A few years ago, a student asked me if Arizona kids were worth less than kids in other states.
I was shocked by his question, and responded: “Of course not!”
Continuing, he asked, “Well, why are Arizona’s students funded so far below the national average in per-student funding? It sure seems like Arizona values its students less than other states do.”
That’s when I realized that we—as a state—are failing our children. I didn’t know then that I’d run for office, but I knew I needed to do more than just focus on helping my own students in the classroom—I needed to try to help all Arizona students get the resources they need to succeed in their classroom. I needed to get off the sidelines and into the game to make things better for Arizona’s kids.
In 2016, after I was named Arizona’s Teacher of the Year, I had the opportunity to travel the state and advocate for students and teachers from Sierra Vista to Flagstaff. During that time, I saw firsthand the importance of a highly educated workforce to the future economy of our state. I realized then, that our current state leadership has irresponsibly pursued short-term gains at the expense of funding our children.
Yes, we have amazing teachers doing incredible work with students in classrooms all across the state, but we are not supporting our schools in a sustainable way. We are not truly investing in our state’s future.
I know we can do better.
Over my 27 years of teaching, I’ve taught more than 3500 students. In that time, I’ve learned how to solve problems and how to reach people who sometimes don’t want to be reached.
I’ve learned that the classroom should be a marketplace for ideas, where every student has the opportunity to learn, to speak, and to grow.
Yet, that isn’t what I've seen at the State Capitol. Our current Republican legislators have allowed partisanship to guide their votes, rather than doing what is right for our state. I've watched as politicians say they are working to “get things done,” while undermining our voting rights, underfunding our public schools, passing a universal voucher bill, and reintroducing junk insurance plans as needed choice in healthcare in Arizona.
I’m done watching, and I’m running for the State Senate.