What I'm Fighting For
Better Funding, Increased Teacher Pay and Fixing the Teacher Crisis
Arizona is 48th in the United States for per-pupil spending, and dead last for teacher pay. 95% of Arizona families choose public education, and investing in our schools means investing in our jobs, economy, and children’s futures.
As a graduate of Illinois public schools, and as a mother of three children all attending public school here in Tucson, I know our district, our state and our country can do better when it comes to funding public education. Our students deserve better resources to prepare them for college and their future careers, and our teachers deserve fair pay for the long hours they devote to our children. We have a shortage of teachers in Arizona and across the country. Less people are entering the education field and more teachers are changing careers because of poor pay, minimal benefits and a lack of representation in our government. Arizona elementary school teachers are paid the least in the nation. It will take a $200 million investment to get us to 49th place for teacher pay. We are THAT far behind. The time is now to fix this problem. I will help fix this by listening to and advocating for teachers and support staff in LD-10 and across the state. I will be the voice public school teachers need in our government and I will fight for the increased salaries they deserve.
As your representative, I will fight for our students, teachers and support staff. As a Region Lead with Save Our Schools, I fought against SB1431, the universal school voucher expansion bill. I will continue to work hard to ensure public education funds go to our public schools. I will fight for higher pay for our teachers and promote initiatives that will combat the teacher crisis and motivate educators, both seasoned professionals and those fresh out of school, to stay teaching. I will also fight for better resources for our students, including those that help students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds succeed and supporting initiatives that help break the school-to-prison pipeline. Better education and better lives for our children starts with our teachers, and I am ready to battle it out in Phoenix to make sure our students and teachers get the resources they need to teach and learn in a safe, productive and positive environment.
Quality Healthcare for All Arizonans
Protecting Medicare and KidsCare, Expanding Medicaid and Fighting for Women’s Health
Medical debt is the #1 reason for bankruptcy in America. As a patient of the Veterans Administration, I love the feeling of being able to see my doctor without worrying that I might not be able to afford my office visit, and all Arizonans deserve this same security when it comes to their health and their children’s health.
Tucson’s very own Dr. Andrew Weil has argued for years at the United States doesn’t have a healthcare system, instead we have a disease management system. We need to focus on prevention, which will ultimately lead to a healthier Arizona and lower medical costs in the process.
No citizen should have to worry about whether they can pay for their or their loved one’s check-ups or treatments. Lowering premium costs, protecting care for those with pre-existing conditions, providing access to mental health and substance abuse programs, and improving overall accessibility should not be partisan beliefs, and I will work to make all these happen by decreasing duplicate administrative costs and pushing back against the power insurance and pharmaceutical companies have over our health care system.
I support expanding and protecting Medicaid and Medicare. KidsCare, Arizona’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), provides health care for over 22,000 children in Arizona whose parents can’t afford to buy insurance but also make too much to qualify for Medicaid. Congress has finally reauthorized CHIP for six more years, and I will work to ensure funding for KidsCare continues. Thousands of children in Arizona rely on this program for basic doctor’s visits and necessary treatments for chronic conditions. Safeguarding this program and protecting our children’s health should not be a partisan issue, which is why I will work to protect it at the state level.
Autonomy & Women’s Health
I believe that every man, woman, and child has a right to medical freedom, and the government should not dictate what he/she can or cannot do with their body. The current administration has placed women’s health under attack. All women should have access to safe, low-cost reproductive health services including gynecologist visits, contraception and abortions, if needed. Although the 1973 Supreme Court Decision Roe v. Wade protects a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, there are still many laws put in place that aim to make access more difficult by, for instance, closing clinics and not covering procedure costs. These laws particularly impact minority and low-income communities where women cannot pay out of pocket or drive long distances for these services. This unequal treatment goes against our values as Arizonans and Americans. The only person who should have a say in a woman’s health is the woman herself, and I will fight to make sure all women in Arizona have equal, convenient and low-cost access to reproductive health services.
Embracing the Renewable Energy Economy
Jobs, Economy, education
I know that LD-10 voters want clean, safe energy to protect our environment and our children’s futures. With our nonstop sunshine, Tucson should be a hotbed of renewable energy research and production. I want to bring more renewable energy companies to Tucson through monetary incentives and bipartisan initiatives. Capitalizing on renewable energy would not only promote environmental sustainability, but would also be a vehicle for creating jobs in LD-10. Arizona is 33rd in the country for unemployment, and bringing more jobs to Southern Arizona while helping our environment means we all win.
My current job at Agren allows me to help build a bridge between large agricultural players, like Monsanto and Syngenta, and environmental agencies, like the Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund. Bridging this gap allows us to improve sustainability and protect the environment through technology, while ensuring farmers are not negatively impacted from an economic standpoint. I am devoted to protecting our public lands and animals, and Tucson provides the perfect location, weather and resources to lead the way in renewable energy research in Arizona and beyond. In this policy area, all my issues come together: when we have better education in Tucson, companies and families want to move here. With better education comes a fuller workforce, and with a fuller workforce comes more companies and job opportunities. Renewable energy is our future, our children’s future, and our economy’s future.
Health Care, Employment and Incarcerated Veteran Programs
On average, we lose 20 military veterans per day to suicide. These tragedies would be avoidable if veterans were given the tools they need to cope and succeed when they exit the military. As an Air Force Veteran, I understand firsthand the difficulties of getting an education and entering the workforce after years of service, and I’ve seen the tragic effects it can have on the lives of fellow veterans. When in office, I will be an advocate for veterans in LD-10, and I will listen to the concerns of fellow citizens who served our country.
Health & Employment
Although Veterans are guaranteed health care through the Veterans Health Administration, there are still problems that arise, from payment processes to long distances to the nearest provider. I am so grateful for the health care my six years of service provides, but there are logistics that can be fixed so that access to services and treatment is simpler and more cost-effective for veterans.
Veterans are also at increased risk for mental illness and substance abuse, particularly in the gap of time between leaving the military and joining the workforce. We cannot overlook those who served our country, which is why I support programs that help unemployed veterans find work, like the Veteran Toolkit Program implemented by the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services this year. I support building more targeted, innovative initiatives like this one to give veterans in LD-10 the concrete resources they need when transitioning out of service and into education and a new career, in addition to mental health services and resources to help combat substance abuse.
Unfortunately, many veterans do end up incarcerated for various reasons upon exiting service. It is important that incarcerated veterans also receive the treatments and resources they need to succeed upon their release, which is why I want to expand upon initiatives like the “Regaining Honor” program, implemented by the Arizona Department of Corrections at the State Prison in Tucson in 2016. This program, which involves housing incarcerated veterans together and giving them tools to finding employment upon their release, is one of many that have been implemented across the country to promote respect for veterans and their successful rehabilitation. The success rate of these programs has been astonishingly high, and has specifically helped many veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and addiction. Expanding upon programs like this one across the state, and then using them to kick-start more programs designed to help non-veteran inmates, will help strengthen rehabilitation in our public prisons, reduce the number of those who return to prison, and therefore help decrease our reliance on private prisons.