How would you use your position as an elected official to help businesses create jobs in Southern Arizona?
I have been a small business owner for more than 21 years, so I understand what small businesses need so they can thrive and create good quality jobs. Instead of the current legislative majority's approach of giving big bailouts to large out-of-state corporations, we need to focus on giving Southern Arizona businesses the first crack at state and local contracts, so those jobs don't go to people in China or India.
Should the qualifications for Medicaid or AHCCCS be broadened to make more people eligible?
The current legislative majority made huge cuts to healthcare for kids and others in poverty, which not only hurt those citizens, it put our hospitals in financial danger due to dramatically increased costs of uncompensated care. I support obeying the will of voters who passed Proposition 204 in 2000, requiring the state to make sure that all people in poverty have the health care they need. This move will actually bring more money into the state because of new federal guidelines offering a huge federal match -- we get up to $13 for every $1 we invest, and our hospitals will regain their financial health -- boosting our economy and creating thousands of new jobs.
If you were in a position to vote on SB1070, would you have voted for or against it?
I am one of the 32 people in the Legislature in 2010 who did vote against SB1070 because it did nothing to solve the immigration problem. It kept the problem alive, maintaining a national platform for its proponents to keep yelling on extremist talk radio. It cost our state hundreds of millions of dollars in lost business, has prolonged our recession, and has divided us from each other for no good reason other than political grandstanding. We need to work together for true comprehensive immigration reform along with much more support for our law enforcement to crack down on criminal gangs smuggling guns, drugs, and humans at the border. 1070 has not made our state safer, has not improved our schools, and has not created any jobs. It's time to focus on what really matters: Public safety, education, and jobs.
In a world of finite resources, what if anything would you be willing to cut to better fund education?
I would cut some of the more than $10 billion in corporate tax loopholes in our special-interest-riddled sales tax code. Las Vegas-based Southwest Gas doesn't need $17 million in tax breaks every year on their purchases of 4" pipes. Country-club members don't need a tax break on their membership dues. Our kids DO need a good education so they can compete in the world economy.
Should local government fight to keep the Rosemont Copper Mine out or encourage the company to stay?
Why would we want to endanger our water supply and our tourism industry just so a foreign mining company can ship off billions of dollars in profits to their home office in Canada? We can do better than that. It's time we focused our economic development efforts on home-grown companies who keep their profits here and don't put other parts of our economy at risk.
What is the most important issue in your race?
My constituents are still hurting badly. Many can't find a job, they've lost their homes and their healthcare, and their kids are struggling to learn in newly overcrowded classrooms. We need good jobs and good schools. Now.