Arizona House, District 12 {_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.

Click a candidate icon to find more information about the candidate. To compare two candidates, click the "compare" button. To start over, click a candidate icon.

  • Candidate picture

    Joe Bisaccia
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Travis Grantham
    (Rep)

  • Warren Petersen
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Lynsey Robinson
    (Dem)

Social Media

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 27
Family Mother-Janice Bisaccia Father-Salvatore Bisaccia Sister-Adina Bisaccia
Education Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication B.A. Journalism and Mass Communication
Work history Joe Bisaccia is a teacher at Cooley Middle School in the Higley Unified School District. Joe started his career as a TV News Reporter in Sioux City, Iowa, where he won the Eric Sevareid Award of Merit for Broadcast Writing in Small Market Television. In addition to teaching and journalism, Joe has worked in sales for publishing and software.
Twitter @JosephBisaccia
Previous public office N/A
Campaign Phone (480) 712-2286
By profession, I am a public school teacher. I started out as a journalist and sales professional, but as I did my job, I realized that I was most happy when I was talking to kids and helping them learn how things worked. So, after a few years into my career, I became a middle school teacher here in Gilbert for a bunch of 8th graders who I love to teach and spend time with as they explore the world. My focus is on teaching technology and robotics, which, like all STEM fields, is the fastest growing area not only in education but also in our community. You can say that as a teacher and as a resident of Gilbert, I sit at the confluence of tomorrow – kids and technology. And that is why I am running. My background in education and technology makes me uniquely qualified to address the problems facing Arizona.
Yes, but it is only the first step. We need to take three additional steps: First, restore per pupil funding to pre-recession levels. Our student body continues to grow at a furious rate. Unless we restore funding per student, rather than based on total budget, we will be right back where we were this spring in just a few years – underfunded and understaffed. Second, we need to increase capital spending to fix our buildings and update our teaching materials including text books. Students cannot safely learn in a building where the roof leaks, or where they AC doesn’t function in our high desert heat. Nor will they be effective members of society if they are not learning who our current leaders are and the current state of language, science, arts and literature if they are using text books that are 20 years old. Third, we need to index the dollars to inflation so that as the economy waxes and wanes. Finally, we need to secure a dedicated source of funding.
For the past 20 years, Arizona’s legislature has cut corporate taxes to the point where corporations pay little if any taxes at all. As a result, we either have to raise personal income taxes as the Invest in Ed initiative does or raise sales taxes yet again. Sales taxes are highly regressive and hit the most vulnerable the hardest. I do not see sales taxes as an effective solution for funding education in Arizona. Increasing personal income taxes, while reducing inequality, can often cause professionals and business owners to seek other places to live and work. In Arizona, 63% of the top 100 corporations in the state that are taxpaying entities, are from out of state, meaning that we are shipping our corporate tax cuts to out of state companies with no emotional ties to our community and its success. While I would thus prefer restoring corporate taxes and closing corporate sales tax loopholes, I support the Invest in Ed initiative as a way to secure funding for our schools.
No.
Yes.
School shootings are the result of many factors, including student alienation, a violent subculture found in video games, a rising incivility in society overall that fails to provide people with proper channels for their anger, and access to firearms with exceptional killing qualities. The first step toward reducing school shootings is to increase school counseling and to teach kids how to get along and how to channel their anger and frustration with the difficulties of growing up. A second step is to place school resource officers on premise in our schools to provide professional security from someone who is properly trained in how to address an active shooter situation. A third step is to control access to firearms with such significant killing capacity. These together provide the first step. It will no doubt require more years and more experience to really solve the problem. My position on firearms has earned me the endorsement of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
It has often been said that a state government is a school district with a roads department and a prison system. Should I win the election, I will seek to overhaul and reform Arizona’s tax laws to better reflect a more equitable solution for funding both education and the state. I will hold hearings and build a consensus strategy that ties corporations – in and out of state – small business owners and residents and citizens who pay and benefit from tax spending to build a sound fiscal future for Arizona.
