Arizona Senate, District 11

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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    Ralph Atchue
    (Dem)

  • Venden 'Vince' Leach
    (Rep)

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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 70
Family Married with 3 adult children
Campaign Phone (520) 251-8247
My 33-year U.S. Postal career was spent dealing with both labor and business issues. I negotiated contracts on behalf of employees for 12 years and the Postal management for 21 years. As a Postmaster I managed hundreds of employees and operations with multi-million-dollar annual budgets. My balanced experience and perspective are skills that are sorely needed in today's legislature. I am a pragmatic, open minded consensus builder. Today's issues must be met with leadership not ideological rigidity.
Of course I fully support raising the pay for AZ's public education teachers. I do not believe the budget passed in 2018 fulfills that commitment. The only reason the governor and legislature took any action was due to the political pressure brought on by the #RedForEd movement. The majority Republican Party has a history of failing to keep its word regarding public education funding beyond expedient sound bits.

This budget provides no assurances or revenue sources for future pay raises. Additionally, it does not fully address the underfunding for support staff pay or facility needs. It leaves the per pupil and classroom funding well below 2008 levels.
I propose: 1. Stop all tax cuts until 2008 funding levels are met. 2. Reduce ESA's to their original intent - meeting "special needs" 3. Stop all tax credits that send public funds to private schools 4. Audit every sales tax loophole and credit, closing those found to not provide a sufficient return-on-investment. 5. Require full transparent and accountable fiscal reporting for charter schools. Prevent any legislator or family member from profiting from charter or private schools.
The non-partisan Grand Canyon Institute and other pro-education organizations have recently documented many fiscal and ethical problems regarding Arizona's charter schools. Poor management and a commitment to profit over education have contributed to school closures and instability.

The mere perception of corrupt legislator complicity adds to problems with charters. When policy decisions are made by legislators who profit from those decisions, the tax payers are injured.

I propose full and transparent fiscal accountability for all charter school. I support shifting that responsibility to locally elected school boards. I also propose a ban on legislators or family members from profiting from charter schools or related enterprises.
I fully support raising the minimum age for gun ownership to 21. I fully support banning all bump stock type devices. I fully support universal background checks for every gun sale. Additionally, I support legislation that provides a means for family members or law enforcement to obtain a court order compelling surrender of weapons from an individual proven to be a danger to themselves or others.
As long as there are guns and people there will be little chance of totally preventing mass shootings. We can and should, however, do more than offer post massacre "thoughts and prayers".

The 2nd amendment, like every constitutional right, is inherently bound by a responsibility to protect the common good. The notion that unlimited firepower and access can't be restricted, runs contrary to that protection.

We need a process to keep guns away from those who pose a danger to themselves and others. This includes minors, convicted criminals, domestic abusers and terrorists. Today's gun sale loopholes invite disaster. Gun owners must be held responsible for securing their firearms under penalty of enforced law.

Idle talk regarding enhanced mental health must be replaced by real action. Comprehensive screening and treatment by mental health professionals must become a priority. Our courts must be empowered to restrict gun access to at risk individuals.
The majority Republican Party has tax cut Arizona into a huge fiscal hole. Ideologically motivated tax policy has resulted in underfunded public education from K - post secondary. To balance an ever-shrinking budget, the GOP has raided the pensions of first responders and pushed costs onto counties, cities and school districts. The state is leaking billions every year via tax loopholes and credits that go unaudited for fiscal responsibility.

It's time for a nonpartisan audit and much needed comprehensive tax policy overhaul of Arizona's entire revenue and spending priorities. We must stop the economy killing constant increases of sales tax rates. Middle class families and small businesses need an economy that works for them.
I will support legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona after the federal government decriminalizes it.

I will support legalized recreational marijuana if it is passed via a voter ballot initiative.
I fully support the legal right for women to choose. The key word is "choose" - no woman will be forced to have an abortion. I support birth control education as a means to reduce unwanted pregnancies - there is scientifically acquired data proving the efficacy of such programs.

Unveiled attempts and actual legislation aimed at embarrassing and intimidating women inevitably increase risk factors. I do not support any legislation that uses the religious beliefs of a few to undermine the safety and legal rights of Americans.
Arizona cannot put its head in the sand and ignore an impending water crises. Republican "climate deniers" must not be allowed to mortgage our state's future for short term developer profit.

I propose an open, transparent and scientifically base comprehensive approach to our current and future water policy. We are bound to shared interests and responsibilities with partners from other states and Mexico. Before we rush to increase unmitigated residential and commercial expansion, we must carefully gather nonpartisan input.

The current GOP governor and majority are pushing for regulatory changes behind closed doors with virtually no public input. I propose opening those doors to scientists, environmental and citizen groups, agriculture and business interest organizations, Native American communities and the bright light of transparency.

