Arizona Senate, District 18

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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  • Candidate picture

    Sean Bowie
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Frank Schmuck
    (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 34
Twitter @seanbowie
As the incumbent state senator for District 18, I've worked hard over the last two years to restore education funding and govern in a bipartisan way. I voted for the governor's teacher pay-raise plan earlier this year because I viewed it as the first step in a long term process to support our schools and our teachers. I've worked across the aisle on countless issues before the senate, and was named the most bipartisan member of the senate in 2017. I am constantly talking to my constituents throughout our community, including visiting with local business owners, touring all 45 public schools in the district, and knocking on doors every weekend. We've also received endorsements from groups across the political spectrum, including the Fire Fighters, Police Officers, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, education groups, and local business owners. I believe I'm the best person for the job because I best reflect the bipartisan, moderate voice that our community is looking for in the Senate.
I worked across the aisle and voted yes on the governor's teacher pay-raise plan in the Senate earlier this year because I viewed it as step one of a long term process to better support our schools and our teachers. The plan wasn't perfect, but a ten percent pay raise for our educators this fall is a good first step. We need to make sure we keep our commitment to our schools and our educators in future years so the next ten percent raise is funded and paid for in future budgets.
Well, the first step is to make sure we keep our commitment for the full twenty percent by 2020 that the governor proposed, and make sure it's included in our state budget next year and in 2020. Our budget this year also restored about $100 million of additional assistance, which is used for equipment, supplies, and textbooks. We can also better prioritize our existing state budget and re-allocate resources that are going to other areas to ensure that K-12 education is the top priority. Long term, the governor and both sides at the legislature need to come together and work on a bipartisan plan to restore additional support to our schools.
Most charter schools, in my district and throughout Arizona, do a great job of educating our children and providing choice for families. There are always going to be outliers, and it's for that reason that I'd like to see a little more oversight and accountability to make sure that our state taxpayer dollars are being used fairly. Charter schools are public schools, so naturally they should be held to most of the standards that district schools are. My main concern would be discriminating against students with special needs, and making the application process so rigorous that it discourages families of special needs children from applying. Since charter schools receive public taxpayer dollars, we need to ensure that schools are not actively discriminating against students.
I'm a strong supporter of the second amendment, and responsible gun owners. Bump stocks are being banned at the federal level by the Attorney General. I agree with the vast majority of gun owners who would favor closing the gun show loophole, in an effort to make sure that firearms do not fall into the hands of people with criminal records or a history of mental illness.
There is more we can do around school safety, such as increasing training for educators so they know what to do in the event of a mass shooting. I also support more funding for school resource officers in our high schools and middle schools, many of whom develop good relationships with their school communities and can spot warning signs before it's too late. The school districts in my district have done a good job of increasing fencing and hiring security, but there is always more we can do to keep our schools safe.
I've supported targeted tax cuts during my time in the Senate, and every time a proposal comes forward to cut taxes, I want to see what kind of economic impact it would have. I supported bills last year for angel investment tax credits and manufacturing tax credits, both of which will help my district. I examine these proposals on a case-by-case basis, and want to make sure that they will result in a net benefit for the state. We still have programs and services we have to fund, like education, health care, and public safety. The key is to balance those needs with the kind of targeted tax incentives that can bring more business to Arizona.
I do not support legalizing recreational marijuana. It's still against the law federally, so any kind of state approval could be met with federal push back. I'm also concerned about the impact of marijuana use on teenagers and their brain development, as we don't have enough research to determine how potentially harmful it could be. Arizona has a medical marijuana law in place, and I believe that's as far as we should go on the issue.
A woman's right to choose is still a protected right at the federal level, and until the Supreme Court decides otherwise, that's the law of the land. When the legislature passes a bill that interferes with this, it's met with lawsuits and millions of dollars in legal fees that taxpayers have to pay for. Until something changes at the federal level, this is the current reality.
This is a huge issue, and it's something the governor needs to work with the legislature on. Bills were introduced this year that had little to zero input from the legislature, and they failed due to a lack of support. We need to get serious about long term water planning, given the receding water lines in Lake Mead. Working with stakeholders from around in the state, in a bipartisan way, we can solve this problem and ensure decades of sustainable water use.
Arizona is one of 27 states in the U.S. that does not have non-discrimination laws in place to protect the LGBT community. This is true for the work place, housing, and public accommodations. For example, a same sex couple could get married on a Saturday, and then fired from their job and kicked out of their apartment on Monday. We need stronger non-discrimination laws in place to protect our LGBT community.
No. I respect people's religious beliefs, and am a very religious person myself. We have protections in place to ensure that people are not discriminated against because of who they are. It's why a business owner can't deny someone service because of their gender, age, or race. If a business owner wants to deny service to a potential customer because of some other reason, that's different. But I would be opposed to an effort to protect discrimination against people because of a personally held religious conviction.
Our state economy has done well in recent years, and our budget earlier this year reflected that reality, where we had more revenue coming in than was forecasted. That allowed us to fund the twenty percent by 2020 plan. Assuming there are no major shakeups in the national or world economy, we should be on a good track these next couple of years. I am always open to ideas to grow our economy, whether that's tax incentives, investment in workforce development, or supporting our higher education system.
