An effective lawmaker finds collaborative solutions to Arizona's complicated issues, such as public education, economic development, health care. Productive legislators remember that they represent not only people who think as they do, but also those who hold other opinions. They forge alliances with people who belong to other political parties and seek common ground.
And for this reason, the Arizona Daily Star endorses Jo Holt over incumbent Sen. Al Melvin for state Senate in District 11.
Holt is a newcomer and a Democrat. She is a retired biochemist. "I'm a problem-solver, that's what you do in science - you find the hardest problem and try to solve it. The problems are solvable."
Melvin, a Republican, has been in the Arizona Senate for four years. During that time he has advocated the notion that our state should become a site for recycling and storing nuclear waste; he voted to allow Arizona to ignore federal laws, executive orders and regulations, consistently voted against public-education funding while claiming that Arizona's funding isn't as low as experts say (we're near the bottom of the country).
Melvin consistently casts people with other views as somehow unpatriotic - he declared, for example, that Democrats don't fly American flags at their homes - and his if-you're-not-with-me-you're-against-me style world view impairs working on practical solutions for Arizona's problems.
Holt readily states that she is not an expert on many issues. She offers closing tax loopholes and adding investigators to the Arizona Department of Revenue to collect owed taxes as ways to boost revenue.
We find her willingness to say she doesn't have all the answers refreshing, and unusual in a political landscape where to not have all the answers could be twisted into a perceived weakness.
Instead, we believe that Holt is staying true to her scientific roots. She wants the data before she draws conclusions - an approach that has far better odds of producing a well-considered and sensible result than one that comes to an ideological conclusion first and then molds details to fit the answer.
The Arizona Daily Star endorses Jo Holt for Arizona Senate in District 11.
On the House side, we endorse Dave Joseph and Adam Kwasman.
Joseph, a Democrat, has a background in business and media. He worked with the Regional Transportation Authority - the most recent and successful example of large-scale cooperation -and we find his approach consistent with that model.
"The tide is changing," Joseph said. "I ask, how can we be innovative? I'm running because I think change is possible."
Kwasman is a young, high-energy Republican who has worked in Washington, D.C., and on the 2010 Jesse Kelly congressional campaign.
The other Republican in the race, state Sen. Steve Smith, has a record of voting against women's health-care choice rights. Kwasman shares his anti-choice views, but we hope his background as an economist - a self-described "nerd" - and financial background will trump ideological forays into reproductive rights.
We appreciate Kwasman's exuberance, although we expect he will learn to tone it down if elected.
In Joseph we find a mature, down-to-earth businessman who has decided that it's time to lend his considerable communication and consensus-building skills to his community.
The voters of District 11 will take him up on the offer.
The Star endorses Kwasman and Joseph for the House in District 11.
Arizona Daily Star