All Arizonans should have access to quality, affordable healthcare.
One of the most significant moments of my last twelve years in the Legislature came when Democrats worked across the partisan divide with then Governor Jan Brewer in 2013 to fully accept the Affordable Care Act in Arizona and expand health coverage to nearly 400,000 additional people in poverty, despite opposition from the Senate President and the Speaker of the House.
This policy we implemented in a bipartisan manner not only dramatically improved the quality of life of those who gained coverage, it also kept our hospitals afloat, many of which were in serious danger of bankruptcy after years of shouldering costs from unreimbursed care.
Sadly, we’ve seen no such courage from our current Governor. He has repeatedly attacked the Affordable Care Act, and even called for its complete repeal, a move most Arizonans disagree with.
More Arizonans than ever have access to health insurance. But health insurance premiums and deductibles are rising too rapidly, creating financial hardships for many hard-working families. We need to give all Arizonans more quality, affordable options to purchase health insurance. Healthcare is about people, not profit and as governor I will ensure every Arizonan has greater choice for quality healthcare.
You can read more about Steve’s healthcare proposals here.
Our public schools are the foundation for our economic and societal success.
It’s time to stop the destruction of our K-12 public schools. 12-year-old computers, 25-year-old textbooks, HVAC systems held together with duct tape, 52% of our teaching positions now vacant or held by those without proper qualifications, and 1:900 student ratios for counselors are just a few elements of our current crisis.
We have the money to restore the $1.1 billion in cuts absorbed by our system since 2009 — this governor and this legislature have simply chosen to give it away.
In addition to the $4 billion lost annually from our education budget in the form of corporate tax cuts, we give away more than $13.7 billion in sales tax loopholes each year to no good end. Instead, we must use that money to prioritize teacher recruitment, training, and retention, as well as immediate upgrades in classroom resources like technology, curriculum, tutoring and teacher aides, and we must start now.
As governor, I will solve this problem with a three-pronged approach:
- We must pay our Teachers and Education Support Professionals as the professionals they are. That means permanent 20% raises across the board from sustainable revenue sources, not just rosy economic forecasts.
- I will ensure we fully fund our suspended building renewal formula. As it stands, we only fund building renewal grants at 10% of what was legally mandated by voters in 1998. When we fail to keep our school facilities safely maintained, we also fail to create jobs for local tradespeople to keep our school in good shape, hurting local economies.
- Offer Additional Assistance to all public schools. This is a funding formula that pays for things like computers and textbooks, and has only been funded since 2009 at around 10% of what it should be. It needs to be fully restored so that our students are fully prepared to take an active part in the modern economy.
Arizona’s economy should work for everyone, not just those at the top.
To grow our economy, we must invest in ourselves — not simply give away our revenues to out-of-state corporations in the form of unaccountable and ineffective tax cuts. Businesses hire folks when government helps to provide the education and transportation infrastructure needed for business to succeed.
I will do this in three big ways as governor:
- Bold infrastructure projects to fix our crumbling highways and build better public and rail transit;
- Investment in our university system to encourage analytical and creative thinking and invent industries of the future right here in Arizona instead of bribing companies to come here from elsewhere; and
- Full funding of money cut from vital job preparation programs at the high school and community college level.
Long before I even considered running for office, I built coalitions to bring a modern streetcar to downtown Tucson which was leveraged to revitalize a dying downtown with 24/7 excitement, create great new jobs, and infuse more than $1.5 billion in new private development.
Every $1 billion dollars invested in our transportation system creates around 19,000 new jobs while improving our quality of life through better access to markets and workplaces. As governor, I will convene community leaders to build new projects in all corners of our state.
I will also permanently end raids on our gas taxes in the Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF) so that we can repair and maintain our road network throughout the state, especially in rural areas that have suffered from this diversion.
Our universities are our original economic development engines, but they have suffered cuts of more than $2.5 billion since 2009. Instead of bribing hot new companies to relocate to Arizona from elsewhere, we should grow our own right here, started by the brilliant graduates of ASU, UofA, and NAU.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs develop future generations of skilled workers to power our diverse economy. In Arizona, we have 14 Joint Technical Education Districts (JTED), which offer CTE courses that help train our state’s future workforce while improving college readiness. While our high school graduation rates in Arizona are an anemic 78%, students who take at least one JTED course in their career increase their graduation rate to 98%.
Despite this success, JTEDs have been under attack from Governor Ducey. I will restore 9th Grade JTED programs, reinstitute JTED entrepreneurship programs, and provide opportunities for partnerships with union and employer apprenticeships.
