Arizona Senate, District 15

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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  • Heather Carter
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko
    (Dem)

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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?

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Age 43
Family My husband, Jason, and I are blessed with three amazing children; Mia (13), Wyatt (11), and Mathieu (8). We are also fortunate enough to share our home with our Great Dane, Millie.
Twitter @ElectKristinDP
Campaign Phone (480) 630-8931
I have worked in higher education my entire adult life and have taught at ASU for nearly 20 years. In that time, I have seen the consequences of increased class sizes in our K-12 schools. As the years progress, I am faced with students who do not have the writing skills that they should have upon graduating high school. These are smart, driven students whose schools have failed them. At ASU, I teach classes in research methods and statistics and run an internship program. Teaching research methods gives me a unique perspective on problem solving. I am always looking for the data and research to back up my decisions. Too often, our legislature has used bad data govern the decisions they make. As an internship director, I know what skills are in demand in the workforce and what challenges our graduates face as they enter the ‘real world’. I am prepared to advocate for our young people so they may have the same opportunities afforded to prior generations.
For too long we have taken our teachers for granted and have taken money from education to prop up other areas of our economy. As a consequence, we continue to lose good teachers to other states. Arizona teachers deserve much more of a raise than they were given (it certainly wasn’t 20% as the governor likes to claim). During the Red for Ed protests teachers asked for a number of amendments to the budget. Not a single Republican voted for any of them. You cannot claim to be pro-education while denying additional funds that our classrooms desperately need. Classrooms are overcrowded and without necessary supplies. If an English teacher has 32 students in their class, it is next to impossible to teach students how to write. More funding in our classrooms means less students in each class, the number one predictor of student success. Arizona continues to have some of the lowest administrative costs in education meaning that extra dollars can be infused directly into our classrooms.
We need to do everything in our power to increase funding into our classrooms. The long-term consequences for our students, and our state, are too dire if we do not. Educational attainment is the number one way that individuals can move upwards out of the economic class into which they were born. We can improve education outcomes by first, voting for the Invest in Ed initiative put forth by voters, second, closing sales tax loopholes, and finally, asking corporations to pay their fair share. Corporate tax cuts will not bring business to this state if our schools continue to be ranked among the worst in the country year after year. These measures will ensure that Arizona can recruit and retain the best workers. If we fully fund public education we will have an educated workforce and will have an easier time attracting large corporations to our state.
Charter schools started out as a way to promote and encourage educational innovation. In theory, charter schools allow for administrators and teachers to work together to create systems and curriculum to meet students’ needs in non-traditional ways. In practice, some charter schools have taken this as license to ignore an individual student’s needs, particularly students with IEPs or 504 plans. Charter schools should be held to the same standards and levels of accountability as the rest of our public schools. We need transparency in the enrolment process to ensure that schools are not engaging in discriminatory enrolment practices. Additionally, we need to ensure that the Prop 301 monies that have been allocated to Charter schools are indeed spent in the way they were intended. Recent reports show that many charter schools are not spending this money in the ways outlined by the legislature.
I would support stricter gun laws that do not take guns from law abiding citizens. We should discuss moving the age to buy guns to 21 (with exceptions for service members and police officers). I am floored that the bill to ban bump stocks hasn’t passed as there is zero reason to allow for bump stocks to continue. Along with banning bump stocks, we should do away with high capacity magazines. In previous mass shootings, fatality rates have been lower when the shooters have had lower magazine capacities. Additionally, we need to digitize the ATF background check system and move towards 100% compliance with data entry in that system. Universal background checks will be more effective with a complete database. We need to close the loopholes that allow individuals to buy weapons at gun shows and via private sales without a background check. Currently it is easier to buy a AR15 than it is to buy Sudafed. None of these provisions would restrict law abiding citizens from purchasing firearms.
A two pronged approach that addresses both school culture and gun violence is necessary to prevent gun violence in schools. We need to work on creating school cultures where students can have their needs met and can feel comfortable reporting classmates for risky behavior. Arizona needs to put more counsellors in schools as the recommended ratio is 250 to 1 and we currently have a 941 to 1 ratio which is completely unacceptable. Second, we need to move towards a system that allows for universal background checks for all gun sales, including private sales. The steps that I outline above with regards to gun laws would help here as well.
For the most part, no. For too long we have lived in a world where tax has been seen as a panacea for economic growth. While this worked in the recession, it is not working that way anymore and has allowed for a concentration of wealth. Voters in Arizona have actually voted to increase taxes (sales tax) because we as citizens know that more money means better services for our students, families, and communities. I do believe that we can offer tax relief for small businesses and sole proprietors in order to assist these businesses to grow and help fuel our economy.
Yes. We should work on legalizing recreational marijuana in Arizona so that we can tax and regulate the industry. Additionally, we should release individuals are who currently incarcerated for marijuana violations. These actions will free up additional funding for education.
Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. Abortion should be a decision made by a woman in conjunction with her medical team and the state should not interfere.
We need to partner with California and Nevada to work on water conservation efforts. If we work in conjunction with our neighbors, we can create incentives for conservation. We should be incentivizing people for water conservation. Individuals who use low water landscape, consume less than neighbors, or reduce their own consumption can receive small fiscal rewards from the state. We should also be looking for ways to augment our water supply. These can include the use of grey water in landscaping and desalinization of brackish water. Finally, we need to work to address the root cause of water shortage, global climate change. If we can work together to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we can stave off global climate change.
Yes. We already have protections for other immutable characteristics. Someone’s sexuality and gender orientation should be treated in the same manner. I firmly support equality for all. LGBTQ individuals deserve the same rights and protections afforded under the law as everyone else. I cannot believe that it took a Supreme Court decision to grant marriage protections for all. Those protections should be codified in state law and I will fight to have employment and housing protections added as well. Arizona is a fiercely independent state and I believe that most Arizonans do not want to interfere in the personal lives of others.
No. Discrimination is not an American value. If you cannot serve all Americans, you should not be in business.
We can move towards a more sustainable economy that benefits all citizens by improving our educational system. We should be offering free community college to all citizens. Costing each individual taxpayer less than $4 a year, this would help to grow our economy by ensuring that we have a well-educated workforce to take us into the future. Tennessee, a traditionally red state, has moved in this direction to help their economy grow. Our current system of economic growth privileges the already well off. We need to figure out how to best address income disparities and increasing education opportunities is the best way to do this. A rising tide lifts all boats.
No and I encourage all voters to vote no on prop 305. We cannot sustain a system that allows for the systematic removal of public funds and awards them to private schools.
I urge every voter to vote no on prop 305. Taking money from our publics schools and funneling it into private schools is a recipe for disaster. Every Arizonan benefits from a well-educated public. We should all be working towards that goal.
Immigration is a federal issue. Studies show that when states and localities offer their assistance to the federal government, undocumented individuals within those areas do not feel safe reporting to law enforcement. As a consequence, rates of domestic abuse and violence skyrocket. If we want undocumented individuals to report on criminals within their community, as I believe we do, the state should not be assisting in deportation efforts.
I am deeply troubled that Don Shooter is running for the legislature again. It is unacceptable that someone who has been shown to disrespect women to such an extreme extent is allowed to make an attempt to return to public office. The culture of the legislature needs to change. Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace and does not belong in state government.
First, I think that we need to ensure that there is no voter disenfranchisement. We need to move to mail in ballots for all citizens and online petition signing for all ballot initiatives. Additionally, Arizona should move towards a model where any citizen can buy into a state backed Medicare program. Allowing citizens access to affordable healthcare will ultimately increase innovation and spur economic growth as individuals will no longer be tied to corporate jobs in order to get health insurance. We can move beyond the traditional model and allow small business owners the opportunity to innovate without leaving their families unprotected. Finally, I believe that Arizona needs to move away from private prisons and detention centers. Having a profit motive in incarceration leads to dangerous policies as we have recently seen. If we were to remove profit motives in incarceration, our criminal justice system would be able to more adequately focus on rehabilitation.
Education is a major issue in Arizona. Along with that, I believe the greatest threat facing Arizona, and our world, is global climate change. Anthropogenic warming will impact many areas of life for Arizonans. In addition to increased temperature, the pull from our electrical grid will be unsustainable. We will struggle with our natural resources, including our most valuable natural resource, water. Without ready access to water, life in the desert will be untenable. In LD15, we are all reliant on our air conditioner units. Rolling brown outs, where the strain on our power grid is too great and we experience mandated power outages, will be devastating for most of us living in central and southern Arizona, particularly the elderly. If our country will not be a partner in the Paris agreement, we should participate as a state. We need to move to more renewable sources of energy and decrease our reliance on fossil fuels.
The state should have accepted the $56 million dollars. That was money that we were allocated and it should have been used to help pay for early childhood education/child care. Child care is expensive and it is an impossible expense for the working poor. If we want to best prepare Arizona’s children for school, early childhood education is one important element in that equation. It is difficult for students who have not had a pre-K education to transition into a kindergarten classroom. Additionally, providing support to working poor parents means less children will end up in foster care. Young children are most often placed in foster care for neglect and much of that comes from parents being unable to afford quality child care. I am deeply disappointed that our current representatives left this money, allocated for Arizona’s most vulnerable children, on the table.
The state should pay kinship placements the same amount as other foster parents if those kinship placements are willing to undergo the same training (even after placement) as traditional foster parents. Kinship placements are often in the best interest of the child and if financial resources create a hardship for the families, the state should work in the best interest of the child and compensate the family at the same rate. That said, traditional foster parents receive mandatory training and support through the state and families should receive that same training to ensure success of the placement.