The Star endorses Stefanie Mach and Bruce Wheeler for representatives in Legislative District 10 and David Bradley for senator.
The Democratic incumbents have served their district well and should return. Republican challengers Todd Clodfelter for the House and Mark Morrison for Senate both have valuable personal and professional experience, and we hope they continue to pursue public service.
After just one term, Mach is able to speak in depth about critical issues; she’s been a quick study. She also brings several underrepresented perspectives to the Legislature. She spent a decade working for a nonprofit and is an advocate for people with disabilities. If re-elected, she would like to press for legislation to make every bit of money donated to politicians recorded and traceable.
On the issue of funding the $317 million court-mandated public school reimbursement, Mach believes many sources will have to be cobbled together for the money. She added that tax reform is essential, including making sure tax credits fulfill their intended purpose of business and job expansion.
Wheeler, the assistant House minority leader, is seeking his third consecutive term. In addition to a term in the House in the 1970s, he served on the Tucson City Council from 1987 to 1995.
He says he came back to public service because of what he saw happening to education and the economy. Wheeler has shown himself to be an effective leader and is respected by members of both parties. He has demonstrated the ability to push for good legislation and stop bad bills.
For example, he helped stop a bill to expand vouchers for private school tuition that would have hurt public schools. He worked across party lines to pass Medicaid legislation that gave coverage to an additional 320,000 people and prevented the continuation of the $377 million deficit health-care institutions and hospitals experienced from the previous year alone.
In the next session, he’d like to revisit the $450 million bond proposal for research and development at the University of Arizona. It was a widely supported “no brainer,” he says, that is essential — along with private investment — to create high-paying jobs.
Bradley served in the House for eight years before being elected to the Senate in 2012. Professionally, he has worked 35 years in child welfare and behavorial health. He has impressive knowledge of the legislative process and the budget.
Saying the Legislature took money away from the public schools and called it a surplus, he believes the quickest way to make up the deficit created by paying the $317 million to schools would be to rescind the 2011 corporate tax cuts. He also supports increasing beer, wine and spirits taxes in the broader context of looking at all transaction privilege taxes. Both would require a lot of “political courage,” he says.
We share Bradley’s view that the Legislature should take a longer view. “Somewhere between 20 to 25 million people eventually will live in the corridor between Nogales and Las Vegas — maybe in 30 years or 50 years,” he observes. In the meantime, as Arizona considers how to protect air and water quality, to improve schools and to plan transportation, Bradley suggests taking a cue from Native Americans who think out seven generations.
In a district with a wealth of strong candidates, we believe Wheeler, Mach and Bradley are most qualified.