Arizona House, District 26 {_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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  • Candidate picture

    Isela Blanc
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Athena Salman
    (Dem)

  • Raymond D. Speakman
    (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 46
Education B.S. Family and Human Development, ASU
Work history First Things First Tempe Community Council, Thrive to Five
Twitter @iselablancaz
Previous public office none
Through my personal and professional experiences, I understand access to high quality education and resources help children thrive. When my children entered school I volunteered in the classroom, joined school site councils and the PTA. This drew me to becoming more involved in education and my community. As a result, I became a school liaison which led to my work developing early childhood programs with Thrive to Five in Tempe. I continued to gain more knowledge and experience working as the First Things First Community Outreach Consultant and as a facilitator for ASU’s American Dream Academy, I grew to understand the impact community engagement has around building awareness around the importance of education. Mobilizing community capital to effect positive change is imperative to strengthen communities while building strong foundations within individuals or families. I am committed to creating thoughtful policy legislation that moves Arizona forward.
Arizona ranks at the bottom when it comes to teacher salaries, per-pupil spending, and student-teacher ratios because the Arizona Legislature has put Arizona’s kids at the bottom for over two decades. We have been robbing our kids future by robbing from their education to give money away to corporations. In this legislative session, teachers saw first-hand why Arizona ranks at the bottom for teacher pay. It was their presence and advocacy at the state capitol that led to a slight pay-raise. It was their determination which forced Governor Ducey on the Republican led Legislature to put money into education. Sadly, the 2018 budget is more of the same, robbing Peter to pay Paul but in 2018 Governor Ducey understood he could no longer steal from our kids. Instead, the money for teachers came from sweeping funds from programs and agencies because the education community stood up and demanded fully funded public schools and investments in kids.
We can start funding Arizona public schools by removing $13 Billion in tax exemptions.
Arizona is failing students and families when there is no accountability or transparency in charter schools. In 2018, I sponsored bills which would have required charter schools to follow similar rules required by public schools. Charter schools receive tax payer dollars and should be accountable and transparent.
Banning bump stocks, universal background checks, raising the minimum age to 21 for gun purchases is common sense policy for the health and safety of Arizonans. We must show a commitment to the health and well-being of all by creating thoughtful common sense gun safety legislation.
30% of children in Arizona suffer from an adverse childhood experience which can impact their mental well-being which is why we must invest in our children by fully funding our public schools. We need smaller classroom sizes, more school counselors, an increased number of psychologist, and children will do better. Schools are the places and spaces where mental health needs can be caught and addressed early on. If we are to avoid a tragedy in Arizona we must provide the tools and resources to ensure our kids are growing up in healthy and safe communities.
if we are committed to improving Arizona’s economic sustainability we must discontinue tax credits. Tax cuts are why we have seen cuts to education and other critical services that communities depend on. It has shaken the foundation of our schools, neighborhoods and communities. We can no longer continue on the same path.
Legalizing recreational marijuana would provide an array of economic, social and criminal-justice benefits.
We must provide age-appropriate health education, access to birth control, and access to affordable healthcare if we are interested in taking the right approach to the health and well-being of women and children. The focus should be fewer restrictions to access the resources and information that will allow women to choose what is best for their health. Restricting access in any form is the wrong approach to anyone who wants to have healthy long term outcomes.
This is a looming crisis that must be addressed thoughtfully. We must work diligently with various stakeholders to prepare for the potential of water shortage. It requires a collaborative approach that is inclusive of the various experts and stakeholders committed to the positive approach to water. Something Arizona has limited amounts of.
No. It is bad policy.
I refuse to participate in any policy legislation that will codify into law the denial of services because of personal religious beliefs. A business who chooses to deny services to a customer because of religious beliefs will probably suffer the positive or negative natural consequences of that decision.
We must begin to invest in people through programs that will put people to work. Currently, we have an opportunity to increase our workforce by reducing classroom sizes which would put more teachers to work. Smaller classroom sizes will result in better outcomes for kids which will result in a more educated and prepared workforce. Arizona has stopped investing in its infrastructure. We can put people to work today by improving and updating our infrastructure across the state. In 2018, we took steps to address the opioid epidemic however we lack the mental health experts across the state. We lack people across the various medical fields and we lack medical experts in rural Arizona. We have the opportunity to grow Arizona’s long term economic sustainability but it requires we invest in the people of we are to move forward.