Prohibition has never worked in America. I support the legalization of recreational marijuana and the proper administration of the market similar to how we control liquor and lottery sales. In addition, we can look to states like Colorado for using recreational marijuana tax receipts for funding our schools and in reducing incarceration rates.
No. As Barry Goldwater expressed, government should not interfere with the private medical decisions of its citizens. The choice of an abortion is a very difficult one that a woman should be able to make with the advice and counsel of her doctor.

I am proud to have earned the endorsement of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona.
Governor Ducey failed to build a consensus on water this past year for Arizona as Governor Babbitt did in 1980 on groundwater. We need to recognize the changing face of Arizona’s economy from agriculturally based to a more urban economy driven by electronics manufacturing and software development and their associated services. We need to comprehensively bind groundwater and surface water into a single, coherent policy that reduces per capita urban consumption while driving greater efficiencies in agricultural utilization. The day of flood, lateral and ditch irrigation is over. Modern drip irrigation technology such as that used in Israel provides a roadmap for dramatically improving water utilization by agriculture. The state will need to help the farming community achieve that transition.
Yes. When a business hangs its sign in the public square, it receives a permit from local government to operate. Thus it falls under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.
No. When a business hangs its sign in the public square, it receives a permit from local government to operate. Thus it falls under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. While the 1st Amendment prevents Congress from keeping people from practicing their faith, the 14th guarantees that everyone is to be treated equally, thus constraining the practice of discriminatory behavior in the public square.
Supporting education, reforming tax policy and investing in infrastructure.
No.
I strongly oppose Proposition 305.
Securing the international border with Mexico is the sole obligation of the government of the United States and is not the responsibility of the state. That said, the state should support helping with the relocation of refugees and asylum seekers as those seeking freedom make excellent citizens and contributors to the nation. My great-grandparents came to America from “the old country” in search of a better life for themselves and their children, and though they never truly mastered English, they did master being an American.
I supported the expulsion of Mr. Shooter. His behavior was inexcusable and there is no place in America for it. I look to the corporate world for of America’s established Fortune 1,000’s for guidance on approaching harassment prevention. Most major companies offer regular training that covers all forms of harassment and what constitutes proper workplace behavior. While they do not attempt to manage employee behaviors outside of the workplace, they do provide a framework for proper behavior in the workplace. I would support regular training of legislators in similar type programs.
Public corruption. I believe we need very strong anti-conflict of interest laws that are vigorously enforced.
Among the several things that democracy and capitalism have in common is the necessity of transparency. Without transparency, markets cannot function efficiently and enable people to make the best decisions possible for the financial well-being of themselves and their families. The same applies to democracy. We as a country, as a state or as local communities cannot make good decisions about the future of our communities unless all voices are transparent and visible to all. We must end “dark money” or “dirty money” in politics so that we can clearly see who supports who and who supports what laws we are looking to pass.
This was a foolish and shortsighted decision by lawmakers. If the federal government is offering additional assistance and it makes sense for the state, then why shouldn't we authorize it? Now, families and kids are going to get left behind. That's wrong and unfortunate.
I do believe it makes sense to provide additional financial assistance to foster parents. They are providing an essential service for the state and providing safe haven for children. No one can live off $45 per month. Especially not with additional mouths to feed.
Age 39
Family Wife Patricia and two daughters, Katelyn and Kristyn.
Education Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, United States Air Force, 2003 Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness, Arizona State University, 2001 Associate of Arts Degree, Scottsdale Community College, 1999 Chaparral High School, Scottsdale, AZ, 1997
Work history Instructor Pilot / Aircraft Commander, KC-135E/R/T Aircraft, December 2003 - Present, 161 Air Refueling Wing, Arizona Air National Guard State Representative Legislative District 12, January 2017 - Present, Arizona House of Representatives Chief Operations Officer / Principal, May 2004 - August 2017, International Air Response Inc. Aircraft Environmental and Electrical Systems Technician, KC-135E/R Aircraft, July 1999 - September 2001 161st Air Refueling Wing, Arizona Air National Guard
Twitter @TravisGrantham
Previous public office State Representative Legislative District 12, January 2017 - Present, Arizona House of Representatives
Having served this great nation for over eighteen years in the United States Air Force and our state in the Arizona Air National Guard coupled with owning a business in Arizona for over thirteen years makes me a great fit for this job. Additionally, having served one term so far in the Arizona House I have learned the who, what, where, and why of our state government as well as how to be an effective legislator. I care deeply about the well being of our state and those who live in Gilbert and Queen Creek. Operating state government efficiently, maintaining a structurally balanced state budget, less regulation on businesses, lower taxes and a well funded public education system are my top priorities.
