any Arizona student. Farhana, do you support
this referendum? – I would say the ballot
measure is still controversy. Like I’m taking time to
understand, and also, it goes to the voters and voters
will say what they want. But still, it has pros
and cons on both side, but I do like to see
there is an option open so legislature can
revisit and rework on those measures that
already been done. – [Ben] Ladawn. – I will be voting no on Prop
305, I hope everybody will be. I don’t believe that,
we’re talking about expanding vouchers. I think that public school funds should go to public schools. I believe that we can have
excellent public schools that serve the needs
of every single student in Arizona in
their neighborhood. Every child in Arizona deserves
a fully funded public school with small class
sizes and services for disabilities and special
needs and counselors, and there’s no reason
we can’t do that. If you would like
to make the choice to send your child
to a private school, that is certainly your
right, but it should not be subsidized by public
funds and taxpayer money. Thank you. – [Ben] Mitzi. – I will vote no on Prop 305
and I encourage others to because it creates
a leaky bucket. I will vote no because I want to protect special
needs students. Prop 305 creates
a terrible system where special
needs students have to compete with everybody else. And I want our ESAs to continue to be available to
special needs students. I will vote no on
Prop 305 because it’s a leaky bucket, once again. We don’t wanna fund more
money to our public schools, only to find out
that it leaks out to a system that has
no accountability. We don’t know if
children are learning or how the money is being spent. Schools get dollars per
student no matter what in district and charter schools,
so the money always follows the student in Arizona. But with ESA vouchers,
the bills remain. The money leaves the
school, but the bills are still there, we
still need teachers, we still need desks, we still
need to leave the lights on. So if eight children
take an ESA voucher out of your neighborhood
public school, the bills are still
there, the costs remain even though the funding leaves. – [Ben] Don. – Well, I might
have some problems with some of the details
of that proposition, but in general, I’m very
supportive of vouchers because what I’ve seen
in public schools, Tempe Union High
School wanted to have a Planned Parenthood
program for sex education. What that basically is is
get the kids sexually active so they’ll get down
to Planned Parenthood for their abortion. And that’s what former
abortionists have admitted. If you are a parent and
you don’t want your kid in this kind of education
system, and I sure wouldn’t, you know, you have a
right to get them out. It’s not a burden on
the school because there’s that many
less kids in there, so they don’t have to
pay to educate kids that aren’t in their system. And all this blathering
about how it’s hurting the public schools, it’s not
’cause they’re not getting a full tuition to go
there, the parents still have to put in. I’ve known some
very poor parents that took their kids
out of private school ’cause the stuff that
was going on in there, some of them home schooled,
some of them private school or something, and so you
know, you have to know what’s going on. – [Ben] Jennifer. – Thank you, Ben. It’s important to note that
there was bipartisan opposition to Senate bill 1431,
which is Prop 305, in both chambers of
our state legislature. Prop 305 will take
away the vouchers from special needs
students, military students and foster care students,
voting no on 305 keeps the program intact
for those students and it keeps their priority
for those students. Please vote no on Prop 305. – [Ben] Jill. – I’m glad to hear you
support the existing program, so that’s good to know. The ESA program,
what that does is it’s for failing schools,
military, adopted students where they’ll have
the opportunity, they are granted funds and
they have the opportunity to go to a different
school, the majority of that is special needs students. In our district, .5%
take advantage of ESAs, so it’s a very
very small percent. And again, the
majority of that is for special needs students. Now, 1431 had some issues
that needed to be tweaked a little bit, we
were hoping to get that corrected last
year, but we didn’t. That being said, with
the current program, it was a five year
implementation and we are already
into year two. So being a school
choice proponent, the cap that Prop
305 would limit it to would be 30,000
students, so thereby, if you have children
on the reservation or special need students
that exceeds 30,000, then you have to
differentiate between which students get the ESA
funding and which don’t. So I will have to look at the
language, but at this point, I will probably not
be supporting 305. – [Ben] Greg. – I support school choice,
I was on the front end, the vanguard of the
school choice movement in 91 to 95 when I served
in the legislature. Open enrollment was the first
thing that we voted for, and the sky was gonna
fall, public education was gonna fall apart,
it of course didn’t. Charter schools were
next, we pushed through a charter school bill
in 1994, and again, the world was gonna
fall apart, it hasn’t. We’ve got some fantastic
charter schools and they increased
the competition on the traditional public schools,
the regular public schools, and I think the quality has
increased both because of that, I think they’re more efficient with their dollars
because of that. ESAs, it’s great
to hear that folks now support ESAs
for the disabled. I certainly support that. The program is not taking money
out of the public schools, it’s not a leaky bucket,
the people who leave end up taking 90% of
what they would have at the school otherwise. The Joint Legislative
Budget Committee came out with the cost savings
associated with the bill and they are indeed savings. And so I think that
parents have the right to educate their children
the way they want to educate their children,
and that the state should pay for the
education of the children, and ESAs is one small tool
to make sure that happens. – [Ben] Farhana,
any final thoughts? – I would say I do
support parental choice because politics shouldn’t
trap any students in a failing school
system or the person who is failing in
a school system, because I have
seen many students. They are excellent, probably
they are not getting the attention they
need from the school, and the opposite, the
school is excellent but the kids cannot
perform there. So parents are the ultimate
owner of the children and they have the
right to choose where their kid’s going to go. But about the
proposition, I do believe the language need to
