Arizona House LD28 candidates share thoughts on economic development policy

A view of the Arizona Legislature complex in downtown Phoenix. (Submitted photo)

A view of the Arizona Legislature complex in downtown Phoenix. (Submitted photo)

Three Paradise Valley candidates are pursuing two seats to represent Legislative District 28 in the House of Representatives at the Arizona Legislature in the Nov. 8 general election.

The local candidates are: Kelli Butler, a democrat; and Mary Hamway and Maria Syms, who are both republicans. Ms. Hamway and Ms. Syms have both held elected office at the Town of Paradise Valley while Ms. Butler lost a 2014 bid for the Arizona Senate.

The Arizona House of Representatives, which is the lower house of the local Legislature, elects its members to two-year terms with a term limit of four consecutive stints in office.

Today, the Republican Party holds a majority of 36 to 24 at the House while the state’s 30 legislative district — a district consists of at least 170,000 people — elects two representatives for each district.

Ms. Butler ran unopposed in the August primary while Ms. Hamway and Ms. Syms emerged from a field of five candidates that included Kenneth Bowers, Matt Morales and Alberto Gutier.

To better understand certain political points, the Town of Paradise Valley Independent asked each candidate how they think they will be able to create more jobs and craft statewide policies working toward a diversification of the Arizona economy.

Mary Hamway

•What can a politician at the Arizona House do to spur new jobs or lure new industries to help bolster and diversify our statewide economy?

Mary Hamway

Mary Hamway

Arizona is a great place to live, work and raise a family because we welcome innovation and offer untapped growth potential and opportunity.

The foundation for growing and diversifying the economy are a quality educational system that meets the needs of every student, good public infrastructure and available water supplies.

 

 

 

•What are specific actions you will take to help bolster our local economy at the Arizona House of Representatives if you are elected?

As a Representative, I would support policies that are consistent with growing the economy and reducing the cost of doing business.  The goal should be to create quality jobs, with a focus on developing a highly skilled work force. Tax policies should be kept low and predictable for Arizona businesses. Entrepreneurial start-up support and more venture capital, as well as investing in the finest research facilities at our three major universities will help diversify the economy. We should continue to support our military installations and aerospace industries while recognizing new opportunities in manufacturing, bioscience and biotechnology, and renewable energy.

And lastly, we must recognize the importance of tourism and the great things our state has to offer. In 2015, over 42 million people visited Arizona, who collectively spent $21 billion dollars.  As a Representative, I would be very mindful that state budget sets the priorities, but if we are to successfully compete in the global economy, we must continue to evolve, create and innovate.

Kelli Butler

•What can a politician at the Arizona House do to spur new jobs or lure new industries to help bolster and diversify our statewide economy?

Kelli Butler

Kelli Butler

As a state Representative, I will focus on an agenda that strengthens our economy, improves our competitive position and enhances our way of life. It is critical that we elect moderate, sensible leaders who will work across the aisle to determine our greatest priorities for strategic investment, while ensuring that our overall tax burden is competitive nationally, and is broadly and equitably shared.

The Legislature should determine areas of opportunity where wise investment will pay future dividends. High quality education and workforce development are among the most important investments we can make to ensure our state’s future economic prosperity. Arizona is at the bottom of nearly all education metrics; per-pupil funding, average teacher salary, and student retention/graduation rates.

We are not adequately developing the workforce needed to compete in the global economy, and our reputation for poorly funded schools and universities causes companies to doubt our commitment to workforce development. Instead, we must elect leaders committed to responsibly and sustainably restore funds to K-12 education, career and technical training, and university budgets.

Diversifying our business base is critical to our economic prosperity and resiliency; we should promote and incentivize a broader range of economic sectors. Now is the time to commit resources to ensure a favorable climate for entrepreneurs and opportunities for partnerships. Technology businesses and start-ups must have access to capital, including early-stage capital, and a regulatory environment that is not overly restrictive. Long overdue maintenance and investment in our transportation infrastructure will pay off through increased trade, manufacturing and economic development.

In recent years, Arizona’s Legislature has too often become distracted by divisive social issues, instead of focusing on a positive, economic agenda. Instead, we should elect sensible leaders who will improve our state’s reputation. We must send the message that Arizona is consistently “Open for Business” — that we value predictable and stable policy, balancing the need for low taxes with appropriate investment.

•What are specific actions you will take to help bolster our local economy at the Arizona House of Representatives if you are elected?

As a small business owner, helping to manage a healthcare business, I have a unique perspective on a broad range of critical issues facing our state.

I view workforce development as our state’s most critical need — I’ve seen the results of the cuts to our public schools firsthand, as a parent and as an employer. We must prioritize funding to ensure that all our children receive a high-quality education that prepares them for future jobs in our 21st Century economy.

I will carefully evaluate tax policy to ensure that the tax burden is broadly and equitably shared, while ensuring adequate revenue to support the vital functions of government: education, infrastructure, public safety and healthcare. I will work to develop strategic, long-range plans that reflect our priorities.

I believe the Legislature should respect the role of local governments in determining the priorities for their own communities. Like many Arizona communities, the Town of Paradise Valley has unique character and a long tradition of self-governance. Recently, the state Legislature introduced measures that limit local control and could prove detrimental to local economies.

Maria Syms

•What can a politician at the Arizona House do to spur new jobs or lure new industries to help bolster and diversify our statewide economy?

Job creation, economic growth and a high quality education system are key factors for sustained prosperity in Arizona.

Maria Syms

Maria Syms

A leader in the Arizona House can work collaboratively with all stakeholders to create the very best environment for businesses to thrive. This would include eliminating anti-competitive practices, reducing needless government regulations on businesses that serve no practical public health or safety purpose, and maintaining a competitive tax climate.

In addition, investment in education from birth to graduation will ensure the creation of a highly skilled, globally competitive workforce.  This includes funding early childhood development programs such as First Things First and Full-Day Kindergarten as well as focusing on attracting and retaining quality teachers for K-12 education.

Another way to encourage diversification in our economy is to restore funding to our public universities and encourage science, technology, math and career readiness.

•What are specific actions you will take to help bolster our local economy at the Arizona House of Representatives if you are elected?

As your state Representative, I will support business-friendly laws that decrease burdensome regulations and obstacles to growth.  Small businesses are the backbone of the Arizona economy and we must do everything we can to get government out of the way and allow the free market to thrive.

Hardworking Arizonans deserve the opportunity to make a living and as your Representative, I will work to create a business-friendly environment by encouraging pro-growth tax policies, eliminating anti-competitive regulations, helping small business and start-ups thrive, cutting government red tape, and promoting economic development and recruitment efforts so Arizona is first for commerce and job creation.

Policies aimed at elevating the quality of our education options and having a highly skilled workforce, will also go a long way toward attracting companies to our state and I will make funding education a top priority.

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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