Sedona Red Rock News, State Sen. Farley aims to win governor’s seat

By Ron Eland, 5/16/18

After serving the past dozen years as a state legislator, Arizona Sen. Steve Farley now has his sights set on something even higher.

Farley, a Democrat, has been touring the state for months as he spreads his message of change in hopes of being Arizona’s next governor.

“When you see the missed opportunities year after year, compared to a few major victories, that lights a fire in your belly,” Farley said last week during a campaign stop in Sedona. “I’m not just interested in winning — and the blue team beating up on the red team — I’m interested in healing our democracy.“I’m tired of us looking at each other as enemies as opposed to fellow Americans who might disagree on things these days. We need to work together and solve problems. People don’t want reality stars or entertainers in their politics. Instead, they want someone to solve the problems and be the grown-up in the room.”Farley was first elected to the Arizona Legislature as representative from
District 28 in 2006, eventually rising to become House Assistant Minority Leader. Now representing the citizens of District 9 as state senator since 2012, he serves as Senate Assistant Minority Leader and the ranking Democrat on the finance committee, as well as a member of the appropriations and joint legislative budget committees.Prior to serving in office, Farley helped create coalitions to focus on the transportation issue in his hometown of Tucson. From there, people encouraged him to run for office.“There was a vacant seat in the Legislature and it turned out I really enjoyed the process of trying to figure out the best policies to improve people’s lives,” Farley said. “I never felt as though it was just the people in my district I represented, but everyone in the state. I’m not remotely interested in going to Washington, D.C. or being governor just to govern.”

Farley said the first and foremost issue facing Arizona is education. His parents were public education teachers and both of his daughters graduated from Tucson High School, so he said he’s had a front-row seat to see what’s wrong with the system in the state. He said there is a great need to restore cuts that have been made by this and past administrations. He praised the Red for Ed movement throughout Arizona, which led to a 20 percent pay raise for teachers by 2020.

“This wasn’t just about raises for the teachers, even though they were desperately needed because 52.8 percent of our teaching positions are either vacant or held by someone without proper qualifications,” he said. “That’s a crisis, and we have to pay our teachers and all of our educators. But we also have to create situations where they can safely teach, where buildings aren’t falling apart and [they] have textbooks that aren’t 25 years old. That means there’s a whole lot more needed than what we just did.”

Farley, the first legislator in the country to introduce a bill banning texting while driving, said he knows the importance of serving the entire state as governor and not just Maricopa County. He said one reason is because he’s not from Maricopa County and has been standing up for rural areas for the last 12 years.

“Arizona is a state, not simply a county,” he said. “This entire state needs to be listened to and our different needs need to be met. I’ve talked to a lot of people, and they’re excited about the idea of having a governor who’s not from Maricopa County. We have to see ourselves as all different types of people who are in the same boat together. So, I don’t plan to spend all my time in Phoenix. This nonstop road trip isn’t going to stop once elected — I want to keep it going.”

May 16, 2018