be adjusted, thank you. – [Ben] All right. Ladawn, we’ve had a
number of note cards come up with questions about
how to legislatively address teen suicide, and
specifically within schools. If it’s necessary, you
think, how is it possible to boost the numbers
of counselors that we have in schools
available to students? Your thoughts. – Thank you, this is a
really important question. As a Corona del Sol parent,
we have especially had a hard few years, there
have been a lot of suicides and it’s impacted my kids
and our community a lot. And Mitzi actually did a
lot of really good work in this last session
with suicide prevention and working to get suicide
prevention counselors into schools and a program
going in our school system. Counselors are invaluable
when it comes to our kids at school, because they
might not be able to talk to their parents, they
might not be able, you know, they might not even
have anyone to talk to. I know Ms. Kozimor, the
guidance counselor at Corona, has been an angel in our
family with my daughter who has special needs. I certainly think that, in
any kind of school funding, we need to make sure that
there are not just counselors, but also psychologists and
mental health advocates to help our kids. It’ll go a long way
towards healthier kids and also preventing
gun violence, if
that’s coming up next, I don’t know, thank you. – [Ben] Mitzi. – In 2017, parents
came to me and told me about some of the
statistics about suicide, especially youth
suicide in Arizona. So we formed a task group, we
call it the Neighbors Council and we’ve been working
on this very topic of reducing youth
suicide in Arizona. It’s not simple to fix this
or even make an impact, but we have a solution
set, and the key to it all must be that we have
somebody whose full time job in Arizona is to work
on reducing suicide. We call it the suicide
prevention coordinator, and after a great deal of work, working across the
isle with many others, we now have a full time youth
suicide prevention coordinator in AHCCCS and to make
it better, that person will report directly to
the chief medical officer and the chief medical officer
is going to reach back to our stakeholder group,
the Neighbors Council, and meet with us regularly
and with others that you know, because she knows that
outreach makes a difference in making good policy. So our group continues,
the Neighbors Council will continue to work
on solutions that
make a difference. And if you have three or four
days, I would love to talk with you about social
emotional learning in schools and how we can make a big
impact in raising healthy kids. – [Ben] Don, your
thought on trying to get more counselors into
Arizona schools? – Well, counselors,
they’re wonderful. But I think again,
there’s a problem with the public
schools that’s endemic and is causing this
problem, and that’s that they’re scrambling
these kids’ heads with premature
sexuality teachings. They’re teaching kids, you
know, you’ve gotta decide whether you’re a male or
a female, you gotta decide whether you’re a transgender
or you’re a homosexual, you’re a heterosexual, whatever. And instead of just sticking
with the subject matter of what they’re
supposed to be teaching to make good citizens and people that are competent when they
go out in our workforce, these people have this
cultural, social issue that they’re constantly
bombarding these kids with. And they get so
confused and of course, there’s not one iota,
they cannot talk about the Ten Commandments, thou
shall not kill, even yourself. And so you have a
moral free zone, and what do you expect
is gonna happen in there when a kid gets a
gun or something? So my mathematics is the
Second Amendment minus the Fifth Commandment equals
one disaster after another, whether it’s somebody
shooting somebody else or somebody shooting themselves. – [Ben] Jennifer. – On average,
Arizona has the worst student to counselor
ratio in the country. We are number 50. On average, 950 students
to every school counselor. How can a school
counselor intervene with a suicidal student
or a homicidal student if they are in charge
of 950 students? We need to bring that ratio down to the national
recommended average of 250 students to
every counselor. – [Ben] Jill. – I’m glad Ms.
Epstein brought up the suicide coordinator
and that she worked across the isle with may others, ’cause the many others was me. So we worked on that
together to get that across the finish line. The other thing that
we initiated this year or restored was district
additional assistance. So in January, I stood
with the governor, superintendents, many
education advocacy groups, and we had 100 million
dollars that we refunded to district
additional assistance, it’s a five year program to
get it completely restored. But district
additional assistance can also be used for
school counselors, and I hope that that is a focus that some of the
schools choose to do. – [Ben] Greg. – I think that’s
one of the reasons why we have local
control, we let principals and school boards
and superintendents prioritize their money,
and I certainly think that they should spend
money on counseling and making sure that they have
the safe environment there. I think another
advantage is the ability to choose a different school. There’s a lot of kids who
don’t feel like they fit in in certain schools, and
if they had the ability to go to a charter school or
if they can be home schooled or if they can take
advantage of an ESA, they can be in an environment
that is custom to them and is comfortable with them. I think frankly, this
nation has to look at what’s happening with
Facebook and Instagram as well and just decide really,
do we want these kids on social media for as many
hours as day as they are? I don’t think we can
do much about that, but I think parents need
to recognize what that is, I think our culture needs
to recognize what that does and I think that the
schools need to make sure that they are paying
attention to what’s going on in the social platforms as well. – [Ben] Farhana. – When the suicide
prevention bill came out, I was really happy
because this is something we need to address
no matter what. Right after high school,
I lost my best friend, he committed suicide, it
took me 19 years to get over. And also knowing
that, in our district, so many brilliant kids
committed suicide. So I reviewed that
bill very carefully. The problem wasn’t the
issue, and the solution part was the problem. So now I also being a
president of Lions Club, which is a community based
hands-on working club, we have Leos, which
are teenagers there, we did some kind of workshop,
and what I figure out, we have resources
available in our community, it’s not only
government’s burden to provide the money
