Arizona Senate, District 4

Arizona's 30 state senators each represent a unique district of voters. Republicans have held the majority in recent years, although most recently by only a handful of votes.The job pays $24,000 a year, plus mileage and per-diem during session.

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    Lisa Otondo

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Biographical Information

Why are you the best person for the job?

Do you support the teacher pay-raise plan passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Doug Ducey? Why or why not?

State funding for Arizona schools remains below pre-recession levels. How should the state address funding for its schools in next year’s budget? How would you pay for any increases?

Does Arizona do enough to require accountability and transparency for charter schools?

Would you support stricter gun laws, including raising the minimum age to 21 for all gun purchases, banning bump stocks and universal background checks on gun sales between private parties?

What should Arizona do to prevent mass shootings in schools?

As a legislator, would you be inclined to support additional tax cuts for individuals or businesses? If so, which taxes would you like to see reduced?

Should recreational marijuana use be legalized in Arizona? Why or why not?

Has Arizona taken the right approach by increasing restrictions on abortion providers and clinics? Why or why not?

What should Arizona be doing to prepare for a potential water-shortage declaration on the Colorado River?

Would you support a statewide law that bans discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in public accommodations, such as restaurants and other businesses? Why or why not?

Would you support a statewide law to allow business owners and others to deny services to customers based on religious beliefs? Why or why not?

In terms of the economy, how can the Legislature best encourage sustainable growth that benefits people of all income levels?

Do you support further expanding the Empowerment Scholarship Account program, which provides state funding for private-school education?

What is your position on Proposition 305, the ballot measure that would repeal the Legislature’s 2017 expansion of the voucher program?

What role should Arizona play in helping the federal government secure the border with Mexico?

Has the Legislature done enough to address concerns about sexual harassment among its membership?

Is there an issue not mentioned about that you feel hasn’t received enough attention at the Capitol? How would you address it?

What is the greatest threat to Arizona’s future, and how would you address it?

Last spring, lawmakers – at the direction of the governor’s office – opted to not authorize the state’s expenditure of $56 million in federal aid for child-care costs for the working poor. Should the state accept the $56 million? Why or why not?

Family members who take in their relative’s children when the kids are removed from their parents’ home get a sliver of the money paid to foster parents, about $45 a month, compared to $650. What responsibility, if any, does the state have to these family members? Should they be paid the same as foster parents?

Age 59
I hold a Master’s Degree in International Public Administration, a Bachelor’s Degree in Policy Studies, have served in the legislature for six years, and have worked as a business woman, business owner, public school teacher, and realtor. I am dedicated to helping my constituents traverse bureaucratic obstacles, I have pursued higher education in water law, and have been accessible and accountable to the constituents that I serve.  
More money for pubic education is a good thing. This was mostly money owed to the schools after years and years of devastating cuts. Not all teachers will receive the money promised and in fact, 59 school districts will not receive the monies promised. Also, the structural problems with education funding have not been, but must be addressed.  
I support the InvestinEd initiative campaign and will be voting yes to give a sustainable solution for funding our public schools.
No, if you don't believe me ask my constituents; the parents, teachers, students, and staff at the Discovery Creemos Academy in Goodyear. This charter school abruptly closed its doors leaving all scrambling in the middle of the school year and left the state of Arizona holding the bill. Anyone or anything that receives public dollars should be transparent and accountable. However, the legislature has taken no serious action in this regard. This infuriates me.
I support banning bump stocks. I don't agree that the minimum age should be 21, but rather 18. If an 18 year old can serve in our military, they should be allowed to purchase a weapon. Strengthening our criminal background check system and updating how our courts keep criminal records will eliminate many problems concerning gun violence, domestic abuse, and repeat offender situations. Approximately 30 percent of all background checks are unreliable, especially in rural counties due to outdated criminal record keeping systems. If the legislature would invest in updating these important systems, all Arizonans would be safer.  
Funding for more school counselors and smaller class sizes would be a great beginning. Issues in our mental health care system and unreliable background checks only act as deterrence in addressing this issue.
Keeping cannabis illegal is a drain on our law enforcement resources, and it will continue to grow due to the legal industry in neighboring states. I feel our financial resources would be better put to use fighting the opioid epidemic that is ravaging our state. We should embrace the new source of revenue and put those funds in education, law enforcement, and rehabilitation programs.
Abortion has been highly regulated for decades and the necessary framework for the medical profession to provide safe services has long been in place. The abortion legislation that I’ve seen in the past 6 years at the legislature has been based on ideology. Legislation should serve to fix problems and forcing medical professionals to provide inaccurate information creates problems. No woman should be harassed or shamed for making a making a personal medical decision.
I am honored to be participating in the Draught Contingency Program Steering Committee and I will be working with stakeholders and experts in the field on legislation to be presented next session. It is imperative that we work with the other basin states to face the water crisis on the Colorado River. There is more that needs to be done including water conservation, desalinization, best land management practices for our water sheds and forests, and groundwater management.
Yes, I am a strong supporter and advocate for the LGBTQ community. They are also an important driver of this state’s economic engine. They should be treated with dignity and the law should protect them from public harassment.
No. Never. Our nation is based on freedom of religion and discrimination on the basis of religion is unacceptable.
The divide between the wealthy and the poor has become too wide in this country. The key to future success is a well educated workforce that is made up of a diverse group of workers. This includes joint technical education, embracing mentorships in trades, and making college an affordable option for all Arizonans. There are other factors that need to be addressed besides education that keep low income families in the cycle of poverty. One example is the payday loan industry which i have fought against many times during my tenure at the legislature. Payday loans target low income and military families with an APR of over 300%, penalizing those in difficult financial situations. There is also a need for financial education and more options for affordable lending.
I will be voting no on Prop 305 because it will take $150,000,000 from public schools.
Any action that Arizona takes must not impede on the important trade and business affairs between our border communities, our state, and the two countries. The Tohono O’odham Nation, which straddles the US/Mexico Border is a part of my district. Any any action taken by Arizona must include the perspective and cooperation of this tribal nation. Lastly, this is a federal issue and should be dealt with as such.
In my experience, I have never had a problem with sexual harassment at the legislature, but that doesn’t mean it does not exist. I think it is important that the leaders on both sides of the aisle realize the importance of a strong bi-partisan ethics committee and should be available to address any issues of unprofessional behavior in the workplace.
The Drought Contingency Plan. It is imperative that Arizona pass any necessary legislation next session to move the DCP forward. Arizona has had a solid reputation when dealing with water issues and it is extremely important that we work closely with the other basin states. I will continue to organize my Water Wise Arizona luncheons for legislators at the Capitol during session. These luncheons allow experts and stakeholders to give informative and educational presentations on water issues, both state and federal. 
Water. We must move forward on the DCP, work closely with Mexico on the possibility of a desalinization plant in the Sea of Cortez, implement best management practices for our forests and watersheds, and implement water conservation measures  to ensure our water supply.
Yes, the state should accept the $56 million. This is Arizona's share of the $5.2 billion increased investment from Congress and no matching funding are required from the state. This money could be used in early learning through rate increases and other quality strategies. I stand with early childhood advocates and their supporters. Leaving this money in an undesignated account when it is needed now is incomprehensible.
Family members who take in their relative’s children when the kids are removed from their parents’ home get a sliver of the money paid to foster parents, about $45 a month, compared to $650. What responsibility, if any, does the state have to these family members? Should they be paid the same as foster parents?

Yes, they should be paid the same. Kinship Care should be supported by the state equally, not only financially, but logistically. Research shows that children raised by family members have fewer behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders, fewer educational disruptions, are better adjusted and have a more stable and permanent family life.