Arizona House, District 15 {_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 36 Republicans and 24 Democrats. The job pays $24,000 a year, plus mileage and per-diem during session.

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  • John Allen
    (Rep)

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    Nancy Barto
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Julie Gunnigle
    (Dem)

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    Jennifer Samuels
    (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?

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Age 60
Family Married to Joe Barto, 3 daughters, 3 grandchildren
Education Studied Vocal Performance and Elementary Ed at A.S.U. and A.S.U. West
Work history As a homemaker, I served as a community and school volunteer i.e. arranging/accompanying school trips, heading up fundraisers, keyboard accompaniment for school musicals, church worship teams and other advocacy.
Twitter @NancyBarto
Previous public office State Representative, Precinct Committeewoman
Campaign Phone (480) 513-3750
Most of us know that freedom and a robust economy thrive when government is limited and taxes and regulations are minimized. But agency accountability for what government is responsible for is just as important. My record exemplifies my commitment to all of these principles, especially in the areas of healthcare and welfare. The Departments of Health, Child Safety, Developmental Disabilities, AHCCCS and numerous licensing boards dominate state government and serve some of the most vulnerable populations in our state - including the elderly and those with serious mental illness. In too many cases independent oversight has been missing, dysfunctional, or we're simply not measuring whether an agency is fulfilling its mission. It is an honor to work with constituents to effect significant agency transparency and accountability. My understanding and experience on these responsibilities will continue to serve Arizona well and help our state focus its limited resources appropriately.
Yes. There is a serious teacher shortage in Arizona. Teachers are changing professions or retiring and stagnant salaries are a driving factor. National and state tax and regulatory reforms are working, resulting in a prospering economy and increased state revenues. And based on conservative growth projections, the pattern will continue. Importantly, the 2019 budget also restores funding for roads, public safety & vulnerable populations i.e. rate increases for hospitals -the first broad-based increase since 2007, an increase of $14.1 million for adoption subsidies for 35,000 foster kids, developmental disabilities to keep up with minimum wage impacts and others. I've also supported the $1.7 billion in new K-12 dollars Arizona has added since 2015, catching up on overdue capital and other increases. This year's increase, especially in inflation-adjusted baseline funding, is an historic step forward that will make a significant difference if directed toward the classroom.
Much of the education funding we passed in the 2019 budget this spring will continue year over year, and adjust for inflation. I am committed to adding to the increases over the next three years as planned as well as restoring additional funding as needed and revenues increase.
Yes. The robust accountability measures that have been added over the years, including this year, are appropriate and sufficient, but efforts to make charter schools mini versions of traditional district schools in terms of management overlook the fact they were designed to allow more operational flexibility than their counterparts. Charters receive about $730 less taxpayer funding per student, assume the financial risk and responsibility for their capital needs and can be shut down if they don't perform among other things. Overzealous micromanagement over charters' operations and autonomy unwisely refocuses their primary purpose - educating students, reducing their ability to operate along with Arizona's competitive education environment and the educational choices charter schools can offer students. One bad charter shouldn't be cause for overreach. District school mismanagement frequently require Legislative attention but keeping district controls local is and should be preserved.
No. Criminals will find a way even with restrictive laws. Tougher gun laws do nothing but put more innocent lives at a higher risk of danger, while unnecessarily hampering law abiding citizens' freedoms.
Some schools are reversing their gun-free zone policies and allowing willing teachers and others trained in firearms to help protect students in the event of a threat. I support this and similar defensive strategies and to head off serious threats before they wreak havoc in schools or other public places also requires admitting an all too common nexus of shootings and individuals with untreated serious mental illness. Too often families trying to get their loved one into treatment encounter illogical HIPAA practices and other system barriers preventing appropriate care. This is not an insurmountable problem, but it will take focus and cooperation between agencies, municipalities and advocates. The Governor's school safety plan was a good start. Also, increasing the number of long term facilities for chronically seriously mentally ill individuals could save lives, reduce low level criminality and recidivism as well as reduce homelessness and repeat hospitalizations.
Unsure, but I do support reforms that make Arizona's tax system more fair, enhance our economic environment and that simplify our school funding structure.