and fix the problem. We need to have
personal accountability as a community, as a
school parents bodies, and also as a society,
and come across with the local
resources, non-profit and all organization
together to help the school system and
resolve this problem. – [Ben] All right. Ladawn, and you have 30 seconds
if you have more to add. – I’d just like to add
that our LGBTQ youth are especially at
risk for suicide and they deserve extra support. And I would like
to see counseling and gay-straight alliance clubs in all of our public schools
because these are our children and they deserve all
the support, thank you. – So in the event that
governor Doug Ducey gets reelected, one
thing that he’s mentioned would be a priority of
his and is something that he’s tried to set the
stage for the last four years is a reduction, and if
possible, an elimination of the state’s income tax. Mitzi, do you think
that’s feasible and do you support that effort? – No. (laughter) That’s really the
short answer, no, that’s a really bad idea. Arizona has one of the
highest sales taxes, which affects those,
the less you make, the more you pay of your
income in sales tax. Whereas our income tax
rates are among the lowest, we are in like the
10 lowest rates of all the states in the US. So no, that’s not a good idea. On top of that, when the
accountants get together and look at who’s really
paying, who’s really paying what to help Arizona keep
our kids educated and our roads safe and our
people safe, who’s paying? The people who make the least. By and large, people
who make the least, are in the lowest
quintile, are paying 12-14% of their income to
state and local taxes. Meanwhile, those making the most might only be paying 4
to 5% of their income in state and local
property and income taxes. That’s not right,
that’s not fair and I want our tax
system to be fair, not so horribly regressive. So no. (laughter) – [Ben] All right, Don,
what are your thoughts on a reduction or elimination
of the state’s income tax? – Yes, again, it is a
nightmare for socialists, which every Democrat
politician is now, they won’t call
themselves that because that’s a bad name still,
but it’s what they are. And this is a flat
tax, a sales tax is a flat tax with no loopholes. So that’s what they claim
they want is no loopholes, but they don’t
want the flat tax. So we still, I have no
problem with a sales tax, other states have done
it and a lot of people will go there because of that, and it’s possible to
get as much revenue as you need from that
just by adjusting it like you do anything else. – [Ben] Jennifer. – I do not support
repealing the income tax. The income tax is about
40% of our state budget, that will blow a huge hole in
all of our public services, in our public schools,
in our universities, in our fire and
police departments. I personally do not
mind paying taxes to have a firefighter
show up at my house when my house is on fire. I do not support the
repeal of the income tax. – [Ben] Jill. – I think it’s gonna be
hard to reduce or eliminate the state income tax. I like the path
that we’re on with the incremental reductions
of the corporate tax because that brings
business to Arizona. Corporations move here,
the number one reason they move here is to make
money, employ people. Those employees
contribute to the state in the form of property tax,
sales tax and income tax, which is a huge source
of revenue for the state. So I support the
incremental step down of the corporate sales tax
that we’ve been recognizing and realizing in
the last few years that’s brought in
over 150,000 jobs. – [Ben] Greg. – I don’t even think Doug
Ducey supports that anymore. I think it lasted the
first couple of weeks when he looked at the
budget, and then he, I haven’t heard him
advocate that for a while. So the conservatives who
grew up in the Reagan era look at the Laffer curve,
and conservatives all know what the Laffer curve is, and
it says that, if you have, you can lower rates and
you can bring in revenue, and you can bring in additional
revenue with lower rates. And that, to a certain extent,
has happened in Arizona, but there’s two numbers
on the Laffer curve that bring in no revenue,
and that’s 100% tax rate and 0% tax rate, which is why
I would certainly continue to oppose the Invest in Ed,
crank it up as much as you can and just assume that everybody’s
not going to avoid it. I think that’s a fantasy,
I think they are going to avoid it, I think revenue
would drop substantially. But if we eliminate
it, I can guarantee you that revenue will also
drop substantially. And so no, I would oppose that. – [Ben] Farhana. – There is a (mumbles) is called cut rates while
broaden the base. That means when you cut
the marginal tax rates and also you cover
up the deduction and credits for the
loss in revenue. So having said so, and
also I want to mention. Tax the rich, it sounds
to me all the times, punish the successful person. So being rich, their
hard working money, they become rich,
it doesn’t mean that they have to pay
more as a punishment. So there should be
a balance overall across the board from
every economic level and having the tax
rates for the revenue. But I do not think
eliminating income tax would be possible
in one go, but yes, slowly but surely,
we need to bring back more jobs investment
and more taxpayers and we need to broaden the base. – [Ben] Ladawn. – Proportionally, poor
people pay much higher amount of their income in taxes in
Arizona than the wealthy. It’s not asking the
wealthy to pay so much more in taxes, it’s asking them
to pay their fair share. That’s all we’re saying,
that’s all I believe in. You know, between the high
sales tax that we have and our regressive tax
system, the working class here in Arizona pay so much
more of their income in taxes, and that’s not fair because
the wealthy, the successful, the job creators use more
of our infrastructure. So they should actually be
paying more, but all I’m asking is that they pay a
fair amount, thank you. – [Ben] Mitzi, you have 30
seconds to wrap things up. – We do wanna make sure
everybody pays fairly. And I want to make
your head explode before I go any further,
Laffer curve is a curve. So on one side, like Greg
said, Mr. Patterson said, lower rates means
higher revenue. On the other side,
it’s the reverse. On the other side, if we have
lower rates, if we have… Thank you. (laughter) If we increase our tax rates,
we will get more revenue on the other side of the curve, and that’s the side of
the curve Arizona is on. So should we increase rates? Maybe not. But don’t assume that
there’s only one side to the Laffer curve,
there’s two sides to it and Arizona is on the other side of what Mr. Patterson described. – All right. There was a bit of
