Arizona Senate, District 23

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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    Christopher Leone

  • Candidate picture

    Daria Lohman

  • Michelle Ugenti-Rita

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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?

Family 57 years old, married 18 years, five children, two from my wife's previous marriage, one recently deceased
Twitter @cbleone
Campaign Phone (480) 242-8643
Your system is converting the YouTube URL after saving this file. The correct version is: As an independent, I will take positions that may not fit either party's ideological framework, but make sense for Arizona. I will be a catalyst for legislation that puts problem-solving ahead of partisan and special interests. I will seek solutions that are informed by data as well as traditions. The greatest threat to Arizona’s future is a government controlled by only two parties and a campaign finance system that is not transparent, allowing partisan and special interests to act without oversight. Electing independents who have a passion for good government and a fidelity to the common good is the first step to reclaiming government for the people. Donate now at
Without a party platform to guide me, I had a heart-to-heart with myself before beginning my campaign, which led to putting education at the top of my list, not only because I have three sons in public school, but because it is essential to representative democracy. At the top of my education list was a teacher pay increase of 20 percent. I advocated for a pay increase before the RedForEd movement began and before Gov. Ducey offered his plan. I am also calling for: • Consolidating school districts • Reducing the average class size • Increasing teacher autonomy • Increasing district funds spent in classrooms to 70 percent • Controlled competition among educational institutions, not an unrestricted voucher system

I am eager to work with Gov. Ducey and the Legislature on education.
As an independent, without partisan and special interests to submit to, I would explore all funding options. I am partial to an excise tax where a win-win can be achieved by offering the industry an improved regulatory environment, which would reduce costs, in exchange for an excise tax that is not passed on to consumers – a win-win for the industry and consumers as well as providing a long-term funding source for education and other priorities.
The shutting down of charter schools that were not performing up to expectations has been part of the Legislatures activities and demonstrates that accountability and transparency are at work in the charter school arena – I commend the responsible legislators for making those decisions.

The charter school model is different than the public school model, and I would like to see it remain that way. It provides a needed challenge to an educational system that has become overly bureaucratic and at times appears to have lost its focus on providing a quality education to all students.

Good government is based on transparency and accountability, but I would not like to see unnecessary regulations put on charter schools. I will not, however, rule out changes in the future that would improve accountability and transparency of charter schools as well as public schools.
I support smarter, more effective gun regulations that protect everyone, while not unduly burdening law-abiding gun owners. If elected I would welcome a review of our state gun laws with the aim to keep any gun – assault weapons, shotguns, or handguns – out of the hands of those who might use it to harm others. As well, I would like to see gun owners held liable if their weapons are used to harm others. Storing weapons securely is part of responsible gun ownership – such legislation might have prevented the 10 deaths in the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas by preventing a minor from having access to a shotgun and handgun. In particular, I would pursue expanding language under ARS 13-3102 – prohibited possessor – to include not only persons considered dangerous pursuant to a court order but persons who have demonstrated via police reports and other evidence a desire to harm others. Gov. Ducey's plan includes many ideas I support including investing in mental and behavioral health.
I would welcome an opportunity to explore this question in depth if elected. I am encouraged by Australia's 20 years of no mass shootings and would look to it as a starting point. I would include a look at Australia’s public school system in conjunction with a review of its gun regulations.

There is no simple answer to this serious social problem that has grown worse in the last 20 years. We need a comprehensive solution. Baby steps are fine at first, but we must set our sights on the goal of no mass shootings in our schools and not take our eyes off it.
I would not consider additional business and individual tax cuts at this time.
If consumed in a safe manner that does not impact the public, and if all transactions, financial and other, among industry participants, are legal and transparent, I would not work against a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana. My wife and I do not approve of the recreational use of marijuana. We do support using marijuana for medical purposes.
Improving the safety and oversight of abortion providers is a responsibility of government as it is with all medical procedures. Given the different motivations and circumstances that come into play when considering an abortion, especially for women in their teens, and the irreversible nature of abortion, it makes sense to require a short period of reflection on the decision and to ensure that race or sex is not a reason.

As an independent, I do not subscribe to the rhetoric that vilifies organizations and individuals for and against abortion. The real enemy is unwanted pregnancies, especially among teens and young adults.

