In Legislative District 10, the Star endorses David Bradley for Senate and Kirsten Engel and Domingo DeGrazia for the House.
David Bradley, a Democrat running for his final term in the Senate, has impressive knowledge of the legislative process and the issues that concern his district and the state. His background in child welfare and behavioral health allow him to be a strong voice in support of some of the most vulnerable.
He believes in taking a long-term approach to legislation, saying the message of his career is that we have a duty to those that follow. Part of fulfilling that duty is supporting public education, which Bradley calls the antidote to poverty and the way for economic development to thrive. He also sees schools as not only a place to learn, but also as resource centers that can help at-risk students receive the attention they need — everything from oral health to behavioral issues.
Tax policy is fundamental to most discussions, he said, so he supports a bipartisan evaluation that would look to rebuild the system by looking at personal and corporate income taxes, sales tax revenue and broadening the tax base for the state. Additional revenue is needed not only to fund obligations such as public education, he noted, but Arizona is more than $20 billion behind in much-needed infrastructure improvements and maintenance.
Bradley’s opponent, Republican Marilyn Wiles, is a former federal government worker who runs her own management consulting firm. She is a conservative who said it is time for new thinking and fresh ideas, but fell short on specifics.
Kirsten Engel, a professor of environmental and administrative law at the University of Arizona, said one of the reasons she hopes to be re-elected for a second term is to continue her work on criminal justice reform issues. She is a Democrat and currently part of a bipartisan committee examining incarceration and recidivism in Arizona, which has one of the highest rates of imprisonment in the nation.
Environmental and water issues, along with proper funding of public education, including making higher education more affordable, continue to be at the top of her list of concerns, she said. To meet those needs, she advocates for a bipartisan group to examine revenue sources and to best determine which corporate tax reductions are benefiting the state and which are not.
Engel will also push for charter school accountability, reform for School Tuition Organizations and making sure there is transparency in how taxpayer money is being used for private education.
Domingo DeGrazia, an attorney working in foster care and Department of Child Safety cases running for his first term, shares many of the same concerns as the other candidates, including gun safety and judicial reform.
He said it is critical after the Red for Ed movement that legislators follow through on the wish of the people to make sure education funding is in place. Tax incentives and credits should align with the values of Arizonans, he said, and any change to tax policy should protect those making less.
On public safety issues, DeGrazia, a Democrat, said law enforcement should be properly funded not only to be well-trained and well-equipped, but also as part of the support from the community that will help keep them in Arizona, instead of joining departments elsewhere.
Republican Todd Clodfelter, who is running for re-election in the House, faltered during his first term with a bill to force Tucson Unified School District to sell underenrolled Santa Rita High School for pennies on the dollar to the Vail Unified School District. It was a misguided effort that went against local control and would have hurt TUSD taxpayers. He also failed to see how the Confederate flag, a symbol of secession and slavery, was not an appropriate screensaver for a computer he used inside the Legislature.
The Star endorses David Bradley for state Senate and Kirsten Engel and Domingo DeGrazia for state House in Legislative District 10.