a debate this year, it didn’t really get too
far in the legislature, over overhauling the way
Arizona manages its water. Obviously, there’s concern
about the levels dropping at Lake Mead, concern
about Arizona’s portion of the Colorado River
water that we utilize perhaps being taken first
in an emergency situation by other states. Don, how would you
legislatively address the water management in
Arizona and ensure that we have sustainable water for
the foreseeable future? – Well, I’m not an
expert on that subject. And I know that the
whole history of Arizona has been one of
ingenuity and engineers that have been able
to populate the valley with sufficient water,
and I trust that that will happen again. So I don’t panic
with sustainability
alarms and so forth, but obviously, conservation
is a good thing always, but other than that, I
can’t address details of where we would
get more water. – [Ben] Jennifer. – Historically, Arizona
has been at the forefront of water conservation. I will work to ensure
that water resources are used efficiently. My husband is part of the
Arizona Water Association and I would lean
on their expertise and guidance in this issue. We need to also adequately
fund the water infrastructure financing authorities so that
they can proactively maintain and improve our current
existing water systems. – [Ben] Jill. – Arizona has been a
great steward of water, and I think the
next couple years, when you talk about things
that are gonna be contentious at the capital, it’s
going to be water. The Central Arizona
Project manages 60% of the Colorado River and
80% of (mumbles) of water. And there’s the division
under the governor’s office, the state division which
is the Water Department. And those two are right
now at equal positions, which I think is a good thing,
that they have each other to balance, both of them
with independent boards. Now, there’s a steering
committee that’s been formed and I plan to be a part
of the contingency plan that they’re
developing right now to make sure that, when the
water below the, Lake Mead goes below the, and we have
to establish a new norm, that everyone’s at the table
relative to the Colorado River where we’re a junior partner
with California and Nevada and also with Central
Arizona Project. So I plan to be at the water
table, if anyone got that joke. (laughter) – [Ben] Greg. – When I was in the
legislature in 91 and 95, we did the 1992 updates to
the 1980 groundwater act. And so I think it’s
important to remember that we’ve been doing
water policy in Arizona for a long time and I’ve been
doing water policy in Arizona for a long time, and there’s
a couple things that we did as part of that. One is to ensure
additional conservation. We did that through a
uniform commercial code that was statewide
instead of citywide, so that we approved that. And now we use about
the same amount of water that we did in the 1950s. We actually did,
the water buffaloes, I like to call it wet water,
actual physical water. And what we did was
actually divert part of our Central Arizona
Project allotment and put it in recharge
wells that made sure that it went actually
back into the aquifer. That is what we are
talking about losing. When I was in the legislature, that used to go to California. So I think it’s very
important to remember what we’ve done in
the past, I was part of that committee that did that. We are gonna have to work
with Central Arizona Project, we are gonna have to work
in a bipartisan effort with other stakeholders and
we’re gonna have to make sure that the rural and urban
areas work together. But Arizona’s been very
sophisticated with water policy, and I think we’ll manage
to solve the problem in the future as well. – [Ben] All right, Farhana. – So last I read,
there was a 52% chances of water shortage
in Colorado River if the Lake Mead drops below
1,075 feet of elevation, and it will be the worst
history that is recorded for the last 100
year for Arizona. At this point, all the
stakeholders are (mumbles) and working very hard,
I met a couple of them and we discussed the issue,
and in my belief, right now, Arizona never than California, all the state jointly needs to
work on the contingency plan. And the legislature need
to take a bolder step to save Arizona
from this crisis. – [Ben] Ladawn. – This seems like one
issues that everybody kind of agrees on, which is nice because it is an
emergency and we do have a climate crisis and
we will need everyone to work together to help
make Arizona livable and sustainable in
the future, especially as the climate changes. So I would certainly
defer to people who have much more
experience than I do with water conservation policy. You know, from talking
to environmental groups like the Sierra
Club, they talk about limiting ground water pumping,
encouraging zeroscaping, there’s a lot of
things we can do, but it’s going to take
climate scientists, it’s going to take
environmental activists, it’s going to take
people with experience in environmental
legislation, and we’re all going to have to work together because we all do
have to live together. So thank you. – [Ben] Mitzi. – It is about working together. Arizona has a proud
tradition of bringing many many people to
the table to discuss and negotiate how should we
handle our water, who gets it. Does agro business get it, do
people in their homes get it, these are important decisions
and having more people at the table makes a difference. In 2017, we had not
so much of that, but we have new
talks starting now. There is a new Arizona
steering committee that is working on the
drought contingency plan. And now we are
including more people, it will be more inclusive of
including elected officials, even legislators, imagine that, since they’ll have
to vote on the bill, to have legislators and
all elected officials, including your elected
representatives, to the CAP board,
the water board. Have them at the table, we’ll
have much better results because we’ve got to
protect Lake Mead, we can’t fall below 1,075,
although we probably will. And if we do, we need a solid
plan that has been created with all the stakeholders
at the table. So I’ll be looking
forward to the results of this new steering
committee because it’s far more inclusive, and
it’ll be open to the public, I hope you’ll be watching too. – [Ben] All right, and Don,
any final thoughts, 30 seconds. – No. – All right. Jill, you mentioned
earlier tonight support for maybe taxing medical
marijuana differently. We see bills every
year, admittedly, they
don’t go anywhere, that would legalize or
perhaps decriminalize recreational marijuana, and
we’re expecting in 2020, there will be another
opportunity for voters to vote for legalizing marijuana on the general election ballot. Starting with Jennifer,
