Butler: What I want to accomplish at the Arizona Legislature

I’m proud to call Arizona and Paradise Valley home. My husband, Ben, and I are native Arizonans with deep roots in our community.  We are small business owners and the parents of two sons.

Kelli Butler

Kelli Butler

I am a candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives because I care deeply about Arizona and the future of our beautiful state. I grew up largely within the boundaries of District 28 and attended Cocopah and Chaparral before studying early childhood education at the University of Arizona.

I first became interested in public policy when our boys were students at Simis and Meadows schools in the Madison district. As a volunteer in their classrooms, it quickly became apparent to me that our state’s children were no longer the priority they were when I was in school.

Class sizes were increasing and great teachers were leaving the profession. Later, as a member of the Madison Education Foundation Executive Board, I became aware of the inequities between schools across the Valley and throughout our state.

In order to maintain a strong economy, and ensure that all of our state’s children have opportunities to pursue their American dream, we must commit to adequately funding public schools, community colleges, trade schools and state universities.

I know that my neighbors in Paradise Valley are concerned about education and workforce development. Despite the passage of Prop. 123, Arizona is at the bottom of nearly all education metrics; per-pupil funding, average teacher salary, and student retention/graduation rates.

We face an enormous teacher shortage as teachers leave the state or the profession to pursue more gainful employment. Our reputation for poorly funded public schools and universities discourages companies from moving to Arizona.

Instead, we must communicate a long-term vision for education by responsibly and sustainably restoring funds cut from K-12, community college, and university budgets. I recognize the crucial role career and technical training play, and I will work to ensure their continuation and success, along with the encouragement of public-private partnerships.

At the same time, I firmly believe that all schools that receive public funding must be held accountable for their effective and efficient use of our tax dollars.

As a state representative, I will be a strong voice for the restoration of funding for education in Arizona. Now that the economy is recovering, it is critical that we make decisions on allocating revenues responsibly. I will oppose increased private prison spending, additional special interest tax cuts and any further expansion of education vouchers.

We need leaders who will focus on creating bipartisan solutions in order to implement an economic agenda that creates educational and employment opportunities for all. Debating divisive social policy may create headlines, but it does not fix our underfunded public schools or help our at-risk children.

Instead, we need pragmatic leadership to tackle and solve our state’s most pressing issues. I am a fiscal moderate. I have had decades of experience helping to manage all aspects of our family’s dental practice. I know how to create a budget, meet a payroll and maintain contracts with insurance companies and suppliers.

I’ve managed our business through challenging economic and regulatory environments — and gained experience that will serve me well in the state legislature. I know there are times for calculated investment and there are times to reign in spending. The key to future success is balance. Smart investment pays dividends.  I will push for a cohesive, comprehensive, and responsible fiscal agenda that will strengthen our economy, attract businesses, improve our competitive standing, and enhance our way of life.

Protecting the beauty and the natural resources of our unique community for future generations is a value I hold dear, as is our tradition of local governance. Legislative District 28 has a history of electing sensible, moderate legislators. LD 28 is one of only two districts in the state with one representative from each side of the aisle.

Our district welcomes balance and the competition of ideas. I look forward to continuing that tradition as your State House Representative.

I appreciate your consideration and ask for your vote.

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