No. Arizona's medical marijuana law has already has proliferated marijuana use by far more people than most voters intended. Most who voted for the measure envisioned helping vulnerable cancer patients but its lax rules far more often accommodate cardholders between 18-35 with "chronic pain". It also sent the message to teens that marijuana is harmless. It's not and its potency is exponentially higher than in the 70's (3% vs. 15-80% in today's depending if it is smoked, eaten or vaped). Legalized recreational marijuana have increased addiction, compromise a person's judgment and increases serious auto injuries & death. With all of our concerns about students' mental health and academic achievement, we should listen when studies link marijuana use to lower academic achievement and motivation, increased risk of psychotic symptoms and schizophrenia-like psychoses and increased testicular cancer. The dangers and unintended consequences of legalizing pot far outweigh any public benefit.
Yes. The focus on the humanity of the unborn and women's health and safety involving clinic and abortion provider accountability has brought much needed attention to the physical and emotional risks and consequences of abortion as well as its alternatives - saving many lives.
The availability of water for Arizonans is a major concern and the latest sustained drought cycle has rightly raised the level of action to address its sustainability. Solutions will require concerted conservation efforts, drought contingencies at Lake Mead involving continued statewide community input and cooperation. Desalination efforts in Southern Arizona should also be continued and prioritized.
Whether intended or unintended, laws enacted along these lines in other states have resulted in consequences that intrude on citizens' deeply held beliefs. That is a concern in light of the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The Constitution should be sufficient to protect a person's right of free speech and to freely exercise their religious beliefs. Seven justices of the U.S. Supreme Court agreed recently that a state’s hostility to the religious beliefs of its citizens will not be tolerated under the First Amendment but the Court also indicated coerced participation in an event or in support of a cause violating their conscience was wrong - even without state hostility. The Court also directed the lower court to review florist Barronelle Stutzman's case. She gladly served a particular gay couple for almost a decade, but couldn’t do the floral arrangements for their same-sex wedding as participating in the event would violate her right of free expression. Washington State's Attorney General went after her. Freedom of speech & expression are secured by the First Amendment. Based on this strong ruling and subsequent ones, state laws further clarifying the First Amendment may not be necessary.
Robust job growth benefits people at every level of income. A low tax, low regulatory environment helps attract and retain business development in the state, creating jobs and economic development. Balancing government spending with revenues, resolving the state's debt obligations and ensuring our pension systems are solvent are key principles to sustaining growth and avoiding volatile swings in less prosperous times.
Yes. The program currently has a growth cap of only 1/2 of 1% of public school students and our public schools are growing far faster than that. Only about 4,600 students are using the scholarship program as it is only available to children with special needs, children living on tribal lands, children whose parents are active duty military and children zoned to attend officially-designated failing schools-about one-quarter of the students in Arizona. If expanded as passed by the Legislature, the program would enable less than 35,000 students to participate over all — less than 4 percent of public schools kids — hardly a funding threat, especially since most ESAs save the state about 10% per pupil. ESAs are an import funds go to the families directly and can fund qualified education expenses, including tuition at independent schools, textbooks, tutoring, online curricula and select courses at public schools. ESAs are making a huge difference in these children's lives and more students
I am in support. The law in question is truly a modest increase in the number of students who would be eligible for the ESA program - only about 35,000 more when fully implemented. It is misleading and disingenuous to say you’re stealing money from public schools or any small increase would destroy public education as we know when these numbers are so miniscule. These allegations are based in fear, put the brakes on competition in the education choice space and deny that ESAs are the clear answer to some students' basic academic needs. Most parents are happy with their public schools but not all. It's another education option everyone should be able to support.
The federal government is not fulfilling its obligation to fully secure the border on its own obviously, but since 2015 Arizona's Border Strike force has played an important role to stop serious narco-terrorism threats at the border by collaborating with federal agencies and local law enforcement. Almost 3,200 arrests and thousands of pounds of illegal drugs and other contraband are making a positive difference to reduce violent crime and drug trafficking.
Yes.