what is your opinion on legalizing or
decriminalizing marijuana? – I think that there
are far too many people in our prisons who are there
for minor drug offenses. It’s costing the taxpayers
a whole lot of money. We do need to look at
possibly decriminalization, but I think it does
need to go to the voters and it needs to be a vote of
the majority of the population. – [Ben] Jill. – I think we need
to look at Colorado and watch what they are
doing and not use Arizona as the guinea pig. The THC levels in
marijuana right now are 30 times higher than
they were in the 70s and there’s a huge
variation from dose to dose. I have a grave concern
that it’s a gateway drug and will lead into
other drug addictions. So I’m, right now, I am not
a fan of legalizing medical, or recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana is now
legal in the state of Arizona, again, I think it’s something
that should be taxed like over the counter medicines. – [Ben] Greg. – I don’t think
marijuana is medicine and I certainly don’t support
allowing its recreational use. I think that the quality
control is dangerous, I think that you’re going
to get a lot of, again, different dosages,
you’re gonna get different effective levels. It is a gateway
drug, I have a friend who gets out of rehab
occasionally and he says there’s nothing
wrong with marijuana except that it makes me forget that I’m not supposed
to take heroin. And that’s an issue,
is that that can be a slippery slope for people
who are really struggling, and then they end
up really tanking, and they start with something
else, they don’t start with heroin, they start
with something else. And making marijuana
more available I think is not the solution. We also have to
recognize that it is a schedule one drug
federally, and eventually, one of the presidential
is gonna come up, whether it’s Jeff
Sessions or somebody else, and say wait a second,
Congress has passed a law and the states don’t
get to exempt themselves from those laws, that’s
the (mumbles) case in the Supreme Court, and so I
think what we’re gonna see is a conflict between
the federal government and the state government,
and I think, in this case, that the federal
government should win and we should have uniform
laws that recognize that this is a schedule one
drug and that it’s dangerous. – [Ben] Farhana. – 2016, voters already
voiced what they want. And also, I will bring
back the Colorado example. Right now in Colorado, more
than 80+ legislation happened with the consequences of
the recreational marijuana. Among them, the THC
level, not only that, the edible packaging that
look alike for food products. That supplies 45%
of the marijuana that is consumed by the people. Do we really need
to mimic Colorado and make Arizona one of those? I don’t think so. – [Ben] Ladawn. – Sure. I do support
decriminalizing marijuana. I believe that our drug laws
disproportionately affect our communities of color, and
that we have a higher rate of people of color incarcerated
for minor drug offenses. I support decriminalizing
and releasing folks who’ve been convicted of minor
drug offenses from prison. That leads into getting
rid of our terrible for-profit prison
system here in Arizona that preys on people of
color in our community. If the voters decide
to legalize marijuana, which is certainly their right and we’ve done in other states, I think that we need
to be very careful about where the tax
revenue goes and make sure that it goes to
our priorities like our public education
system and things that we desperately
need revenue for. Thanks. – [Ben] All right, Mitzi. – We need research on
marijuana because I don’t think the platitudes, it’s
more safe than a lollipop or it’s the most dangerous thing in the whole wide world is,
that’s not gonna help us. We need the research,
and right now, the federal legislation
is holding us back from even having,
allowing scientists to look at current
strains of the plant. The strains of the plant that
they’re doing research on are so limited that
it’s kind of ridiculous, we don’t even know
what we’re finding out. But more than that, we’re
just not finding out, I’ve looked and looked
to try to come up with a sensible
scientific answer to these public
policy questions, and we just desperately
need the research. So please contact your
members of congress and get them to allow
research on this plant so that we can make
intelligent decisions. I do believe that marijuana
can be used as a medicine and that we do need
better quality control. We had a bipartisan
bill in the legislature, very evenly passed, wide
open stakeholder group, and we made some headway
on quality control because if you’re the mom
of a kid with leukemia and this medicinal
marijuana is what helps, you want some help with that. – [Ben] Don. – Yes, we’ve heard
some great ideas here, and I have to agree that
it’s a little strange to be legalizing a
drug which is not legal from the federal standpoint. But I wanna go deeper, as usual, and I’d like to ask
a little question of what is wrong with our
society that everybody’s getting into this
escape business? Other countries, they
legalize marijuana and then, next thing you know, they
wanna legalize heroin and everything else. Well, we got all those great
things that we stand for, that all these people
think are so great. We got, you know,
women’s choice, we got this, that
and the other thing, and people don’t
seem to be happy, they seem to have to escape
more and more with these things, we got an opioid
epidemic and so forth. So maybe we need to take
a look at our society and see is there something
wrong with our conscience, is there something wrong
with the things we’re doing that we claim, we think
are making us happy but maybe they’re not
making us so happy. – [Ben] All right, and
Jennifer, any final thoughts? – I really think that we need
to look at decriminalization because we are spending an
exorbitant amount of money on our prison system
for minor drug offenses. Thank you. – All right. We’ve still got time for a
couple of individual questions now, we have a few
for our candidates. Jill Norgaard, the
first is for you. You mentioned at
a couple of points that you think that
there is an opportunity to consolidate the number
of school districts, public school districts in
Arizona, perhaps to free up some more funding for K
through 12 public schools. There was an effort in the
past that failed to do that. I wonder if you could
address what the failure of that effort was, why this
time might be different. And if you have an idea
of how much more dollars could be freed up for education if the school districts
were consolidated. – 763 million dollars are
spent on administration last year, 53% of that
