While April saw the Legislature continue to grapple, start and stall over what to include in the state budget (still not decided!), it also brought several important milestones - the most exciting of which is that on April 4, I submitted signatures to officially appear on November’s ballot as your Senate candidate in the new Legislative District 12! The opportunity to continue serving the people of Ahwatukee, Chandler, Gila River and Tempe is one of the greatest honors of my life and I vow to do everything in my power to earn your vote these next 6+ months, just as I have tried to do the last 6 years in the House. If you’re a new constituent, please check out my stance on the issues - I welcome your feedback!
Another win: HB2604 has been passed and signed into law. As it is for every bill I develop, it started with real people who want to solve a problem together. It’s not the lobbyists; it’s the real people. Shante Saulsberry and Robert Nichols brought solutions to me to protect victims of domestic violence, and I said, “let’s work on this!” We did the work over interim to meet with the courts, victims rights groups, and police departments. This bill extends the timeframe for Orders of Protection for victims of domestic violence and other crimes, keeping them safer longer as they navigate into sustainable safety and productivity. There is more to do on this issue, but many people contributed to this achievement and I am incredibly proud to have worked to make this happen.
In April, I also celebrated community with dozens of residents:
- Annual Easter parade
- honored Passover with family and friends
- heard directly from the General Consul of Ukraine about the tragic situation there
- met with grassroots groups working on environmental issues and economic security
- and gathered with public education advocates to keep a spotlight on the still-dire need to fund the classrooms educating 95% of Arizona’s school children - our future workforce and leaders!
Our future doctors, accountants, and emergency responders are in our public schools today. We need to invest in high quality public education for a bright future for all o
Meanwhile, the Legislature has passed its 100th day and continues to negotiate the state budget. Sadly, it’s not good “negotiating” when the majority party continues to ignore half the people of the state by refusing to work with Democrats.
Arizona has $1.3 billion available year after year that could be used to meet ongoing needs like investments in public education, a worthy wage for caregivers, support for small businesses, and affordable housing. In addition to that, we have over $3 billion available for one-time projects like building and repairing roads, water infrastructure, affordable housing, and paying down debt.
Yes, I listed affordable housing in both the one-time and ongoing investments lists. I hear you saying, “the rent is too high!” Wages have not kept up with costs. Teachers, caregivers, emergency responders: they are all hoping for a 3 to 4% raise in the next year, but rent has risen 30 to 50%. So many millennials put off buying their first home, and now that they are ready, home prices are sky-high.
I spoke with a mom whose adult son lives at home and she called it, “Failure to Launch.” I said, “No. It’s a failure of the Arizona Legislature to create an environment for living.” For too long, we have had a governor and legislature whose only focus has been on making Arizona a good “environment for business” but what good is it if real people can’t thrive?
I say, “it’s high time to create a good environment for living in Arizona!” Excellent public education, quality childcare, affordable housing, and a plan for water – these are the fundamentals to solve the workforce shortage and to make sensible growth for everybody.
I believe in working with market forces to build a strong economy, and to give consumers optimal choices. But I do not believe in market fairies. Market fairies will not come along and magically make new jobs with high pay because billionaires got a tax cut.
I believe we have to work on solutions collaboratively to create more affordable housing and to provide worthy wages for important jobs. The Republican majority in the legislature has tried “ignore it and see what happens” for long enough. Bad things are happening to good people.
I am fighting against the majority party’s plan to squander our state budget on more tax giveaways to a tiny crop of billionaires and political cronies. I have added many accountability measures to bills to hold lawmakers accountable to you. I am working as hard as I can to advocate for a state budget that invests in real people and our communities, here in Arizona!
Stay tuned and stay engaged because we could wrap up the budget and this legislative session in May.
I promise I’ll be there fighting for you every day.
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