Arizona Legislative District 13: Get to know Montenegro, Osborne

Posted 7/28/20

The 2020 primary is rapidly approaching, and several candidates are vying for seats in the Arizona State Legislature.

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Arizona Legislative District 13: Get to know Montenegro, Osborne

Posted

The 2020 primary is rapidly approaching, and several candidates are vying for seats in the Arizona State Legislature.

Three candidates are competing for two seats in legislative district 13’s Republican Primary on Aug. 4 — incumbent Tim Dunn of Yuma, challenger Steve Montenegro of Goodyear and incumbent Joanne Osborne of Goodyear.

The district covers Buckeye, El Mirage, Glendale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Surprise, Wellton, Wickenburg and parts of Yuma.

The Daily Independent fielded several questions to each candidate. Mr. Dunn, has not returned his questionnaire. Mr. Montenegro’s and Ms. Osborne’s answers are below.

Steven Montenegro

Age: 38

Career and Education: Ministry pastor at Catalyst Church and executive director for Desert Reach, an organization helping inner-city high school students graduate and succeed in life. Small business owner. Bachelor of science in political science, associates degree in theology.

Political experience: I served in the Arizona House for eight years and was later elected to the State Senate. I held positions like speaker pro-tem and majority leader. I voted for the largest tax cuts in state history, the Arizona Jobs Bill and SB1070. I authored Arizona’s transparency laws, the American Civics Act, and the ban on affirmative action. I maintained a 100% pro-life, pro-family, pro-2nd Amendment, and pro-border security voting record, and won Hero of the Taxpayer and Friend of the Family awards. My position in leadership mattered when I helped bring the F-35’s to Luke AFB. I was Ted Cruz’s state chairman and was proud to be an Arizona delegate for Donald Trump at the 2016 National Convention, where I was a prominent defender of our nominee on a lot of Spanish-speaking media outlets.

Years as an Arizona resident: 25 years

Family: One extraordinary wife, Melissa (married 11 years); and two amazing girls, Adelynn (8) and Emalynn Hope (8 months). Melissa is a charter school administrator.

What makes you to the best candidate to represent your party in the November General Election?

I offer the most experience and an unparalleled record of getting the job done. We made Arizona #1 in so many areas when I was in office. Seeing Arizona start to fall back was a major reason I was asked to run again, and why my wife and I agreed to do it.

What are the three most important issues you will tackle if elected?

Economy/jobs; education and illegal immigration/public safety.

What is one commendation and one point of improvement you can work on regarding public safety in the next term?

I’ll give law enforcement the tools they need to do the job and we’re going to push back against this crazy “defund the police” nonsense. I back the badge!

In response to COVID-19 budget deficits, how can the state adopt long-term structural changes to its budget in the foreseeable future?

When I left office the state was on its way to building a $1 billion Rainy Day Fund, so let’s see how the economy performs in response to the trillions in existing stimulus, and what is left of the Rainy Day Fund, before committing to long-term changes that might not be required. Let’s keep calm heads and not leap to conclusions or make long-term decisions based on a short-term crisis.

What can you do to help improve the economy and business community?

At the time I left office, Arizona was #1 or at the top in so many economic categories it was really amazing. Best state for start-ups, a top location for relocating companies, top rankings from CEOs in terms of where to set up or expand a company, we had an increasingly well-educated workforce because of things we were doing with our universities, and we had cut taxes and regulation to get government out of the way.  Working with Governor Ducey and groups like the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Technology Council, and others, we made sure that America knew that Arizona was “Open For Business”.  Getting Arizona back on top means returning to the things we know work, and resisting liberal impulses to raise taxes and expand government.

What should the state’s involvement be in the public education system, especially since most of its funding comes from the state budget, and the way education will be delivered is likely to change because of the pandemic?

Roughly half of our state’s budget is spent on education, so we’ll be very involved in it. As a longtime proponent of school choice and charter schools, and with my wife and I having education experience, watching schools evolve is exciting because it will likely result in more options and choices for parents and their kids.

What are your plans to improve the transportation infrastructure throughout Arizona, keeping in mind that the way we get around in the future will be affected by how the pandemic plays out?

I’ve always been a supporter of improving our infrastructure in a fiscally responsible way. I don’t give anything a blank check, but we need our infrastructure to keep up. I expect more telecommuting which is great for easing up on rush hour traffic, but we’re still going to need an upgraded freeway system as we continue to grow.

Joanne Osborne

Age: From the Diamond Age

Career and Education: Owner, Osborne Jewelers 30 years. Harvard – Executive Education in State and Local Government; Gateway Community College — studies — biology; Phoenix College — studies — biology 1985 — AA.

Political experience: Arizona House of Representatives — LD13; vice mayor — city of Goodyear; councilmember — city of Goodyear 2007-2018.

What makes you to the best candidate to represent your party in the November General Election?

As a women leader, I bring a unique voice to the Republican caucus in the Arizona Legislature. My great depth of experience and perspective in both the private and public sectors enables me to work effectively on behalf of all citizens of Arizona. A city leader, business leader, hospital board member, chamber board member, Homeless Youth Connection board member, YMCA board member and mentor to hundreds of teenagers – it has been my honor to serve my community.

What are the three most important issues you will tackle if elected?

Reenergizing the economy, public health including COVID-19 issues, education, and engaging the community to unite, listen, and heal our land.

What is one commendation and one point of improvement you can work on regarding public safety in the next term?

I am one of the few former city council members in the legislature. When I was on the Goodyear Council, we supplied our officers with body cameras and the needed funding to store, process and preserve the film footage. These actions not only gave transparency, but also protection for our citizens and law enforcement. It is vitally important we train our police in many categories; a few would be community policing, de-escalation and use of non-violent alternatives to force, investigate deadly use of force, educate on communication and culture differences in the community.

In response to COVID-19 budget deficits, how can the state adopt long-term structural changes to its budget in the foreseeable future?

The Arizona economy was one of the strongest ever before the virus hit our state. Not only did we have a low unemployment rate, growth of industries, and solid Rainy Day Fund, but we were set to invest in infrastructure, education, and debt. We have not seen the total impact the shut down of our economy has had on our state, but as we monitor the states revenues, thoughtful, conservative fiscal policies will need to be discussed. I am pleased we did pass a structurally balanced, essential budget, so that the people of Arizona know their daily government agencies will continue to work for them and our children will continue to be educated.

What can you do to help improve the economy and business community?

Arizona has been a national leader in business-friendly deregulation, lowering fees, and attracting new businesses and entrepreneurs to locate and open here. We also made a bold step by passing occupational licensing reciprocity so folks moving to Arizona wouldn’t need more hours of training.  As we move forward, attracting manufacturing companies to Arizona, strategically searching for companies, such as pharmaceutical and electronics, would not only be good for our state, but the nation as a whole. I also believe we need to increase our marketing dollars on tourism and focus on workforce development.

What should the state’s involvement be in the public education system, especially since most of its funding comes from the state budget, and the way education will be delivered is likely to change because of the pandemic? 

Education is best left to the local school districts, charters, and private entities. As a state, we need to have a Special Session to address the needs of schools to reopen safely, with funding flexibility, help with funding for PPE, address a whole host of issues, but most importantly, to listen and engage. Our children’s brightest future is still is a top priority!

What are your plans to improve the transportation infrastructure throughout Arizona, keeping in mind that the way we get around in the future will be affected by how the pandemic plays out?

Our streets, highways, and future thoroughfares will continue to be an important priority. We will need to stop and reassess the projects and costs, rank projects for priority and safety, and take a collaborative approach between state and local governments and regional transportation boards.

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