I refuse to support any more program that takes tax payer dollars to private schools that have no accountability or transparency.
Expanding the voucher program to schools with no accountability or transparency who can pick and choose which students to accept is simply unacceptable. I will be voting NO on Pop. 305.
The federal government is doing fine. Arizona has more pressing issues to deal with.
More can be done to deal with the rampant harassment that occurs at the Arizona Legislature.
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Age 29
Family I am an Arizona native with loving parents and two supportive brothers.
Education Bachelor of Science in Economics & Bachelor of Science in Political Science, Magna Cum Laude, Arizona State University
Work history State Representative, Community Organizer, Union Shop Steward, Policy Fellow, Hospitality Worker
Twitter @AthenaSalman
Previous public office Elected State Representative 2016
Campaign Phone (480) 648-1801
As a Clean Elections Candidate, my campaign is fueled by the hard working people in my district. I earned degrees in Economics and Political Science from ASU. When I wasn't hitting the books, I spent every waking moment working on affordable tuition and healthcare for all. I graduated in the height of the Great Recession. Like many millennials, I found myself in an economy where jobs were limited, so I got a job at a hotel as a bellman and room service. I saw firsthand how working class people struggled with transportation and housing while industry profits soared. Tired of the injustice, I became the union shop steward where I empowered my coworkers, whom were largely women and immigrants, to demand dignity and respect from our bosses. My time working for youth organizations exposed me to the reality that a child’s zip code determined their overall quality of life. This is why my values are rooted in bringing forth communities that have for too long gone ignored by political elites.
No. Conservative lawmakers have been underfunding our public school for decades, accelerating their funding cuts to the tune of a billion dollars over the past decade alone. The overwhelming majority of our children attend public schools, yet we see more commitment by conservatives to lining the pockets of their wealthy friends by funding private schools with public money rather than putting our public schools first. Case in point, the governor’s proposal was yet another conservative shell game that literally steals from our children’s future and fails to address the underlying inequities our schools are experiencing, which our teachers eloquently highlighted in their multifaceted demands to the state legislature for improvement. But when the governor literally gets appraisal by the likes of Betsy Devos, how could we expect anything short of corruption? Arizonans simply deserve better, and if you care about education, it’s imperative we elect progressives at all levels of government.
I am supporting the Invest In Education Act because it is one step in the right direction in tackling our conservative designed revenue crisis. It’s time for lawmakers to revamp our outdated and corrupted tax code so that we diversify our revenues streams in ways that are equitable, sustainable and protected from attacks by wealthy corporations. If we were to rollback tax credits benefiting the richest Arizonans and out of state corporations at the expense of the rest of us, we can begin to address the funding shortage in next year’s budget immediately. We should also bring up to date parameters and mechanisms to generate revenue in our evolving economy, one where brick and mortar shops are rapidly moving to an online platform. These ideas among others will help us move forward towards a future where our schools thrive and our children succeed.
No. When charter schools aren't held to the same transparency and accountability standards as traditional district schools, we see a pattern of abuse under the cloak of secrecy emerge. Abuses we’ve seen on the taxpayer’s dime include but are not limited to self-dealing, discrimination against students with disabilities, in poverty or from communities of color, and administrative bloat. What’s most appalling is that this environment was purposefully designed by conservatives to rig the system in a such a way where they can segregate kids based on race and class while making millions by operating their own charters. Since there is no strong regulatory watchdog to protect against abuse, they’ve largely gotten away with it. It’s immoral that conservatives built a system with no checks and balances, putting our children’s learning at high risk at the public’s expense. We must immediately implement reforms to hold charter schools accountable for the sake of our state.
Yes. Every day in our country, gun violence claims 91 lives. State legislatures across the country need to address this national crisis. I am committed to advocating for gun reforms that will keep our communities strong and safe. This includes expanding the background check system for all gun purchases, preventing domestic violence homicides, enacting strong laws against gun trafficking, raising the minimum age to 21 and stiffen penalties for straw purchasers. I would also work alongside my constituents to pressure Arizona’s Congressional delegation to pass these reforms nationally.