I support the increase in K-12 funding that was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Doug Ducey. I supported this plan and voted yes on this plan because it was the right thing to do for our public school system. I do support giving some teachers raises however it is not the job of the state legislature to set teacher pay and we do not control how much of a raise the districts and school boards choose to give their teachers. It is my hope that the teachers who are most deserving of a raise will receive that raise and continue to see increases in funding and pay as they have in previous years under this governor. Arizona can and should continue to focus on increased K-12 funding while not raising taxes and while keeping government lean in other areas.
Arizona needs to continue focusing on growing our economy and expanding our tax base. This can be accomplished by easing burdensome regulations for all businesses, keeping taxes low and constantly improving our state's infrastructure and public education system. The primary means by which we should address more funding for schools in next year's budget is by cutting back spending in areas that currently receive too much funding or in areas that receive funding for projects that do not directly benefit the state. I would recommend reducing numerous state agency's budgets and capping all spending increases which would allow the legislature to shift those funds directly over to school funding.
Yes, Arizona does enough to require accountability and transparency for charter schools. Charter schools are under contract with the state to perform in accordance with state law as it pertains to education. Additionally, charter schools are owned and operated by businesses or individuals that have licenses, pay taxes, construct buildings to code and live inside of numerous regulatory realms that traditional public schools do not. Charter schools do a great job of providing a cost effective school choice to parents and children in our state.
No.
Arizona needs to adopt a school safety plan that puts the security of our schools first. Schools should have armed resource officers and the same type of security precautions and measures in place as other government buildings currently do. Teachers in our state should be allowed to carry concealed weapons and all "gun free" zones should be eliminated immediately to allow armed citizens to carry concealed weapons near schools. Arizona should also evaluate and make changes to state law regarding STOP orders and the ability of law enforcement to keep guns out of the hands of known dangerous individuals that have had proper due process. Lastly, school construction requirements can and should be amended to include architectural design traits that make the buildings more secure.
Yes, I believe Arizona needs to reduce and eventually eliminate the state income tax.
No, the recreational use of marijuana and the effects of those in close proximity to the product is problematic. Additionally, I do believe that some steps towards decriminalization can and should be taken.
Yes, abortion clinics and providers need to be held accountable for their practices.
Arizona needs to ensure the proper use of allotments and resources in order to prepare for or prevent a potential water shortage. The state needs to revisit the 1980 groundwater management act and keep many of those practices and agreements in place. Smart developments and efficient use of water by Arizona's businesses and citizenry is also important and all of us should consider the precious resource of water at all times.
No, business owners have the right to refuse service to anyone now and no law can or should change that practice when it comes to an individual's private business or personal property.
No, business owners have the right to refuse service to anyone now and no law can or should change that practice when it comes to an individual's private business or personal property.
The legislature can encourage sustainable growth that benefits people of all income levels by keeping taxes low and government out of the way of the private sector. As businesses choose to start up in Arizona or come here from other states it will add to the economy and benefit all income levels as it will bring more and more economic prosperity and jobs.
Yes.
I oppose proposition 305.
Arizona should take up an active role in helping the federal government secure the border with Mexico by offering our National Guard to help patrol and assist in other various aspects of border security. Additionally, strong laws against employing illegal aliens can help deter some of the issues that exist with our border with Mexico.
Yes, the legislature has done enough to address concerns about sexual harassment among its membership.
Yes, federalism is not discussed enough at the Arizona legislature and the states have become to beholden to the federal government. Arizona and other states need to look for ways to strengthen their position by regaining control of the education system, public lands and by ensuring the United States Senate takes the issues and concerns of the state more seriously especially when dealing with federal issues that cost the state money and are overly burdensome.