Water must be managed as a public interest and not as a private commodity for profit and exploitation
I do not support discrimination. I support full legal and social protection for every American. If, for religious reasons, we allow LGBTQ Americans to be denied any rights, we open the door for every form of discrimination. Will we, for example, allow conscience objectors to refuse to sell cakes to military personnel?

Businesses operating in the public domain implicitly agree to following laws enacted to protect the public from all forms of discrimination.
I do not support discrimination. I support full legal and social protection for every American. If, for religious reasons, we allow LGBTQ Americans to be denied any rights, we open the door for every form of discrimination. Will we, for example, allow conscience objectors to refuse to sell cakes to military personnel?

Businesses operating in the public domain implicitly agree to following laws enacted to protect the public from all forms of discrimination.
Encouraging an economy that benefits working families, local businesses and corporate interests is a function of state government. Through tax policies, regulations and investment the state plays a huge role in the economy. Today finds Arizona lagging behind the other western states in small business growth, wage increases and overall economic prosperity. The fault lies directly the GOP majority.

I propose a comprehensive and nonpartisan audit of AZ's total tax policy. I firmly believe we've tax cut ourselves into economic stagnation and revenue shortage. Yearly ideologically motivated corporate income tax cuts and an out of control escalation of tax loopholes and credits have combined to burden middle class families and small businesses.

Arizona has a huge potential for economic success. We need new leadership from the governor's office and the legislature. Keeping the "same old" decision makers will get us the "same old" results!
I am opposed to any public tax payer money going to private schools. ESAs, except for their original intent - special needs children, betrays the public's right to transparent and accountable use of tax dollars. Additionally, ESAs are merely a veiled attempt to provide tax cuts to the more affluent families while undermining public education.

The 1st Amendment prohibits government from promoting any religion. Many private schools that benefit from ESAs are religious. Therefore, this is an unconstitutional use of public funds.
See my response to the previous question about ESAs. I support the Save Or Schools effort as addressed in Proposition 305. I will vote no on ESA expansion.
Border security is a federal responsibility. As a state with an expansive border, however, Arizona law enforcement does have a limited and supportive role. Security of property and public safety should always be the focus of state and local law enforcement. When necessary, state agencies must be prepared to support and coordinate with federal actions.
If any member of the state legislature or staff feels unsafe from sexual harassment, then not enough has been done.

Every elected representative and staff member is entitled to a work place that is safe and secure. Everyone has got to feel unthreatened and able to report instances of suspected abuse without fear of recrimination. A means of fair and unbiased investigation of allegations must exist. Remedies that prevent recurrence must be enacted and enforced.

I propose an anonymous survey/questionnaire be completed by every member and staff personnel. Let's find out if anyone feels that not enough has been done and what more needs doing.
Ethics in government: Today's Arizona state government is controlled by a majority party that is operating at the behest of dark/dirty money lobbyists rather that in the best interest of its citizens. There is a blurred line between illegal and unethical.

The GOP has failed in its fiscal responsibility to conduct audits on private prisons, sales tax loopholes, tax credits, school vouchers, charter schools, corporate income tax filings and other revenue leaks.

LD11 Rep Leach championed abusive legislative over-reach, bullying cities and voters alike. When Tempe voters passed a measure by 90%, Leach stepped in, and shut them up! He protected the influence of unmitigated dirty money in elections rather than the will of the voters! This past session proved the GOP cared more about NRA ratings than protecting AZ's families.
With so many pressing issues facing Arizona's immediate and future success, it is difficult to pick just one. In truth, I believe each and every one of these tough problems are workable and solvable. What Arizona lacks today is leadership that recognizes the potential trouble and focuses on solutions.

Arizona has been a one-party state for too long. Regardless of party, that kind of domination leads politicians to feel entitled instead of accountable. They get elected and then forget about the voters. They open their minds to keeping power rather than service. Today, more than ever, Arizona needs to hear from everyone across the state.

Arizona needs legislators who are committed to actually solving problems. Finding pragmatic and consensus approaches to widespread success is the only way to ensure a prosperous future. Working on today's tough but solvable issues in an open, bipartisan and ethical process is how I intend to represent all of Arizona.
I absolutely believe that healthy children are more likely to be successful than those that are undernourished and ill. To the extent that low income children can receive quality medical care, society will benefit in terms of reduced long term costs as well as gaining productive adults. I find it absurd that Arizona's short sighted ideologically bound legislators and governor would fail to recognize these facts. I fully support our state’s acceptance of federal funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Families who accept foster children into their homes are providing a vitally important service. Children who, even on a temporary basis, can be in a caring environment are much more likely to succeed. Regardless of who is providing that caring environment in their homes, foster parents should be provided the resources needed in that effort. I fully support full payment to foster parents regardless of their relationship to the children they bring into their homes.
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