Arizona House, District 18 {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Sixty lawmakers, two from each legislative district, comprise the House of Representatives. The chamber has been under GOP control since the mid-1960s. The partisan divide is currently 35 Republicans and 25 Democrats. The job pays $24,000 a year, plus mileage and per-diem during session.

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    Denise 'Mitzi' Epstein
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Jennifer Jermaine
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Jill Norgaard
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Greg Patterson
    (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 57
Family Rick – Husband Sam & Kat – Son and Daughter-in-Law Danny – Son
Education B.S. Computer Science, Bradley University
Work history State Representative, House of Representatives Owner, Custom Language Training, LLC Systems Analyst, Treasury Department, Citicorp Mortgage, Inc. Analyst, Management Information Systems dept. , Olin Corporation
Twitter @MitziEpstein
Previous public office Kyrene School District Governing Board
Campaign Phone (602) 317-7527
When our community speaks up, I listen and take action. I have a track record of transparency, working to earn the trust of my neighbors in this district as State Representative, Kyrene school board member, soccer coach, Arts Council, PTO/PTA leader and cub scout leader. My prior resume and my work as State Representative show that I get results. In my work as a systems analyst I have developed efficiencies and cut costs for major corporations. I have brought those professional business skills to the legislature. #1 –Education: I have been a consistent voice to fully fund public education. We don’t need sky-high funding, but we must restore the cuts that have not been restored since 2008. #2 – Jobs: I fought for local businesses and local control repeatedly in the State House. #3 – Community: When parents in our community asked me to help them reduce youth suicide, I convened a stakeholder group and after months of work our solutions are coming to fruition.
I fully support a pay-raise for teachers, and for every educator including counselors, music teachers, and support staff. But not the governor’s budget. I voted, “No,” to Gov. Ducey’s castle built on sand. His description made it sound like a dream but the cold fact is that it only increased the dollars per-pupil by 5.7%. His future projections have been deemed unsustainable by analysts from the left and the right. I have heard from school board members that they managed an increase over 5% only because they are dipping into reserve funding. A state budget that pushes school boards to ransack their own rainy-day funding is not fiscally responsible. Teachers in Arizona are undervalued and not paid competitively with other states, and we are losing them in droves because of it. Arizona schools are outdated and in disrepair. We need to raise funding to sustainable, sensible levels until Arizona offers the strong education our children deserve.
The state legislature should increase funding for public schools. Close tax programs that do not benefit our state. I use a 10-point checklist for tax programs that come to the Ways and Means committee to evaluate if it is good for the economy, or just an unfair carve-out. The return on this investment in education is a better quality of life for every Arizonan.
Since charter schools operate using taxpayer money the state must do more to ensure they are operated efficiently, treat kids fairly, and offer a strong education to their students. From recent news headlines of charter school owners filing for bankruptcy and closing their doors with no warning to students or teachers, we need better accountability and transparency, and we need it now! I believe there are plenty of charter schools that are operating in a fiscally prudent way that will find new accountability laws to be responsible and beneficial to the whole system. We need legislators who are willing to collaborate and push forward ideas so that we can develop practical solutions. Let’s stop ignoring the problems and work in a bipartisan way to fix them!
Yes, these are common sense solutions that will begin to address gun violence. There are many details that need to be considered and the processes must be developed in ways that provide due process for every person. Decisions must be based on evidence. We must include a big tent – all voices -- as we work to improve safety in our schools and our communities.
#1 – Prevention. We need more school counselors. I proposed an amendment for that purpose. School counselors, social workers, and psychologists with appropriate professional training can help to teach students coping skills so that more people know what to do instead of turning to violence. Being assertive without being a bully comes from a set of social skills. “Mental toughness” in professional sports is a skill that can be taught. We need to teach these social skills in classrooms. #2 – Intervention. To keep firearms out of the hands of people with dangerous histories, we must have background checks on every gun sale. We all want domestic violence abusers to be stopped from killing a family member. Many of the most horrific mass shootings have involved a person under 21 using a weapon that fires rapidly. I would like to engage vigorous discussion and research on further measures such as raising the minimum age to purchase firearms. #3 – Listen to local communities.
Arizona has been cutting taxes for decades and we have seen the results in our failing schools and crumbling infrastructure. I would only support additional tax cuts with a detailed plan on making up the lost revenue elsewhere so we do not keep failing our obligations. With my professional experience in business, and in consultation with economists, I use a checklist of at least 10 points to evaluate whether a tax program is a benefit for everybody by helping the economy , or just an unfair carve-out.
This decision is best left up to the voters. If marijuana is ever legalized, we need ensure it is strongly regulated and monitored so it is kept out of the hands of children and Arizonans are safe in their community, at work, and on our roadways.
No, these restrictive laws and overburdensome regulations threaten the health and lives of women across Arizona. Decisions about reproductive health should be made by a woman, who may choose to consult her family or faith. It’s not her boss’ business! Government does not belong in the room making medical decisions, nor should government dictate whether or where women can buy birth control pills.
The current guidelines in existing agreements are not enough to address the risks of decreasing water supply. We need to implement a Drought Contingency Plan that will reduce the risks of falling below critical elevations in Lake Mead.