The greatest threat to Arizona's future and to the country's future is the national debt. Arizona has been a model for sound conservative fiscal policy and is maintaining a structurally balanced budget under the leadership of Governor Ducey and the Republican held House and Senate. At the least, Arizona can continue to operate based on sound conservative principals and maintain a structurally balanced budget while keeping taxes and spending as low as possible.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
This candidate has not responded to the survey.
Age 41
Family Spouse and three children
Education B.A. -Political Science & Philosophy M.A.ed-Secondary Education J.D.-Law
Work history Southern Arizona Legal Aid
Campaign Phone (602) 739-8591
In a representative democracy we must elect leaders who reflect our shared values and the population which they will serve. As a former DREAMer, teacher and attorney who worked for a non-profit firm I am committed to serving everyone in my community and not just those with the means to influence policy. We need leaders who put people ahead of politics and who understand that education is the great equalizer. As a product of public education, I understand wholeheartedly the importance of properly funding our public schools. Education will be my first priority. We have a duty to end gun violence in our nation. I believe it begins with pro-active steps such as drastically increasing the counselor to student ratio in our schools. To often well intention laws have unattended consequences. As an attorney, I understand the practical component of policies and how it impacts a community. I will fight to make sure that laws are written with the precision needed to have the desired outcome.
The teacher pay raise plan passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Ducey is a step in the right direction, however, the plan does not go far enough. The plan does not have a permanent sustainable funding source. According to education advocates public school operational funding would remain below 950 million dollars which is below 2008 levels. Leaving public education funding more than an entire decade behind. The teachers were left to go to ballot initiates such as "Invest In ED", in order to try to make up the difference in funding. Something that legislature could have done on its on without forcing teachers to use ballot initiatives as a way to fund public education. It is imperative that we find a sustainable funding source in order to make public education funding current. Further, the legislators (R) did not support amendments such as increasing counselor to student ratio, reducing class sizes to twenty-five students etc; which are crucial to the funding issue.
As a result of the 2008 recession, budget cuts were made to education. After the recovery the Republican led legislature decided to cut taxes instead of restoring funding for public education. Currently, Arizona spends fourteen percent less per pupil then it did ten years ago. As a result, public education has become the most poorly funded in the nation and it teachers the least well-paid in the nation. Education funding comes from property taxes, sales taxes and personal/corporate taxes. Before, the public can be burdened even further with increased taxes; the state legislature must review the tax codes. There are several tax benefits that corporations receive which benefit the public, but there are many more that do not. For those that do not benefit the public the legislature needs to revisit those tax incentives as a revenue source for education.
No. Charter schools have a place in our education system. The lack of funding for traditional public schools have left parents looking for solutions for their children. However, accountability is necessary to protect our communities. Currently, several legislatures either own charter schools or are involved in dealings with charter schools that financially benefits them. This is blatant corruption at the expense of hard working tax paying Americans. Charter schools must not be allowed to turn in incomplete spending data to the state making it impossible to detect waste or fraud. The legislature must pass legislation that requires charter schools to post their budget on their website for public transparency and accountability. The legislature must pass legislation that will remove loopholes that allows current legislators who own charter schools to engage in self-dealing.
I support the second Amendment. However, protecting our communities is of the utmost importance. Seven children and teens dies from gun violence in the U.S. everyday. According to the Department of Justice background checks have blocked three million people who are prohibited from otherwise obtaining firearms. Arizona ranks 16th in the nation in firearm deaths. When congress passed legislation to raise the minimum age to purchase handguns to 21 (Gun control Act 1968), it did so because handguns at the time were used in the majority of fire-arm related crimes. Riffles were used mostly for hunting and assault weapons like AR-15 were not widely available to the public. Our wold has changed since then. The advent of school shootings has made it necessary to raise the minimum age of all gun ownership to 21, I will support banning bump stocks, universal background checks on sales between private parties as necessary steps to protect our communities from gun violence.