If elected I will advocate to make adoption more transparent and accountable to all stakeholders and to reduce unwanted pregnancies through education and other proven strategies.
The first thing the State Legislature can do is stop and then reverse the trend in groundwater basin depletion with sensible legislation that protects our environment without stifling growth and development. Independents, free of partisan and private interests, are best equipped to forge win-win solutions that safeguard groundwater levels while allowing for growth and development. I support actions to reduce and limit carbon emissions, which lead to a higher average mean temperature, which in turn makes our water-shortage worse. I support utility-scale renewable energy efforts and zero-energy design for commercial and residential buildings to minimize water usage. I am a LEED AP.
I would like to see legislation that makes it illegal to fire someone from a job, deny them housing or refuse them service because they are LGBT. I commend Representative Hernandez and Senator Brophy McGee for introducing HB 2586. A U.S. citizen who is LGBT is entitled to all the rights and protections afforded under the U.S. Constitution.
Freedom of religion is protected by the U.S. Constitution in the First Amendment and the Commerce Clause protects against discrimination in business. Making religious discrimination legal is completely antithetical to everything America stands for.

Arizona must continue to remain a stable and attractive place to invest, live, and start a business. The most important thing legislators can do now is to put into place a forward-looking, data-driven strategy for budgeting and legislation.

Opportunities and risks that seem small now will have a considerable impact, positively or negatively, a decade from now. Cultivating a forward-thinking community of public and private stakeholders is at the center of a sustainable vision of economic development that benefits everyone.

Access to quality public education as well as higher education and workforce training opportunities is also essential to developing a sustainable economy that can benefit Arizonans of all income levels who seek to make the most of themselves.
I would like to see controlled competition among educational institutions, not an unrestricted voucher system, which will happen if Arizona keeps the Legislature's expansion of the state's school voucher-style program from 30,000 special needs students and students from poor-performing schools to all 1.1 million students. To be clear, I am against the expansion of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts to all 1.1 million Arizona students.
I am against the expansion of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts to all 1.1 million Arizona students. I will be a "no" vote on Proposition 305 – I oppose upholding Senate Bill 1431, which was designed to phase in an expansion of the state's ESA program to make all public school students eligible to apply for an ESA.
A secure border and an efficient immigration system are essential to public safety and are the responsibility of our federal government and federal agencies. State, county, and local law enforcement should cooperate with federal agents to prevent illegal immigration, humanely treat all who cross into Arizona illegally, and protect the lives and property of Arizona residents.

I would like to see Arizona work with the federal government and the Mexican government to address the refugee crisis south of Mexico.
Sexual harassment is unacceptable. Ignoring the sexual harassment of a co-worker is also unacceptable. I believe the #MeToo movement has provided needed enlightenment to a problem that has gone on far too long. The legislature can do more to educate both men and women legislators to sexual harassment as well as to inappropriate remarks regarding another legislator's appearance.
We have abdicated our responsibility as sovereigns of this nation to a two-party system that has not put the public interest first but instead has elevated partisan and special interests above the common good. Both parties have conspired to make it extremely difficult for average citizens to run for public office.

The difficulty for average citizens, unaffiliated with a party, to run for public office should be given more attention. Our most pressing issues, which become more intractable with each passing year, like education, healthcare, social security, and public safety, will not get resolved until we elect independents, ones who are committed to finding solutions that maximize the public interest with the least public expenditure. Ideology can be a starting point, not an ending point. Independents are free from loyalty to a party and so can be catalysts for long-lasting legislation that puts the public interest first.
The most significant threat to Arizona is a government controlled by only two parties and an opaque campaign finance system that allows partisan and special interests to act without oversight. Electing a few independents to our state legislature so that neither party has a majority, the fulcrum strategy, is what is needed if we want long lasting legislation that puts the public interest first.
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Age 72
Family 2 Daughters and 2 Grandsons
Facebook http://Daria4az
Campaign Phone (480) 614-1404
Our Republican controlled state legislator weakens our state with laws that weaken public education, weaken economic security, and cripples affordable healthcare. Arizona is my home -- both my daughters live here with my grandsons who attend public school. As a Veteran, Cybersecurity Engineer, Single Parent, and Grandmother, I have experienced first-hand the importance of accessible, dependable healthcare and the value of a strong public education system. With affordable healthcare and quality public education, we will encourage a healthy educated workforce. A healthy, educated workforce will attract new business to Arizona and bring more jobs and opportunities for the people of Arizona. As your State Senator, I will provide the leadership that is critical for the future of our state. An Independent supporter said to me “Daria, I don’t trust Republicans, I don’t trust Democrats, I trust you”. Thank You!
I support the plan but must stress that it is not enough. Even if the 20% pay increase over the next 3 years turns out to be a reality teachers will still be among the lowest paid in the nation. It would take another $600 million to get Arizona back to pre-recession status. Pay for all employees in the education system should at least compare favorably with areas of the country with similar costs of living. I will fight for our teachers and our public education system.
For the last 30 years we have heard the constant refrain that cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy will boost the economy and thereby increase revenues. The reality is that revenues have been cut to the point that funding for critical services like public education are inadequate