The original ESA program, which primarily benefits students with special needs and other specific populations, is one that I support. What I absolutely do not support is the ESA expansion that passed last year, SB 1431, and is on the ballot this fall as Proposition 305. This massive expansion would hurt our public schools by taking resources away from them and giving them to private schools with zero accountability over how those taxpayer dollars are spent. I support the existing ESA program that helps students with special needs, but I do not support expanding the program to cover all 1.1 million Arizona school children.
This is a bill that we voted on in the Senate last year, originally known as SB 1431. I haven't changed my mind since then - if Proposition 305 passes, it would have a harmful impact on our local district and charter schools. I support additional investment for our public schools and insist on oversight and accountability over how taxpayer dollars are used and spent.
Arizona has an important role in working with the federal government to make sure that our border is secure. Working with our congressional delegation, we can ensure that the border patrol has the resources and equipment they need to keep us safe. It's something I've worked on as a member of the Senate Commerce and Public Safety committee. While border crossings are down compared to a decade ago, we still have to remain vigilant to ensure that our border is secure and that our border patrol and county sheriffs have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively.
We always have to remain vigilant about this. While there have been steps in the right direction, we must do more to make sure that everyone who works at the capitol is treated with dignity and respect. That includes a process that individuals can go through if they have encountered sexual harassment or abuse that is independent of the legislative leadership. People need to know that they can talk to someone without fear of retaliation. While I strive to treat everyone I work with with respect, we still have a long way to go as a legislature to ensure that legislators, staffers, lobbyists, and others who work at the capitol trust the system we have in place to protect them.
I really would like the legislature in future years to do more to support investment in our higher education system. Our community colleges in Maricopa County don't receive any state aid, and our universities have seen more cuts than any state in the country since 2008. There are opportunities for us to make smart, targeted investments in our higher education system through our community colleges and workforce development programs to help grow our economy long-term.
I would like to see more bipartisanship at the state capitol. With the vast majority of my colleagues in safe districts, I'm worried that our state politics will become just as polarized as our government is at the national level, and I view that as a potential long term threat for our state. Government works best when both sides have a seat at the table, and bipartisan ideas come forward. I've worked hard to govern in a bipartisan way these last two years, and I'd like to see us do more of that in the years to come.
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Age 52
Family Connie, Nicole and Teagan
Twitter @TeamSchmuck
Campaign Phone (602) 730-6348
I am a graduate of the Air Force Academy, an Air Force veteran, and an airline Captain for Southwest Airlines. I’m a blended family parent. Connie and I have two daughters in the public school system. One headed to college here in Arizona and the other starting high school. I am also bilingual and the son of an immigrant who watched his mother become an American citizen. I have an extensive record of charitable and civic involvement in our community. I have deep roots in our legislative district. What this all means is that I have both life experience and a real world understanding of the issues facing our district and our state. Unlike my opponent, I haven’t spent a significant portion of my career in politics. I have spent it serving our country and helping others because I care. I believe this makes me uniquely qualified to serve as the next State Senator in Legislative District 18.
Yes. Anytime we can increase teacher pay and put more money into the classroom, it is a good thing.
It is important that our schools are properly funded and I will support policies to ensure that happens. At the same time, we must look into all areas of education to ensure that each and every education dollar is spent effectively and efficiently.
Accountability and transparency are important issues for all schools in Arizona. Protections should be put in place to protect taxpayers and ensure greater transparency.
I would support common sense gun laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
Safety is an important part of my profession. After 9-11 we made changes in the airline industry that have now thwarted any further attacks on the traveling public. After all these years in the airline industry I know about safety -- that’s why I’m pushing for more safety in our schools. I would like to bring some of the effective measures we employed in the airline industry to the school system. We NEED to not only have discussion about all options, but to take action. Words are not enough when it comes to protecting our most precious resources – teachers and our students. I support looking at all possible ways to protect lives. I seriously support changing our laws to save the innocent.
I will always support tax reform proposals that increase economic growth, job creation and prosperity.
While I personally do not believe that marijuana should be legalized, I do support the right of Arizonans to put initiatives on the ballot. If the voters of Arizona choose to legalize recreational marijuana, I would respect their decision.
I support restrictions on abortion providers and clinics that increase the safety of patients and hopefully reduce the number of abortions performed in Arizona.
Unlike California, Arizona has been a leader in implementing sound water policy that will prepare the state for the future. We can and should do more to support infrastructure that captures water and stores it for our use.
Yes.
I support religious liberty and freedom. However, given the recent Supreme Court ruling, I don’t believe there is a need for an additional law.
One of the best things the legislature can do is to create an environment that encourages economic growth and prosperity
The voters of Arizona will have the opportunity in November to decide if expansion of the ESA program is something they want. I think it would be premature to consider any sort of expansion until the voters have spoken.
I support repealing the Legislature’s 2017 expansion of the voucher program.
Arizona can and should assist the federal government in securing our border with Mexico. I support the Governor’s Border Strike Force and I also support putting the National Guard on the border when the federal government deems it necessary.
There needs to be a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment at the Legislature.
My job as a State Senator will be to represent and advocate for the views of my constituents. If there is an issue that is important to constituents that is not getting enough attention at the Capitol, I will make addressing that issue a top priority.
Arizona is thriving because people believe it is a great place to live, work and raise a family. The greatest threat to Arizona’s future would be the implementation of policies that change that belief. I will address that threat by strongly opposing any policy that is damaging to our economy, our quality of life, or our state.
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