Part of the solution begins with prevention. The first step is to increase the counselor to student ratio in our schools. Train teachers to recognize early signs of mental health issues and have the school counselors available for consistent teacher communication. According to psychologist, the type of shootings we see are characteristic of impulsive, immature complete disregard of risk; which is characteristic of a younger brain. They state that there is evidence to support that the part of the brain executive front responsible for inhibiting socially unacceptable actions, delaying gratification, inserting time between stimulus and response does not complete developing until early twenties Thus, science supports raising the minimum age to purchase fire-arms to at least twenty one years old. Further, we need to recognize that all forms of drug abuse and not just opiods are mental health concerns. Make affordable health including mental health care a priority for all Americans.
The entire tax code must be reviewed, cleaned up to eliminate special interest tax breaks. We need to prioritize services that benefit everyone such as education, affordable college tuition, safe roads and other vital infrastructure. In doing so, we can eliminate tax loop holes, incentives that do not benefit the the community and those that harm the community. Currently seventy four percent of corporations are able to reduce their tax liability to fifty dollars or less. According to the center for economic progress, corporations currently choose which formula they will use to pay their corporate income tax; which results in paying the least amount of taxes possible. We can support small business with tax cuts on a gradual increase scale model in order to help those businesses grow. When we eliminate unnecessary tax giveaways we can then look for ways to reduce taxes on individuals who are shouldering the burden while corporations are not paying their fair share.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics,"...because marijuana is illegal, many youths, especially minority youths, become caught up in the criminal justice system, which can affect their job prospects, educational prospects, housing, financial, aid and other things for a lifetime. Youths should be provided with drug treatment services if they are marijuana users, not made into criminals." Personal use of marijuana should be decriminalized in light of the fact that it has been approved by the FDA, in forms of cannabinoids and cannabidiol for medicinal purposes. The idea that we should legalize marijuana without reversing and restoring non-violent offenders who have lost their entire future as a result of felony convictions is appalling to me. More research needs to be done as well as communication with stakeholders to ensure that if legalized, the drug will not end up in the hands of children, near schools, churches and other unacceptable places in our communities.
Arizona lawmakers position on pro-life is inconsistent at best. Arizona is the least generous state when it comes to assistance for single mothers and needy families. It is hypocritical to cut funding that protects children (TANF etc.), while tooting that they care about the sanctity of life. These state restricting measures on abortion is cruel in light of the states position on poor working families. Further, these restrictions do not help women, but hurt families. For example, state law prevents lawsuits against medical providers who omit or withhold information from patients that may lead to the abortion of an abnormal fetus. Currently a medical provider can limit the scope of test results or avoid tests that may result in a woman’s choice to terminate her pregnancy. State law prohibits any insurance plan offered through the state health care exchange from offering abortion coverage even if the fetus is abnormal, which places a heavy financial burden on a devastated family.
The Colorado River system, which supplies forty percent of Arizona’s total water use, has experienced extensive drought conditions for the past 16 years. This has resulted in Lake Mead dropping to historically low reservoir levels. Most recent projections show a probability of shortage as soon as 2018, We need to make sure that the public is educated on the water shortage issue. The public should be educated on how to conserve water and encourage responsible water use. Encourage key saving measures such as implementing water harvesting practices (rainwater capture). Educating the public is important because everyone can contribute. The legislature should look into corporations, as well as the agricultural industries that utilize a large portion of water as part of the conservation efforts. Law makers working with the Bureau of Reclamation along with other stakeholders need to ensure that Arizona can take its cut from the river by working out further compromises if necessary.
Arizona is one of 31 states in the U.S. that doesn’t fully protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Arizona has no statute, regulation, and/or agency policy on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in child welfare. The idea that we need laws to protect the LGBTQ community is disheartening. The reality is without such laws the group will continue to face paramount discrimination. Arizona needs laws that protect sexual orientation and gender identity in order to ensure that no public accommodation can use the disguise of religious belief to prevent people from accessing goods and services without a rational and just reason. Gay rights are human rights and all people need to be treated with dignity.
No. The law would most likely be discriminatory on its face. It would create inconsistent results. Such laws would impede the flow of commerce.