was administration for the districts and 47%
of that was administration in the actual schools. So as far as consolidation,
the putting together or consolidating the districts
and freeing up schools, yes, I think it’s
a good idea to do. When we look at the, you
don’t need to consolidate an adjacent district, and
when we did that in 2008, people didn’t wanna consolidate,
it was a government, heavy hand of the government
coming in and saying you need to consolidate
as opposed to the grassroots efforts. I think, once the parents
and the grassroots efforts get involved and hey, we
need to take a look at this and talk to your school board
and ask your school board, are you willing to do
economic analysis to see if a consolidation would
save us money overall? And see what the answer
is, if your school board wants to bring that on or if
they don’t wanna take that on, but definitely I think it’s
something worth looking into, and it has yielded savings
in many other states. – And Jill, I apologize,
I forgot to mention, we’re giving candidates two
minutes to answer these, so maybe if you could address
the first part of that. Why did the effort
fail in the past, and what could be
different this time? – Well, in 2008, when it
failed, we didn’t have as much open involvement
as we do now, and in Maricopa County,
we have 50% of students do not go to school
in their own zip code. And in our district
here, in Kyrene, we have about 30% of students
that don’t go to school within their own zip
code, so I think now that we have a lot more mix
of kids and students and diversity, I
think that the effort needs to be readdressed. – All right. Next question is for Ladawn. You’ve mentioned
a couple of times your support of the
Invest for Ed movement, which the initiative that
they’ve put to the ballot would raise taxes for the
wealthiest Arizona families. Can you elaborate on why
that is a fair tax structure? It’s often referred
as a millionaires
tax in other states, and it’s traditionally
something that’s passed in far more Democratic leaning
states than Arizona. So tell this red leaning
state why is that, to you, a fair tax structure. – Okay, well, JFK said, “To
those to whom much is given, “much is required.” And I think that that is true. I was raised in a family
that was taught, you know, I was taught as a kid to treat
my neighbors like brothers and sisters, and that we
took care of each other. We took care of each
other when we were sick, we took care of each
other when we were poor, we couldn’t pay the
rent, and everybody in the community
helped each other out. And those who had more to
give helped a little more. You know, of course
it would be great if all of the wealthy
people in Arizona just voluntarily
gave enough money to fully fund our
education system, sometimes that doesn’t happen. And sometimes it is the role
of the people to stand up and say we live in a
society, we work hard, we deserve a basic level of
education for our children, we deserve a basic
level of living, and if you’re going to
have so much and you’re, you know, clearly enjoying
living here in Arizona, sorry, I got really
excited there about taxes. (laughs) If you’re going to
enjoy the benefits of living in Arizona,
having Arizonans work for your companies,
having Arizona workers help your company thrive,
then you are going to invest back in this community. And we, the working class,
are going to demand it. Does that answer the question? – All right. And I should also remind
the other candidates, if a question is
asked that you’d like to weigh in on as well,
just please give me a little heads up, and I’d
be happy to let you speak. Our next question
though is for Mitzi. You’ve made clear your
support of increasing revenues to better fund public education. In the last two
years, did you sponsor any legislation to
accomplish that, and if you did, as a
democrat, realistically, how can you get that
through the legislature? – Well, Ben, I believe
it was your newspaper that had a headline
in my very first year in the legislature that said
Democrats pass amendment, and that was mine. So that’s how we
can get it done. It takes work across the
isle to get something done, and yes, I have
sponsored legislation that would help fund
our schools better. In 2017, I sponsored
the legislation for a 4% raise for teachers
when the other side was offering a 1%
raise for teachers. And we funded it through
a series of things like moving money
from the lottery, there was a number
of other places that we moved it
from and we were able to just set better priorities
to say education matters. And that was in 2017. In 2018, we, our caucus
worked hard on a lot of different ideas to create
more revenue in the state, and we hit a brick
wall when we tried to talk to the other side. We went to, we had
many discussions with many different folks,
frequently on the floor of the House,
sometimes in offices. And I was disappointed
to find that every option we talked
about for raising revenue was met with oh, but there’s
too many lobbyists for that, oh, there’s too many
lobbyists for that, oh, there’s too many
lobbyists for that, nope, there’s too many
lobbyists for that. Nope, too many lobbyists
for that, but you know what, the poor don’t have a lobbyist. And that’s why they
kept saying well, we’ll consider a sales tax, a
raise to the sales tax rate, because the poor
don’t have a lobbyist. Well, they have me
and you have me. You, the middle class
who keeps getting asked to pay and pay and pay
and pay through the nose, you have me and I am there,
looking at our tax structure to make sure that
it really is fair, not just by the
rates, but by who is actually paying,
which means you need to have intensive
economic analyses done. And that’s the kind of work
that I’m gonna bring to this, that’s why I’m on the
Ways and Means Committee, which is the revenue
committee, if you will, because we need to
bring my business skills to the legislature
to get into the weeds and make sure life is
fair for everybody. – [Ben] All right. Yes, Farhana. – Will all due respect,
last two years of session, every bill that is
supporting the teachers’ pay, we saw the Democratic
incumbent with, very respectfully,
I would say that, you didn’t support
the teachers’ pay. I do understand your
philosophical boundary that you couldn’t
cross to support that, but there need to be a start. If the Republican legislature
didn’t pass 2020 bill, today, teachers would
still stay at a zero limit of their pay increase. So somebody started the journey
and it needs to build up slowly but surely. The people, the middle class,
the poor you have mentioned, they have been in the
street for so long, and somebody is promising
we are fighting for you without bringing the result. So pay attention to