To do nothing is to be morally bankrupt… or in bed with the NRA. Either one is unacceptable and our communities deserve action.
First, we should pass laws that would prevent guns from routinely getting into the hands of people with the intent to cause harm and kill. Second, we know that majority of mass shootings in America are by white males with a history of domestic violence and/or resentment towards women. If we start at a young age teaching students about healthy relationships through comprehensive sexuality education and an array of extracurricular activities that enhance brain development, we can create a supportive environment for our children to socialize and grow. Additionally, we need to invest billions more in our education system as a whole so that our schools can afford to hire full time social workers, psychologists, counselors, nurses, classroom assistants and other critical positions that make our students whole. Finally, we should invest in resources that empower parents to be the best support system they can to their children.
No. We have yet to restore our general fund from the damage conservatives have inflicted over the past three decades. It has been shameful to watch our Republican governor and legislature trip over themselves to cut taxes for the already wealthy knowing that one in five children in Arizona go to bed hungry. I honestly find myself in utter disbelief at the incredible greed and disregard towards life that is now embedded into the fabric of the conservative agenda.

No matter how conservatives try to frame it, expanding our regressive and inequitable taxing structure is irresponsible and self-serving. Ducey’s plan would be disastrous for our state. Cutting taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations forces us to overly rely on sales taxes and property taxes, which puts a unfair burden on working class families, while simultaneously creates pressure to cut vital state services that make our economy strong.
Yes. Legalizing cannabis would end an era of excessive government encroachment on individual liberty. Today, a majority of Americans support cannabis legalization. The criminalization of cannabis is also correlated to the prison growth rate our country has seen since 1970 with over 1.42 million people incarcerated today and Arizona having a higher than average prison growth rate. This leads to a state corrections budget comprising of 11% or $350 million, money which otherwise could be spent on education, infrastructure, or rehabilitation for drug users. Taxing cannabis would also generate a new revenue stream for the state.
No. Republicans have imposed some of the most intrusive restrictions on abortion in an attempt to override the private decisions you make about your body and life.

Conservatives, who have historically controlled the governor and legislature, have also refused since the 1970s to repeal laws that would impose mandatory prison time of at least a year for any woman who seeks or has an abortion, in addition to making it a misdemeanor to advertise abortion or birth control, if Roe v Wade is repealed.

My goal is different. As an elected official, I recognize the privilege that comes with public service should not be taken lightly. I understand that everyone has the constitutional right to self-determination; that part of being free is deciding if and when to have children without government interference.

As the youngest woman in the legislature, I’m personally committed to empowering you with the right choice for you, which includes access to safe and legal abortion and birth control, too.
Water is a connected system to everything else. What we do with our water today in both urban and rural communities will affect our water tomorrow. We need to increase the resources available to the Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (WQARF) and restore staffing levels at the Arizona Department of Water. We also need to reduce our water usage as a state and coordinate with the EPA to comply with the Clean Water Act.
Yes. Our laws fall short by not categorizing this group as a protected class with equal rights that individuals are afforded based on their race, sex, religion, etc. Denying protections in public accommodations and elsewhere to LGBTQ people on any grounds is simply discrimination no matter how conservatives try to spin it. It’s time for elected official to take a stand in support of all their constituents instead of abuse the privilege of their elected office to restrict our freedom to love who we want to love.
I appreciate living in a country where our Constitution guarantees our right to privately observe any faith or lack thereof we so choose. However, the Constitution does not allow individuals to impose their religious doctrine on others, as that is discriminatory, immoral and wrong.

What once used to be considered extreme religious right-wing is now mainstream conservatism. The movement to allow discrimination under the guise of religion puts all of us at risk of being forced to submit to another’s religious beliefs. I for one don’t need the government or someone I’ve never met telling me what I can or can’t do in my personal life because they’ve decided their religious beliefs trump my own.