Arizona has a successful tradition of developing water solutions in a non-partisan way, including many voices at the negotiation table. However, in 2017, the governor convened a small group to make decisions. That group excluded legislators and officials elected to some water boards. The result was not good. Fortunately, this year a new round of talks will be far more inclusive and public. Arizonans recognize that we live in a desert, and we are interested in water conservation incentives to better use our current water supply. Since 2014, Lake Mead conservation efforts have saved enough water for over 2 million households. We must protect Lake Mead, and keep the process inclusive of all perspectives.
Yes. Legal protection for LGBT+ individuals are long overdue.
No. These laws are specifically targeted at LGBT+ individuals and discrimination of any kind is morally wrong. Such a law does not reflect the values of Arizonans and would harm members of our community.
The Legislature needs to increase funding for public schools, make higher education more affordable and accessible, and invest in workforce development programs. We can help each individual succeed by providing a quality education and training programs that prepare them for skilled jobs with a living wage.

With high quality public education, every person has the opportunity not only to be prepared to get a job, but to make a job. Increasingly, our economy depends on small businesses and entrepreneurs, some who make the next big thing, and many who simply keep our local economies thriving. That is why I continue to advocate for support for local businesses.
No, I do not favor expanding ESA-vouchers. I will protect ESAs for special needs students, but we need to improve transparency for taxpayers and parents who use them. Expanding ESA-vouchers is wrong because that would drain even more money away from our public schools, where the vast majority of families choose to attend school. ESA-vouchers are not enough for a full private school education, especially if tuitions keep rising in private schools. Most Arizonans can’t afford private schools even with an ESA-voucher, and expanding them will only harm the quality of education most of Arizona’s kids receive. Instead, we need to invest in our public school system, with accountability measures to continuously improve them, and transparency for parents and the public to keep a watchful eye on how tax dollars are spent. We have great school choices in Arizona, where children may attend any public school - charter or district - regardless of where they live.
No, I do not favor expanding Prop 305 ESA-vouchers. I voted, “no,” on SB1431 and I urge voting “no” on Prop 305. I will protect ESAs for special needs students, but we need to improve transparency for parents and taxpayers. See my answer in the previous question.
Arizona needs to protect its residents and enforce its laws. A program that uses drug-sniffing dogs as part of Arizona border protection is proving to help stop drug trafficking at the border. Another program that fosters collaboration between US Customs officials and Mexican Customs Officials is saving time and money, and helping to move safe commerce more rapidly at the border.

Children who are refugees should not be locked up like criminals. I oppose the Trump administration’s cruel policies that separated children from their parents. I have joined with other legislators in calling upon the AZ Department of Child Safety to conduct welfare checks on the children in these facilities. With a bipartisan group of legislators I toured one of the facilities for migrant children in Arizona. We, Americans, are the great defenders of human rights. In Arizona, let’s defend the human rights of children in our state.
When sexual harassment is allowed in places of business, it costs a lot of money in terms of low morale, low productivity, and lawsuits. In the legislature, those costs and worse are incurred if harassment is not checked. The legislature must be a place where all ideas are heard and considered and nobody is oppressed. The most important steps that must be done next are to assure that all legislators and people who work with them on a regular basis are trained to know and follow the policies. Legislators should be held to a high standard of ethics.
Suicide in Arizona has reached alarming rates. The media does not report on each instance of suicide because it can cause a contagion – more suicides. However, Arizona has one suicide every 7 hours. There are about 4 times as many suicides as homicides in Arizona; our state is ranked 12th for highest suicide rate in the USA.

Parents in our community asked me to help them to reduce youth suicide because it is shaking our schools. I convened a stakeholder group that continues to grow to develop sets of solutions.

We have had success with a key solution: a full-time Suicide Prevention Coordinator will be added to AHCCCS, Arizona’s mental health agency. Further, the Chief Medical officer has offered to meet with our stakeholder group because she values outreach to make policies better.