Yes. Most individuals receiving treatment through our state's mental health system do fine but those with chronic serious mental illnesses slip through the cracks. Untreated, they fill our jails, emergency rooms and homeless shelters, and often pose serious safety risks to themselves and others in the community. It's time the state recognize the need for long term treatment facilities for those who are anosognosic (do not have awareness that they are sick) and won't stay in treatment outside of a court order. And stigma isn't the reason most are not in treatment - the system doesn't accommodate nor have enough facilities for those who don't fit neatly into the recovery model continuum. Our society does not allow an Alzheimers patient to walk the streets at will untreated as they could pose a danger. Likewise, the mentally ill shouldn't need a police encounter to get help. We should stop shifting costs, wasting resources and reform this part of the system.
Students' understanding of history, our Constitution and what differentiates the United States from other countries.
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Age 36
Family I have three beautiful children and a loving husband. We have been together for 12 years.
Education B.S. Chemistry, cum laude, Northern Arizona University; J.D., cum laude, Notre Dame Law School
Work history I've been a prosecutor in Elkhart County, Indiana, and Cook County, Illinois. I've taught at Arizona Summit Law School and I currently have a small solo practice.
Twitter @JulieGunnigle
Previous public office n/a
Campaign Phone (480) 266-0129
I do not. This was a compromise that was unworthy of the sacrifices made by thousands of educators and support staff who risked their careers and in some cases their physical safety standing up for themselves, their students, and their communities.

Nothing short of restoring education funding to 2008 levels and competitive pay for education support (including facility and lunch workers) would have been acceptable.
I have spent nearly every week of the past three years speaking to the Arizona legislature (and individual legislators) about increasing funding for education. Arizona legislators can openly vote money into their own pockets via the bills they author and support. As a result, many of the Republican legislators benefit financially from diverting money from public schools to charter schools. While a public corruption prosecutor in Chicago, I used to put people in jail for this sort of behavior. Unfortunately, prosecutors in Arizona do not have the same laws as we did in Chicago. We will pay for education by eliminating these conflicts of interest such that our taxes fund public schools.Between this and the phasing out of billions of dollars of special interest tax credits, Arizona will be able to properly educate our students while not raising individual income tax rates.
No - for some reasons listed above. No elected official should have an ownership interested in institution funded by public money. Charter schools and public schools should have same anti-fraud, public bidding, and transparency measures to ensure our public dollars are not wasted.
Yes. I support these common sense gun control measures without hesitation and will stand up the NRA and their representatives in the legislature.
Arizona should support severe threat orders of protection, raise the minimum age to purchase any firearm to 21, and increase the number of counselors in schools to at least the national average.
I do not support any new tax cuts or credits until Arizona schools are fully funded to at least pre-2008 levels.
Yes. Marijuana use is less harmful with fewer side effects than alcohol. We should legalize it, tax it, and make sure it does not fall into the hands of children. We also need a competent regulatory agency to oversee legalization and ongoing administration.
Absolutely not. Arizona has taken the wrong approach by increasing restrictions on abortion providers and clinics. Abortion is a personal matter between a woman and her health care provider. The government's only role should be to ensure proper licensing of the clinic and provider (no different from other medical providers).
We should be preparing now and exploring options including wastewater reuse, conservation, agricultural efficiency, and forest management. The Central Arizona Water Conservation District Board has done an admirable job avoiding politicizing the appropriation of water for our state's future.
Yes. It is 2018 and it is ridiculous this has to keep coming up. We need to move toward inclusion and leave discrimination to the dustbin of history.
No. See above.
Small business is the engine that fuels growth in our state. We should provide small businesses with the same support and growth opportunities granted to big businesses. Also - properly funding education (particularly gifted education) will stimulate the growth of the knowledge economy going forward.

Childcare and health insurance costs hamper our economic growth. I believe that Arizona needs to do more to reign in costs for health care and needs to call a special session to avoid leaving the $50 million in free federal dollars for childcare on the table.
Absolutely not. Arizona Empowerment Scholarships should continue to only apply to special needs students, students from military families, and students from failing schools.

Expansion of the program would further erode public school funding and further enrich those who are comprised by conflicts of interest.
I will be voting no on Proposition 305 for reasons listed above.
Arizona should take no part in the federal government's border patrol responsibilities. Furthermore, Arizona should not participate in the militarization of the border. What is happening now to separated families is abhorrent. Arizona should do all in its power to help reunite families - especially those separated or held within our state. Finally, our leaders should advocate forcefully for a humane immigration policy that secures our borders without further victimizing those caught in aftereffects of our war on drugs and other failed interventions in Latin America.