those who is working hard in the legislature and
bringing the result for the people, not
just telling, promising there’s a bright
future, but working to bring that
future into reality. – [Ben] Mitzi, real
quick, I’m gonna offer you 30 seconds for a rebuttal,
I think that was a reference to the budget vote this
year when there was a budget to raise money for
teachers’ salaries and Democrats in the House
uniformly opposed it. – I didn’t vote for
the governor’s budget because it’s a
castle built on sand. It wasn’t partisan, I
voted yes for hundreds of Republican bills
and I voted no for them because I’m tough on bills,
I’m very tough on bills, and there were many things
wrong with that bill. Number one, castle on sand. Left and right are saying
it’s not sustainable, if the economy so much as
hiccups, it doesn’t work. Number two, there’s
an amendment in there that says school districts,
when you do your procurement, you have to choose the cheapest. Not what’s best for students,
but just the cheapest. Number three, most importantly,
it’s not enough for schools. We need to fully restore
education funding and make sure all our
educators get competitive wages so that Arizona, we can
keep it competitive here. – [Ben] All right. This next question
is for Farhana. There has been a bit
of a movement recently at the Arizona
legislature, particularly among some Republican
lawmakers, to pass resolutions calling for article
five conventions to amend the constitution. There was a resolution for
a balanced budget amendment that passed I think in 2017. There’s also somewhat of a push for article five convention
for term limits on Congress. What is your position
on that issue? – I believe I’m the
champion on term limit because that’s how the term
limit are, they’re mentioned, because I do support term limit. It is very logical to
me when our president, the highest position in the
country, do have the term limit, why don’t the Congress
shouldn’t have it? And we have the responsibility
as a state legislature to speak out and do
something, we do. And now the question is, how
much people do understand and do support that, that’s
the question there too. But if you ask my
personal opinion, when government become
bigger than the citizen, at that point, government
become corrupted. So if we have the term
limit, then citizen will still have the
control not to create that monster government
in the process, and also, the time changed
and the new generation has new demand, and that
should be represented by the current
people, not someone in the legislature for X
amount of time and forever. – [Ben] All right. Our next question is another
one for Jill Norgaard. A follow up on the school
district consolidation plan. Arizona is very big
on local control. Consolidating school
districts obviously would mean there would be fewer
districts, fewer perhaps really localized districts. Some argue that that’s a good
thing that those local boards, those local districts
know what’s best. What are your
thoughts on balancing the pros of local control versus
this effort to consolidate? – When you look at the
top highest paid salaries in the state, it’s some,
two of the top three are Mesa and Chandler, so
there is a huge economies of scale that comes with
consolidating schools. Now, when we look
at our district, our districts are
relatively big. We have schools in 20s and
30s, I think Tempe Union has seven school
district, perhaps that’s an opportunity for Tempe Union. But a lot of the
rural districts have superintendents with one school. Again, 40% of the
superintendents in our state manage two or fewer schools. That’s definitely an opportunity to consolidate school
districts, and again, if we can get some grassroots
and get the grassroots and the parents involved in
inquiring with the school boards and doing analysis on what makes
fiscal sense for the state. I think it’s, again,
it’s a priority that we need to address,
and I’m gonna keep getting the word out in
hopes that people take a look at it and then we can take a
look at the fiscal piece of it. – [Ben] All right. – [Mitzi] Can I add? – [Ben] Yes, Mitzi, 30 seconds. – I’ve been around the
block a few million times on school advocacy, and
so I’m always interested in considering
consolidating districts because that’s what
people want to know about, but I’ll say this. I hope that, if you’re
sincere about that, you’re willing to put your
money where your mouth is, because one thing
we really found is in the local districts is
if we do want to consolidate and if it might work, it costs
money to figure that out. It costs money to
figure out will it work from a very detailed view
to make that detailed plan and then to implement
that very detailed plan if you’re gonna
consolidate districts. So if you’re going to do this,
we’re gonna need some money for the districts
to help them make that transition to
a consolidation. – [Ben] Jill, any
follow up, 30 seconds. – You would have one time
cost that would be balanced, again, and outweighed by year
long and continuous savings. – [Mitzi] And so the
schools will need help with that one time cost. So that’s what we’ll talk about. – Okay. – [Ben] All right. We have one more
individual question, this is again for Ladawn. You’ve spoken a lot about your
support of public schools. We’d like to know,
what are your thoughts on charter schools? Do you perhaps
outright oppose them, or is there a place for
charters in Arizona? – I believe there’s a place
for charters in Arizona in the school districts. As long as students
aren’t taking their public school
funds to these charters and depleting other schools,
if we want to create a school district that
includes charter schools that maybe are for the
arts or for the sciences, and it’s part of
the school district and part of our public
school programming, I think that’s fine. I think that, when
we’re basically masking a private school by
calling it a charter and not offering
public transportation, making it so that my
daughter can’t go there because I work all day and
there’s no school buses. So that sounds like a
private school to me that does not offer
the same services as a public school would. So sure, charter
schools, that’s great. It has to provide the
same level of support for students with special needs, for disabled students, kids
with learning disabilities and also public transportation,
or really, it’s just a private school that’s
using public school dollars. That’s how I feel
about it, thanks. – All right. Well, we’ve gone a little
bit over our hour and a half here tonight, so we’re
gonna wrap things up with one minute each
for closing remarks. We started with
Mitzi for opening, so we’ll just flip
it and Ladawn, we’ll start with you, one
