I would not be running if I thought my opponents were doing an adequate job for education. They are not. On the AZ Schools Now Report Card, Jill Norgaard got an F, a 25%. She sponsored bills to expand vouchers to all students, providing No Accountability and draining funds from public schools. Bob Robson did nothing to stop her bills.
Their voting records are the reason I am asking voters to consider for the State House,
"Vote for one, Mitzi Epstein, and you're done." That will give us all the best chance to win a seat in favor of fairness for people, not partisan politics.
Both of my opponents:
Allowed the Worst Education Budget Ever in the 2015 legislative session. In 2016, they continued the deep cuts that were made in 2015. They continued the $116 million cut to District Additional Assistance.
That hurts students. (HB2707)
Gave us Prop123 and nothing else. They have made it clear that Prop 123 is the only thing they will do to increase funding for schools. Arizona has the money on hand to provide more for schools,
but my opponents used it for new tax loopholes instead of schools. My opponents gave away tax dollars to special interests instead of making good on their promise to Arizona's children, and to YOU.
- Both of my opponents Cut Funding for CTE. They both voted for cuts to Career and Technical Education in 2015 and only partially restored it in 2016.
Voted against KidsCare repeatedly. It’s healthcare for children in low-income working families, and the cost to Arizona’s budget is $0. They eventually voted for KidsCare, but only when it also took money out of public schools via an expansion of vouchers.
It is my hope that the other reason they finally voted Yes for KidsCare is because of relentless rallying from parents, teachers, social workers, and people who care.
In contrast, once I am in office, you will not have to rally a crowd to get my attention to support the children of Arizona!
Punched School Override and Bond elections in the nose, figuratively. They voted for the re-write of Arizona’s election laws that will allow out-of-state donors to sway bond and override elections and hide who they are (see SB1516). Small donations have always been anonymous and should continue to be so. But when you spend thousands of dollars for ads to tell people to vote against our schools, you should be required to disclose who you are. My opponents voted to let them hide. What are they really hiding? It's wrong when politicians use new election laws to manipulate the election results for their own benefit.
Both of my opponents voted for this expansion of more money in politics and less transparency.
- Voted for vouchers – repeatedly. They drain money from public schools. These voucher programs have practically no accountability. Public funds for private schools should be reserved only for the most unusual cases of need, and accountability measures should be put in place to protect taxpayers, families, teachers, and most importantly, students. Instead of just giving more and more families a debit card to use our tax dollars without any accountability, we should study best practices used by families who are wisely using ESAs for unusual special needs. (HB2482, SB1279 --Ms. Norgaard sponsored the bills. Mr. Robson passed them in committee.)
- Are my opponents on board with the horrible agenda to End Public Education? They voted for $5 million to the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty, funded by the Koch brothers, and headed by William Boyes who proclaims his agenda to End Public Education. (HB2695)
Voted for Flex Loans. Like “PAYDAY LOANS” they put families in a debt trap. Interest rates set over 200% on loans makes families suffer and makes our economy less stable. YOU, the voters of Arizona smartly voted "NO" on payday loans in a recent election. You know that predatory lending -- like payday loans -- sends our dollars out of state. (HB2611)
Instead, we should be finding more ways to support our local businesses and keep families and our local economy strong.
Both of my opponents voted to turn the lives of students and teachers upside down, so that politicians could make a political point. In 2015, they both voted yes for HB2190. It would have required that teachers completely change what students learn in each grade. And it would have required that change be made between March and August of 2016 - an incredibly fast timeline that would have caused massive problems. It was an extreme notion that fortunately died in the state senate.
- Both are funding their campaigns primarily from lobbyists and special interest groups. Do you think the votes above show the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups? (see the AZ Secretary of State's website.)