No. That Don Shooter is running again is evidence that we have not made much progress in addressing sexual harassment in our legislature. Those expelled by a super-majority should not be eligible for reelection.
Ethics reform has not received enough attention. My first bill would be to ensure that candidates are not compromised by campaign finance before they reach public service, that elected officials are not able to use their office for private gain, and that politicians and agency heads are not able to leave out of a revolving door from public service to lobbyist work.
Dirty Money is the greatest threat to Arizona's future. Unlimited, anonymous donations corrupt our political process and make Arizona's politicians beholden to outside interests and not our constituents. This is a direct threat to democracy and we should vote dirty money out of our public offices at every opportunity.
Yes, of course we should take the $56 million in free federal dollars for childcare. It is legislative malpractice that the legislature neither appropriated these funds, nor called for a special session to appropriate these funds.
Yes, I believe we should provide foster families (including those who are fostering family members) with funds that are commensurate with raising, feeding, and educating the child. These families should also go through the same training and classes, and receive the same support as other foster families.
Age 39
Family Ben and I have been married for 13 years and have three daugters in public schools in 3rd, 5th and 7th grades.
Education Northern Arizona University/​MA Education Leadership 2018 - 2020, Phoenix Arizona State University/​MA Education, Special Education 2014 - 2016, Downtown University of Phoenix​/ MA Organizational Management 2002 -2004, Phoenix Arizona State University​/ BA Communications 1998-2002, Tempe
Work history Paradise Valley Unified School District/​8th Grade English Teacher 2016 - PRESENT, Scottsdale, AZ Paradise Valley Unified School District/​K-6 SPED Teacher 2014 - 2016, Scottsdale, AZ Paradise Valley Unified School District/​3rd Grade Teacher 2007 - 2008, Scottsdale, AZ Arizona Federal Credit Union /​Branch Operations & Marketing 1998-2005, Phoenix, AZ
Twitter @samuelsforaz
Previous public office none
Campaign Phone (602) 738-4116
As a teacher, I understand first-hand the needs of our students, schools and teachers. For more than a decade, my elected leaders in LD15 have been damaging Arizona’s public schools with decreased funding. As a result, we rank near the bottom nationally in nearly every measure: per pupil funding, class sizes, student to counselor ratio and teacher pay. All of this on top of having around 2,000 teacher vacancies last year. If elected, I will work to restore funding to public schools and bring an educator’s voice to the Capitol. I will listen to the concerns of voters and will more accurately represent the citizens that live in this district than those who have been in office for more than a decade.
As an educator, I’m grateful for my raise this year. It was at least a decade overdue. It may begin alleviating the strain felt by my colleagues. I’m hoping these dedicated teachers will feel comfortable quitting a second job or two and begin enjoying a higher quality of life, including spending more time with their friends and family. Perhaps fewer teachers will choose to leave the profession or the state. However, we know that our teachers are still woefully underpaid compared to the national average. We need at least another 10% raise to become competitive with neighboring states. I’m open to considering any funding measures that ensure a reduction in teacher turnover in Arizona.
We know that we’re in an educational crisis here in Arizona. We’ve neglected our teachers, students and schools for far too long, resulting in an estimated $1 billion deficit from pre-recession levels. I am a #RedforEd supporter and believe the 5 demands laid out prior to the walkout to be a reasonable place to start when it comes to restoring Arizona’s educational system. These demands are: 1. 20 percent salary increase 2. Restore education funding to 2008 levels 3. Competitive pay for all education support staff 4. Permanent salary including annual raises 5. No new tax cuts. For far too long, tax cuts have been provided to large corporations at the expense of students. I am also an #InvestinEd supporter and collected signatures for the funding measure to restore around $700 million back to our schools.
No, our charter schools are not held to the same accountability and transparency standards as public schools. In the last legislative session, the majority party voted unanimously to make it even harder to evaluate charter school financing and some individuals personally benefited financially from such actions. Any school that accepts public funding should accept students of varying educational needs and demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as be held to the same standards when it comes to publishing budgets.
Yes, I support stricter gun laws such as the ones listed above. Thoughts and prayers are no longer enough. It’s time to we make our schools and communities safer.