It’s critical that we protect equality for all of us in public accommodations and don’t cede ground to the false notion that it’s okay to discriminate against others.
When our government was at its greatest, it was protecting the public from the market failures that are intrinsic in capitalism so that we can all lead happy, healthy and productive lives. We need to re-imagine what that would look like today and recommit to having our public institutions serve as a conduit that puts the public interest above all else.

It is also an atrocity that we are still reliant on the antiquities of the industrial revolution when there’s an emerging potential for a green economy that creates high paying jobs, reverses global warming, and leads to further innovation.

Finally, we must empower people who have been historically denied wealth due to long-standing discrimination through legislation that would remedy the situation. This can be achieved by supporting first time home buyers, striving towards free college, and providing universal child care, among other programs.
No. Private schools, majority of which are religious schools, should solely rely on private dollars for funding. Any tax incentives towards private education violates the separation of government and religion. Furthermore, private school vouchers divert much needed funding away from our public schools into the pockets of the wealthiest Arizonans. We can do better, and we can start by voting no on Prop 305.
I support our educators, parents and community members in asking you to vote no on Prop 305. The expansion of our voucher program to fund private schools is a scheme to segregate our schools while enriching the very lawmakers who create such legislation. Case in point, the Republican Senator from LD17 has become a millionaire by rewriting the laws governing our voucher program in his self-interest.

The program also has limited oversight (on purpose) and thus is riddled with abuse that should never be tolerated. Please vote no on Prop 305.
As a southern border state, Mexico is both our neighbor and natural partner in growing our economy. However, time and time again we have watched conservative lawmakers stoke racist and prejudice sentiments embedded in their base in order to gain political points. This approach is short-sighted and serves to devalue the contributions by the many Arizonans of Mexican descent, and by hard working immigrants as a whole group.

If we want to be secure, working closely with our neighbor to support one another’s pursuits towards prosperity and longevity would be wise. Also, treating one another’s expatriates with human dignity creates mutual respect among both populations, a relationship that can continue to flourish in order to tackle important issues together.
No. Having personally spoken out against the demeaning comment my colleague subjected me to, I am saddened to see inadequate internal changes happen. While I do think it was appropriate that we expel the member for creating a hostile working environment for women, I cannot believe that in the midst of that member running for the Senate, the Senate President and House Speaker, both Republicans from LD17, have not moved forth any additional internal policies to protect against sexual harassment at the state legislature, in spite of my pleas for us to implement evidence based practices and trainings to create a harassment free working environment. We can and must do better.
Arizona is fourth in the nation for mass incarceration and on top in locking up women. The conservative-controlled legislature have largely blocked reforms to our criminal justice system despite effective solutions that have already reduced the prison population in surrounding states.

With a funding increase of half a billion dollars towards our Correctional Budget over the past ten years, it’s imperative that we tackle this issue immediately and head on. Some effective policy proposals I will put forth to make change includes ending cash bail, reforming drug sentencing laws, ending life sentencing for children, and ending private prisons.

We must also seek to improve the conditions in which people are incarcerated, as was demonstrated by my bill, HB2222, which sparked a viral social media campaign called #LetItFlow to demand that women in prison receive the menstrual products they need for their periods.
The influence of dirty money in our election system threatens the integrity of our democracy throughout the entire country.

In our last midterm election, Arizona was the worst state with more than $10 million in dirty money spent that year alone. In other words, we have no idea if that money is coming from a rich individual, a wealthy corporation, or even a foreign government. Additionally, if we cannot determine who is behind the dirty money, then the likelihood of illegal activity increases as no one will be held accountable.

There are laws that we can pass to make progress on this issue. First, we must support and grow Clean Elections, which serves as the election watchdog in AZ and allows candidates to run publicly financed campaigns. We also need an automatic voter registration system as it is more efficient and secure. Finally, we must reform our election laws towards greater transparency and enforcement so we can protect one of the most important functions in our democracy.
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