Because of the work of our group, the Dept. of Education and AHCCCS are proceeding with a few more programs to reduce suicide in Arizona. Our work is headed in a good direction to save lives.
The greatest threat to Arizona’s future is our lack of investment in our children. Our funding for each student is far below most other states. Without offering our children a quality education, Arizona will not be able to grow and will not be able to compete with other states. We will continue to lose top talent to other states. To address this, we must increase funding for public schools to ensure our children are receiving the quality education they need to succeed.

Today’s children deserve what my kids had in school ten years ago, and our economy and quality of life are depending on today’s children.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
Age 39
Family Michael Jermaine, husband; Melanie Jermaine, daughter
Education BA in International Business from San Diego State University, Master's in Public Administration from Arizona State University
Work history 15 years in policy and advocacy in the Nonprofit Sector focusing on healthcare, eldercare, and public education
Twitter @JennJermaine
Previous public office None
Campaign Phone (480) 256-8178
#RedForEd was not solely focused on teacher pay. I believe the 2018 budget was a step in the right direction but we must restore all pre-recession funding to our public schools and adjust for inflation and population growth. Classrooms are over-crowded, desks and chairs are falling apart, textbooks are decades out-of-date, some schools don't have clean drinking water, and we have the worst student-to-counselor ratio in the country. We have neglected our public schools for too long. Our future economy depends on our investment in public education today.
Any new dedicated funding stream would need to come through a voter approved initiative like "Invest in Ed." It currently taxes a super majority to increase taxes, and that will not happen at the legislative level. At the legislative level, I will go line by line through our state budget and look for operational inefficiencies and giveaways to reduce and redirect to public education.
No, they should be held to the same accountability and transparency standards as traditional public schools.
Yes
We need to reduce class sizes and increase our corps of School Counselors to the national recommended ratio of 250:1. This will enable school personnel to get to know their students on an individual basis, spot warning signs, and safely intervene before a student escalates to violence.
Not at this time. We must stabilize our public education crisis and we cannot do that while shrinking the general fund.
It should be decriminalized. We spend a lot of taxpayer funds to house and care for non-violent inmates with minor drug convictions.
No. Limiting access to healthcare providers puts severe restrictions on a woman's access to healthcare. One of the current unintended, but very real, side-effects to Arizona's restrictions is the harm done women who have pregnancy complications and suffer miscarriages. Our laws put the mother's life in danger by reducing access to providers and restricting her access to medication.
We need to revisit our policies around reclaimed and recycled water. Technology has negated many of the old regulations.
Yes. Discrimination is discrimination. It should be banned in all forms.
No. Discrimination is discrimination. It should be banned in all forms.
Through long-term sustainable investment in public education. Our future economic growth depends on our investment in public education today.
No. ESAs pull funding directly from our public schools and the current program is riddled with fraud.
I do not support Proposition 305. The program was created to help children with disabilities, military families, and a few other classes of students. Prop 305 takes away the priority of these students. It also does nothing to address the current fraud in the ESA system.
None. Immigration and border security are federal issues.
No. The Legislators should be held to the same standards as regular employees.
I would like to see Legislative Committees reflect the true ratios of the entire body. For example, the Legislative Council that decides on the language for ballot measures has 10 Republicans and 4 Democrats. Republicans do not hold 71% of the legislative seats in Arizona and they should not have a super majority on any committee.
Our public school funding crisis. If we do not develop the workforce of the future, companies will stop coming to Arizona and existing companies will move out of Arizona. We will lose jobs and we will slip back into recession. Our future economy depends on our investment in public education today.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
Age 56
Family Married, 3 adult children
Education Masters in Business Administration, Bachelors of Science in Engineering Management.
Work history State Representative 2015-present, Owner MSA (Engr consulting), Vice President McKechnie Plastics, Project Engineer Honeywell
Twitter @jillnorgaard
Previous public office State Representative 2015-present
Campaign Phone (623) 236-2468
It has been a privilege and an honor to represent the constituents in our district. During the past four years, I have enjoyed visiting over 40 schools and businesses. My management experience, education, and diplomacy have greatly prepared me for the challenge of sponsoring productive legislation. My primary sponsored bills have focused on: protecting business from state regulatory overreach, reduction of red tape in school finance, tax reform, upgrade and enhance cities' bond ratings, the restoration of JTED funding and the teacher pay increase initiative. My bills received bipartisan support. My community outreach efforts have included initiating the first “Take Your Teacher to the Legislature Day”, hosting group tours at the Capitol, working with the senior caucus, volunteer teaching in our district schools and the launching of a pre-school pilot program to screen students with dyslexia, the first of its kind. I hope to earn the opportunity to continue my initiatives.
Yes. I was part of the Appropriations committee that structured and supported the Governors pay-raise increase. I was the only House member in our district to vote for the historic $1.5 billion investments in public education. I stood with the Governor, Superintendents from across the state, Save our Schools representatives, Parent/teachers organizations, and education advocacy groups where we promised the teacher raise and then subsequently delivered on that promise.

