Helen Hunter is running as a Democrat for an Arizona House seat up for election in District 16 --- which includes part of Queen Creek in Pinal County, Gold Canyon, Apache Junction and east Mesa.
The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 3 general election is Oct. 5. Register to vote at Servicearizona.com or request a form from Maricopa County at 602-506-1511 (maricopa.gov) or Pinal County at 520-866-7100 (pinalcountyaz.gov).
Name: Helen Hunter
Career and education: Chaplain, educator and pastor. Board-certified chaplain.
bachelor of arts in political science, foreign language ed; master of divinity degree in theology; and doctor of ministry in humanities, pastoral leadership
Political experience: Officer/leader and member of civil rights organization advocating for social and criminal justice leadership which addressed community policing, homelessness, child custody, employment, K-12 and higher ed, and housing. Served on Mesa Police Department Use of Force Committee, and currently serving on Department of Public Safety African American Community Advisory Board. Employed as a board-certified chaplain providing health care advocacy and support for patients, staff, and families.
Years as an Arizona resident: 13-plus
Family: Married, three children, six grandchildren
What makes you to the best candidate to represent your party in the November General Election?: Sensitivity to the needs and conditions of the LD16 community and citizens of the state of Arizona. Demonstrated compassionate and effective leadership with the ability to embrace and promote diversity and inclusion. Willingness, experience, and recognition affirming and working in a bipartisan manner with multiple stakeholders.
What are the three most important issues you will tackle if elected?: Health care and COVID-19 mitigation, K-12 school funding, and unemployment/economy.
What is one commendation and one point of improvement you can work on regarding public safety in the next term?: Commendation: East Valley police chiefs’ efforts to improve community policing. Point of Improvement: School re-openings and ongoing COVID 19 management.
In response to COVID-19 budget deficits, how can the state adopt long-term structural changes to its budget in the foreseeable future?: Revisit the state’s tax structure, identify alternative sources of revenue and reformulate funding allocation.
What can you do to help improve the economy and business community?: Promote safe re-opening of businesses, maintain unemployment benefits coupled with revamping of work requirements and job retraining; i.e., provide more teachers’ aides, heath care workers, and student loan forgiveness in return for short-term support in K-12 education; provide more community-based resources for working parents, essential workers and small business owners.
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?: Review and consider tenets of Proposition 208; revamp and equalize voucher program; assign unemployed workers to K-12 schools (facility, cafeteria, teaching assistants, bus drivers) and small businesses via pubic assistance two-week work requirement.
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?: Assess the impact of COVID-19 on the use of existing transportation infrastructure, including bridges, roads, public bus and light rail transport. Prioritize infrastructure improvement requirements based on qualitative usage analyses. Review and define expansion requirements for light rail and public transportation services on an ongoing basis relative to migration or decline in COVID-19. Promote the use of energy-efficient, environmentally conscious transportation — that is, electric and CNG vehicles — by state and local governments entities.