A well educated work force attracts companies. When we make education a priority then all of our students irregardless of socio-economic background will have the same opportunities. Investing in our infrastructure benefits everyone. Expanding public transportation will help low income families secure and keep jobs while encouraging other commuters to protect the environment. Trains that run from Tucson to Phoenix will facilitate a greater pool of applicants for jobs and provide increase job opportunities for all. Corporations realizing that they have access to a greater pool of applicants may consider locating to parts of the valley they may not have considered before.
Not in its current form. The vouchers currently only provide a 1/3 of the cost of a private education. As a result the people who were intended to benefit from the program are not able to benefit because they are unable to make up the financial difference or provide transportation for their children to and from schools. Ultimately, families who are able to pay for private education are the ones who benefit from the program the most. This is unfair to the families that the voucher was intended to benefit (special needs, children in the foster care system, military families, children living in tribal lands, children of parents with vision and hearing impairments, children in failing schools and siblings of those who qualify) and tax payers. As a result tax payers are financially supplementing private education for those whose children already live in good public school districts.
I plan on voting No on prop 305. The expansion of the program would hurt public education funding. In light of charter schools not having accountability, some opening and closing after they have received funding past the one hundredth day such expansions would hurt the entire public. When this happens the students return to the public schools within their districts and the districts would not have the funding to properly educate the returning students. Unlike charter schools and private schools traditional public schools cannot refuse service to any student.
Immigration is an issue within the purview of the federal government. However, as a border state we should be leading on the issue of immigration. We can secure the border with fair immigration policies that encourage immigrants to follow the law rather than to break the law. Treat those at the border with dignity and respect deserving of a human being so that it is easier to detain criminals. Arizona should differentiate between families and criminals. Arizona should make apprehending criminals and deporting them its main focus. Arizona should help in the efforts to re-unite children with their parents. What is happening at the border is not in our financial interest as a nation as it cost more to separate families not to mention such practices are inhumane and an outright human rights violation.
The legislature should continue to discourage sexual harassment among its members by passing legislation that makes it easier for women/men to come forward if they have been sexually harassed. The culture will change when women are taken seriously and violators are appropriately punished.
The Equality Act provides basic protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, access to public spaces, housing, education, credit and federal funding. For the second year in a row the Arizona Legislature has failed to allow a debate on the ratification of the ERA. Republicans have failed to allow a debate on the proposed amendment that broadly guarantees equal rights between men and women. While the constitution recognizes that all men are created equal, women have been left marginalized to fight for equal treatment. It is time the Constitution acknowledged women as equal citizens of this country. Many states have enacted laws for the public and private sector that go beyond what federal law requires, however Arizona is not one of those states. We need to ensure equal pay for equal work. Ensure working parents have paid family, medical leave, flexible use of sick leave and workplace protections for nursing mothers.
The greatest threat facing Arizona is education. Legislatures must fully fund K-12 education and support higher education funding. Sustainable funding sources exist if we make education a priority.
The legislature’s failure to authorize the expenditure of $56 million in federal aid for child care cost for the working poor is another example that the current leaders in office do not prioritize education or care about the working the poor. It is appalling the working poor would be denied funding at such a crucial time. According to Arizona Department of Economic Security, women who need child care assistance while attending college are required to work a minimum of twenty-hours a week. It's nearly impossible for single mothers to attend college without adequate resources for child care. The National Education Association maintains that high quality early education sets the foundation for a successful future. Arizona ranks at the bottom in educational funding. We need to ensure the working poor have access to quality early education for their children. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior from those whom the voters have placed their trust to serve and protect.
The notion of Parens Patrie (State as Parent) comes in when the state has to take over the responsibility of the parent either temporarily or permanently. The best interest of the child is the legal standard applied in these types of circumstances. The American Bar Association states that it is in the best interest of the child to live with a family member rather than foster care placement. According to Children's Action Alliance, 209,100 children in Arizona live with relatives and 85,500 of them are being raised by their grandparents. Family members who step in to care for a child-relative do so often at a great sacrifice. Especially grandparents -- 1 out 5 grandparents raising their grandchildren has a disability; 1 in 4 grandchildren in grand families live in poverty. According to Forbes, grandparents often find themselves forced to cut into their own retirement finances. Providing all children with equal resources will alleviate the burden on the family.