An opportunity for additional classroom funding and teacher salary could come from savings realized by the consolidation of school districts. Arizona has over 220 districts, compared to Nevada which has 17. According to the Auditor General (AG) report, $763 million is spent on administrative costs and approximately 60% of schools have Superintendents that manage 5 or fewer schools. I am always in favor of improving efficiency rather than raising taxes. Also, in the recent court case, Wayfair versus South Dakota, out of state business can collect taxes made to local residents. This will bring in anywhere from $190 to $293 million dollars a year. Details are forthcoming on the estimates and allocations. Lastly, medical marijuana is not taxed as other over the counter drugs - another opportunity for a revenue increase.
Yes, Charter schools are subject to independent, annual audits that must be submitted to the charter authorizer, typically the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools. These boards are subject to State Open Law requirements, in full view of the public. Charter schools also report all financial transactions in accordance with guidelines established by the Arizona Auditor General’s Office and Arizona Department of Education (ADE). In addition, HB2663 a new state law that I supported earlier this year, will bring a new level of financial transparency to districts and multi-site charter schools. This will enable parents and the public to see how individual schools are allocating all taxpayer dollars.
No
Each individual school district can access our local homeland security to conduct a threat assessment in their district. From that analysis, propose a budget that would get that district to a safe security assessment level. District schools don't all need or want school resource officers, some do not want to intrude upon the charm and character of the school district or to interfere with the learning environment. We have already begun working with districts to get assessments and costs completed. These efforts coupled with identifying and addressing mental illness are priorities of mine. That is why in the most recent budget I added a suicide prevention coordinator to review the current procedures in our schools, and to advise on best practice for early detection, and prevention mechanisms.
Recent implemented corporate tax cuts have resulted in an increase in the growth of our economy, which I support. Small business confidence is at a 20 year high, our general revenue growth this year is 7.5 %, higher than estimated, which equates to over $150 million dollars, over budget forecasts, this year. An opportunity for additional revenue is to tax medical marijuana the same as over the counter medicine.

No - Arizona should keep a watchful eye on Colorado and learn from its implementation and unintended consequences. Since legalization, teen use of marijuana has increased in Colorado by more than 70% of the national average. THC levels can be as high as 30 percent and the variability is dramatic. The increased potency exposes our citizens to increased health risks and higher traffic fatalities. The variability makes it more difficult to titrate the dose to the correct effect, which means that users are more likely to consume excessive doses, leading to adverse clinical effects. This has been seen already in Colorado emergency rooms. While some contend there will be increased revenues, there is not a clear correlation that benefit is outweighed by increased health care cost, social costs and lost time for employers.
I do not support abortions, but support the sanctity of life.
Arizona has a long and proud history of adopting sound water policy. But the twenty-year drought we are experiencing has forced us to step back and assess how much water we receive and how we manage it. We are facing a serious challenge with looming drought on the Colorado River and declining groundwater levels in many areas of the state. New solutions must be found now. There are four different water sources with different laws, rights and regulations that apply to use. They are: groundwater (underground, not flowing through streams); Colorado River water; other surface waters (rivers and streams) and recycled water (post wastewater treatment).Water experts in Arizona are preparing for Lake Mead dropping below elevation at 1,075 feet. This “new normal” may come as early as 2020 and could result in a reduction in Colorado River water to Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties. A drought contingency plan is being developed and I plan to be at the (water) table.

No one should be discriminated for any reason and this is currently addressed in Arizona Revised Statutes under: 41-1463. Discrimination; unlawful practices; definition
Yes, freedom of religion is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits laws establishing a national religion or impeding the free exercise of religion for its citizens.