minute for closing remarks. – Okay. Well, thank you so much,
everybody who’s come out. It is amazing to
see so many people so actively engaged
in democracy. This year is an enormously
important year for our democracy and it is important for
everyone in this room, no matter what political party or
persuasion, to get involved. And the difference
is going to be all of us working together
to make Arizona better. I will continue fighting
for working families. You know, I want to be the
voice of regular people at the capital, and that’s what I’m going to do if I’m elected. So I would appreciate your vote. If you like what you’ve
heard, go to ladawnstuben.com, sign up to volunteer, I am
the Clean Elections candidate here today, so I
don’t need your money. But I certainly, you know,
we don’t have the money, but we have the people. So I could use all of your
help, thank you very much. – [Ben] Farhana. – Thank you, everyone,
for being here tonight. And thank you, Ben. I’m a conservative and
constitutional candidate who will champion
the constitutional
rights for the people because my slogan is my goal,
restoring the American dream. I have gone through a lot
to come to this point, to survive in America,
that’s why I know what is a great treasure I got, and I want to make sure
everyone have it in their life. And also, I’ll take care
of the taxpayer money, families and also
job growth, school, education and our
safe neighborhood. So I wish that you will
get to know me more, go to my website, shifaaz.com,
S-H-I-F-A-A-Z.com. Also, my phone line
is always open. I’m open to hear from you
and I wish to earn your vote. Thank you. – [Ben] Thank you, Greg. – Issues are
exceptionally complex, I think you’ve had a
flavor of that tonight, whether we’re talking
about healthcare, K through 12 education,
higher education, water issues, energy
issues, they are all exceptionally complex. And people have to work
together to solve them and they need experience to
solve them and I’ve done both. And so I would appreciate your
support in both the primary, and if I make it through
the primary, in the general, so that I can work
together with the people who are already there and
make sure that we can solve very complex issues
and do so in as much of a bipartisan manner
as possible, thank you. – [Ben] Thank you, Jill. – I wanted to highlight
a few endorsements. Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix
and Mesa Chamber of Commerce have all endorsed me, which
validates my pro-business work, I get out on the community a lot working with the
small businesses and the large businesses,
I’ve also been endorsed by the Medical Association,
the Dental Association, the realtors, Free
Enterprise Club. And I hope you got to
learn a little bit more about me tonight, and if
you have any other questions that I didn’t answer or if
you have follow up questions, email me at, jnorgard.com
is my website. Go online, I’d be
happy to, you know, meet with you
individually or follow up any of your questions, and
again, thanks for coming, it’s great to see
such a good turnout, we don’t usually get this many
people down at the capital, so it’s fun to see
everybody here. – [Ben] Thank you, Jennifer. – One thing that I didn’t
get to talk about tonight. I have been a leader in the
Yes Phoenix startup community over the last four years
and I’ve been involved in every single Phoenix startup
week since its inception. I know how to bring
stakeholders to the table, I know how to collaborate
with business, industry, non-profits, governments
to create solutions for our small
businesses, and that is what I will bring with
me to the capital. My website is jermaineforhouse,
please sign up to volunteer, we will
take your donations. And I appreciate your
support, Jennifer Jermaine for legislative district 18
House of Representatives. Thank you. – [Ben] Thank you, Don. – Yes, we managed to get
through another debate without addressing
the issue which I left the Democrat party
over, which is when I saw a picture
of an aborted baby. It’s a joke, isn’t
it, it’s funny. So anyway, a baby has to
get through the gauntlet of abortion today, and
if he survives that, he’s facing a 20
trillion dollar debt. We’re selfish people. We should be looking at what
we can give our children, and here we are
borrowing from them and killing them to get their
resources for ourselves. That’s shameful. And I have to address
my fellow Catholics, who are, many of
them are Democrats and they’re voting
for Democrats. These people are
destroying civilization by destroying the family
with the homosexual agenda, the abortion agenda,
and so I don’t see where the disconnect is
between your knowledge of what your church
teaches and your knowledge of what the Democratic
party is doing, but it’s a sad thing to watch
because you keep it going. – [Ben] All right,
thank you, and Mitzi. – Experience does matter,
and I’ve been advocating for strong public schools
for over 25 years. I also have many
years of experience as a computer systems
analyst in manufacturing and finance industry,
and with my experience and those business
skills, I’ve developed quite a network of
people with expertise in science and technology. So one thing I wanted
to talk to you about is the importance
of vetting bills that come to the state House. I think that you want a
representative who sees more than the shiny glitz of
oh, technology, cool. No, I’m tough on
bills, I’m no pushover, and I bring science
cafes to the legislature where we bring
scientists from industry together with legislators
to talk about the issues, to make sure we’re being
careful about things. Oh yeah, and there’s
coffee and bagels too. I’ve said many times we
need to fully restore education funding because
today’s students deserve what my kids had 10 years ago. And once again, I’m
proud to be endorsed by teachers and police. – All right, and that
concludes our debate. I’ve just got a couple
of things to say when we wrap things up. To our candidates, thanks
so much for participating. To the audience, we hope
you’ll, thank you, yeah. (applause) Candidates, I know
it’s getting late, but we hope you’ll stick
around, and audience members, you’ll have an
opportunity to talk directly to them
now if you’d like. And thank you, again,
all of you for coming and for trying to inform
yourselves before voting. We encourage you, please visit www.azcleanelections.gov/voterdd for a customized experience,
you can find information there on the primary election,
the candidates, the issues and to view this
debate on demand. Please fill out a
debate evaluation form. You can return
that to volunteers, you can also fill
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with the candidates.

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