The number one way we can protect our schools is to invest in them. If we fully fund education, we can lower class sizes, allowing teachers to build more meaningful relationships and watch for warning signs. It’s also important to realize that teachers aren’t the only ones who can help in the schools. The American School Counselor Association recommends a student to counselor ratio of 1:240 and Arizona’s ratio is nearly 4 times as high. When students are no longer a number and lost in the crowd, we can support their needs while protecting schools.
As an educator, I’m tired of watching wealthy individuals and large corporations receive tax breaks at the expense of my students. I believe in tax cuts for small businesses, but not for those who aren’t paying their fair share.
Recreational marijuana should be legalized in Arizona, regulated and taxed. The funds received from taxation could be used to increase Education funding.
I support a woman’s right to chose. It is never OK to increase restrictions on abortion providers. Our government should never intervene in private matters that should be between a woman and her healthcare provider.
To prepare for drought, we need to: 1. Create incentives for conservation. Some options are water pricing techniques and creating a market for conserved water. We could also pay for lawn or pool removal or for the use of water efficient plumbing and landscaping. Water conservation education also plays a vital role. 2. Augment our water supply. We can accomplish this are by improving and increasing water reuse and also desalination of brackish (salty) groundwater. 3. Work together to reduce Colorado River use. One way we can accomplish this is by creating incentives for users to store water in Lake Mead or to forgo water for instream use.
Discrimination against any group of individuals for any reason is wrong. I would support this ban as we work toward being a more inclusive and accepting society.
I do not believe businesses should use religion to justify discrimination. Denying services to customers based on religious beliefs is a form of discrimination. I would rather live in an Arizona where inclusion and acceptance was the goal.
Education is always the answer. Horace Mann wrote, “Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.” Providing a high quality education to people of all walks of life encourages sustainable growth in all income levels of our economy. The only way to attract the high tech, high growth businesses we need to keep our economy robust is to get serious about restoring funding to public schools.
No, I do not support an expansion of the Empowerment Scholarship Account program. Vouchers were deemed unlawful in Arizona a decade ago because they divert tax dollars to fund private school tuition and ESAs are just a new term for the same program.
I will vote NO on Proposition 305. I will volunteer my time to support Save Our Schools Arizona, a grassroots organization focused on protecting public education, to help support the cause. Public school funding must be protected.
Arizona should work in partnership with Mexico to safely and humanely secure the border. I oppose the construction of a costly wall and would rather see our tax dollars spent on Education. Separating families is unconscionable. Immigrants are a vital part of a thriving economy, especially here in Arizona.
As a woman, I’m disappointed to hear that Don Shooter is running again. Sexual harassment abhorrent. An individual who has engaged in this behavior should permanently lose the right to run for office. Legislators shouldn’t have to serve with known sexual predators. Women are underrepresented at all levels of government. We need more women to run. There’s no place for behavior that encourages us to stay on the sidelines.
Yes, I believe protecting women’s reproductive rights has not received enough attention at the Capitol. It’s hard to believe in the year 2018, women’s issues are still underrepresented at the legislative level. We need to reverse the war on women. To better support women in our state, we need to decriminalize abortion, make birth control accessible and affordable as well as challenge policies and practices that deny access to reproductive and end-of-life care based on religious preference.
There is no doubt that we are in an educational crisis here in Arizona. We have neglected our schools for far too long. It’s time we restore funding to pre-recession levels with sustainable funding solutions. We must reduce class sizes, begin repairing schools’ infrastructure and decrease the student-to-counselor ratio to more closely match the 1:240 recommendation from the American School Counselor Association. Additionally, addressing school safety must be a top priority. If elected, I will work across the aisle to create common sense gun reform, beginning with universal background checks, allowing our students and teachers to head to schools focused on learning. No child should ever be afraid to go to school.
The state should absolutely accept $56 million for childcare for Arizona’s most vulnerable population. It’s shameful that our current LD15 leaders left our money on the table when we should have been investing in our future. Our children deserve better representation!
The ultimate goal is for children to be raised by their parents. When this is not a viable option, the second most appropriate placement is with family members. As a state, we should be paying kinship member the same rate as others. We shouldn’t penalize families who want to take on the responsibility by putting an undue financial burden on top of everyday parenting responsibilities.