Our community colleges are an ideal platform for a lifetime of training and retraining in an economy wherein entire industries appear and disappear overnight. People who lose their jobs mid-career must have a place to acquire new job skills, and our community college system is ideally positioned to do just that. Governor Ducey has zeroed-out state funding to the Pima and Maricopa Community College systems, and I will restore that funding.
When Arizona’s women succeed, we all succeed.
I raised my two daughters to be adventurers. I always encouraged them to follow their passions and never let anything or anyone stand in their way.
When Arizona’s women succeed, we all succeed. As governor, I will work on the following priorities:
- First and foremost, we must close the gender pay gap. There should be equal pay for equal work, and we must enact the Equal Rights Amendment.
- Arizona will make it easier to access healthcare that caters to the unique needs of women, including breast cancer screenings and reproductive care. I have a 100% voting record from Planned Parenthood for twelve years running to show that this is more than just talk.
- For working mothers, Arizona must offer affordable childcare options and work to prevent cuts to programs like CHIP and SNAP, which benefits many of Arizona’s kids and acts as a lifeline for many mothers.
Everyone should have the freedom to love who they choose without fear of discrimination.
Arizona’s LGBTQ+ community has a long history of major contributions to our state — one of the many reasons Arizona is so energetic, beautiful, and diverse.
I helped lead the fight in the State Senate to kill SB1062, the bill that would have allowed private businesses to refuse service to LGBTQ+ individuals, and successfully argued for a veto on the part of Governor Jan Brewer.
As governor, I will protect the progress we’ve made as a state and as a country. I will also help create and sustain programs that benefit our LGBTQ+ youth including comprehensive sex education and anti-bullying initiatives.
Arizona’s diversity is one of its greatest assets.
Our history and geography have created the state we love — a state created by immigrants, filled with a diversity of cultures from around the world, especially from Mexico and Central America. This is who we are, and this is who we want to be. A welcoming, loving land of opportunity for all.
President Trump cruelly ended the DACA program, hypocritically citing “rule of law” as he directly attacked the Dreamers — among the best and brightest children in our state, many of whom served our country in the military — and the engines who will move our economy forward. Governor Ducey responded by praising Trump’s decision to deny residency for these children to the only home they have ever known.
Arizona should be welcoming to law-abiding individuals, no matter their background. As Governor, I will stand up to President Trump, and fight to protect our Dreamers.
The proposed border wall would do nothing to improve Arizona’s security — it would simply serve as a wall between us and our economic future. More than one third of our daily retail sales comes from legal Mexican visitors.
There are real problems with cartels smuggling drugs at our border. We must ensure our law enforcement officials and border agents must have the resources they need to combat the cartel violence and human and drug trafficking.
My stance on immigration is simple; our law enforcement should be working to keep our communities safe and our policies should be geared towards keeping families together while addressing the needs of our economy.
Arizona is on the front lines of climate change
Shrinking water supplies. Intense wildland fires. Soaring temperatures. Climate change is real, human caused, and must be dealt with now.
My first act as Governor will be to sign an executive order putting Arizona back in the Climate Change Accords as a state.
Instead of holding secret meetings with hand-picked participants designed to solve his political problems, as Governor Ducey tried last year, we need to look to Governor Bruce Babbitt as a model for how to solve our water problems.
In creating his groundbreaking Groundwater Management Act in 1980, everyone was at the table. Everyone played a part. That created a law that has lasted for nearly 40 years.
As we refresh that law with new science and new conditions, I will convene a truly public process where we all work together to preserve our common watershed for the present and the future.
We can eliminate private prisons and reduce crime
Private prisons are a moral, ethical, and economic disaster, and they do nothing to keep us safe. Yet they have sucked up a steadily increasing portion of our state revenues. It’s time for common-sense bipartisan ideas to eliminate them while cutting crime rates.
The Arizona Department of Corrections estimates that 70% of the 19,000 people released from state prison each year have an active substance abuse problem when they are set free. They are more likely to commit more crimes and create more victims, and then we all pay to incarcerate them again — money that could be going to educate our children.
We have a substance abuse treatment program that is cheaper than prison and has been proven successful in reducing recidivism by half. But each year we only treat 900 out of the around 14,000 who could benefit.
If we provided substance abuse treatment for all 14,000, then half of them would become contributing members of our society instead of returning to prison, and we could cut the numbers of crimes and victims in half as well. And we would no longer need to operate private prisons. That’s a win-win-win-win.
I will provide the leadership as governor to fix this broken system with proven solutions.