Overall economic developments is healthy for citizens of all economic status'. Our focus on bringing new businesses to Arizona brings in jobs that stretch across all income levels.
Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, that provide state funding for private school education are modeled after: the GI bill system for our military service men and women, debit healthcare cards for veterans, and Medicare for our seniors. In these instances, public tax payer dollars are given to our military service men and women for education, veterans for hospital care choices, and our seniors for caregiver options – with the flexibility for public or private options. ESA's allow parents the flexibility to chose what educational program is best suited for their children. Currently, less than 0.5 percent of students in our district use ESA’s, and the majority of ESA dollars are used for special needs children. Why would we want to take away choices of parents for their children? Additional choices drive competition and provide options for our citizens.
Many legislators, including myself, voted for SB 1431 ( that became Prop 305). It expanded school choice for Arizona families and created another option for parents to consider, in addition to choices currently available. However, voting for SB 1431 does not necessarily equate to someone also being completely in support of the Prop 305. Here are a couple reasons why: Prop 305 includes a permanent cap of the ESA program after the 2021-2022 school year. If passed at the ballot, this permanent cap would become voter protected, unable to be changed unless voted on again at the ballot. A permanent, voter-protected cap on a growing school choice program is difficult to support for school choice proponents. Also, the initial phase in was estimated for 2017-18 school year and continue for 5 years, then a cap goes into effect. Delay of its implementation by two years now makes the appeal of Prop 305 less attractive to those that support the program. Bill draft is forthcoming for review.
Follow and enforce the rule of law. l have been a strong advocate for securing our border and voted for funding the Border Strike force, which helps to protect Arizonans from the drug smuggling, and human trafficking. In cooperation with our federal government counterparts, I will continue to work to provide Arizonans with the protection that comes with a secure border. This includes providing our police departments with the tools they need to do their job. My efforts have been validated by the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Arizona Police Association.
No, we did not complete the code of conduct, we still have work to do.
I would like to see a debt reduction plan. We do not own our buildings and owe $931 million to our schools. One idea is to adopt a tax and expenditure limit. This has been effective in constraining the growth of government spending. Then use that to limit the rate of growth of revenue and/or expenditures to the sum of inflation plus population growth. A portion of surplus can be placed in reserve fund to pay down debt or allocated to tax cuts/rebates to constrain government from spending.
Reduction of people's personal property rights. I will continue to protect constituents' freedoms and liberties which have made Arizona a wonderful place to live!
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
Age 55
Family Married, Three adult children, two grandchildren
Education Bachelors in Accounting from U of A JD from ASU Law School
Work history In the 1990s, I served two terms in the Arizona House of Representatives. Then I worked four years as RUCO Director--the State’s top Utility Consumer Advocate. In 2008 I was elected to the Board of the Maricopa County Hospital and in 2012 Gov. Brewer appointed me to the Arizona Board of Regents. Throughout that period I have also worked as a consultant and attorney.
Twitter @espressopundit
Previous public office House of Representatives 1991 to 1995 MIHS Board 2008 to 2012 Board of Regents 2012 to 2017
I am the best person for this job because of my experience. I’m an attorney and CPA . In the 1990s, I served two terms in the Arizona House of Representatives. Then I worked four years as the State’s top Utility Consumer Advocate. In 2008 I was elected to the Board of the Maricopa County Hospital and in 2012 Gov. Brewer appointed me to the Arizona Board of Regents. I also run a small business and understand the pressure of covering monthly expenses and complying with arcane regulations. I have extensive high-level experience in education, healthcare, energy policy, taxation and law. I would like to put this experience to work for you.
Yes. I think that teacher pay has lagged for too long.
I would support Bob Robb's plan of putting a sales tax increase on the ballot.
I think there should be more disclosure of related-party transactions.
I support raising the age to 21 and banning bump stocks, but I do not support requiring background checks for private party sales.
Provide better access to mental health coverage. Raise the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21 and increase security at schools.
I think the current level is about right.
No. It's still a gateway drug--recreational or not.
Yes. AZ is trying to strike a balance by decreasing the number of abortions without creating an undue burden under Casey.
The Governor, Legislature and Central Arizona Project need to work together to finalize the drought plan.
Yes. I support equal access to public accommodations
No. I don't support forcing business owners to participate in ceremonies when they have a religious objection.
The Legislature can help ensure that AZ has a well educated work force. They can streamline regulations and ensure that taxes are simple, fair and transparent.
When I was in the House the first time, we voted to create charter schools and the parade of horribles never materialized. ESAs aren't going to destroy education either. ESAs--just like home schooling, open enrollment and charter schools--will provide parents with additional options and ultimately improve overall educational attainment.
Vouchers? That's your word. I think you are talking about ESAs. I support the ESA program because it provides additional parental choice and saves the state money. It's also capped, so the sky isn't really falling.
AZ should continue to work with ICE, but securing the border is a federal responsibility.
Expelling Shooter was a good start.
The Legislature needs to recognize the value of Arizona Universities.
We need to increase the quality of education from K-20 and we need to continue securing our long-term water supply.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.