I support the InvestInEd initiative. It raises taxes on those who have benefited most from tax cuts and makes them pay their fair share. The Republican controlled legislature has for decades given more and more tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy and cut funding for critical services.
NO, charter schools need to have the same accountability and transparency that is required of public schools.
Very definitely, I support this kind of legislation. I will fight to keep guns out of the hands of those who have malicious intent.
I will fight to: 1) Audit and verify enforcement of all existing gun laws, too often something that should have been done was not done. 2) Increase the number of school counselors to meet the recommended American School Counselor Association (ASCA) ratio of 250 students per school counselor. Currently the ratio in Arizona is 924 to 1. 3) So that each school will have a School Resource Officer (SRO) assigned to it. The SRO should be a police officer who has additional training in child development and works with the school administration, school counselors, and teachers to help youth find alternatives to violence. Ensure that all SRO’s have training and resources to immediately respond to active shooter situations.
I would not support any further corporate tax breaks and review rolling back the recent corporate tax breaks. Revenues have been cut to the point that they are impacting essential services.

We need detailed auditing of all government agencies and other entities receiving public money with the results made public. How much are we really spending on private prisons? How much public money is going to charter schools and private schools?
When elected, I will lead the fight to make affordable health care available to the people of Arizona. Substance abuse in Arizona is a serious mental and physical health care issue that cries for attention. Marijuana is no more a danger than alcohol. The misuse and abuse of these substances continues to increase. Medical marijuana has proven to be beneficial for people suffering from a variety of health problems. Little evidence suggests that such use leads to tragedy. Recreational use of alcohol while deadly for some is not a death sentence for most people. Recreational marijuana follows the same pattern. Instead of wasting millions of tax dollars to stop their use, I will focus state resources on providing accessible health care and mental health care for Arizonans who need of those services. Prohibition of alcohol did not work. Prohibition of the use of marijuana does not work. Legalization and control of one demonstrates the importance of legalizing and controlling the other.
Arizona is going in the wrong direction on the issue of abortion. Increasing restrictions on abortion providers is pushing us back to the days of back ally and clothes hanger abortions. We can most effectively reduce abortions without infringing on a woman’s rights by reducing the factors that put women in the position of considering an abortion. Age appropriate comprehensive sex education for teenagers that is factual and covers not only the physiology of sex but also discusses the emotional and psychological impact is essential. Better affordability of pregnancy prevention aids covered by medical insurance. Better opportunities for jobs and low cost quality child care. This is supported by studies and supported by results as providing the best outcomes and in fewer abortions.
Arizona needs to continue to work with California and Nevada to work out an acceptable deal. The current plan that has not been agreed to severely impacts farmers who are demanding concessions from cities and tribes. All parties need to share some of the pain. Arizona needs to protect its rivers and springs as providing water for the future. Environmental concerns need to be addressed. The Environmental Protection Agency has in the past provided several hundred million dollars for Arizona environment issues. Arizona must also take into consideration that EPA resources and funding may be severely reduced in the future due to current federal leadership.
I support a state wide law that bans discrimination against LGBT people, nobody should be discriminated against.
NO, I would not support a statewide law allowing business owners to discriminate against customers based on their religious beliefs. Every attempt to make progress in civil rights has been resisted by those who use their interpretations of religious literature as justification to discriminate. The first amendment of the constitution was never intended to allow individuals to enforce their religious views on others. In fact many of the early immigrants from Europe immigrated to the US because predominate faiths in their country of origin did just that. Some religious faiths still believe in child marriage, beating kids, beating wives, etc. as part of their religious doctrine. It is secular law that forbids those practices. Religious beliefs should never be allowed to override secular law.
By investing in creating a 21st century public educations system, making colleges and universities more affordable, and making healthcare more affordable we will develop a healthy educated workforce that will attract business and increase our tax base.
No, I do not support the voucher expansion. The expansion of the voucher program would divert money from public education which is already grossly underfunded.
I will vote no on 305. The expansion of the voucher program would divert money from public education which is already grossly underfunded.
We need immigration reform that is not based on fear. We need to bring down the negative racially based rhetoric about illegal immigrants. Then we can began serious discussion about how to humanly reform the immigration system
The new policy is a start but must be periodically reviewed to ensure that reported problems are addressed.
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Without a well-funded public education system and affordable healthcare Arizona will not attract businesses with good jobs.

Adequate funding of public education and affordable healthcare Arizona are critical to the future of Arizona.
It makes no sense to not be using these funds. For the legislative session to end without a plan to use these funds is immoral. The governor should reconvene the legislature and press them to make these funds active.
Family members who take in a relative’s children should be paid the same as foster parents. The financial burden for family members is the same as for foster parents. Placing kids with family members is preferable to placing them with foster parents.
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