The 2020 primary election is days away, and several candidates are vying for seats in the Arizona State Legislature.
There are two candidates competing for Arizona’s state senate district 15 in the Republican Primary, Aug. 4 — Nancy Barto and Heather Carter.
The district covers parts of north Phoenix and north Scottsdale.
The Daily Independent fielded several questions to each candidate primed to be listed on the ballot ahead of the Aug. 4 primary. Answers from Ms. Barto are below. Some answers have been cut for space. Ms. Carter has not responded to numerous requests for answers to this questionnaire, via phone, email and social media.
Career and Education: Homemaker, school and community volunteer; studied vocal performance and elementary Education at Arizona State University and ASU West.
Political experience: Current LD 15 State Representative, District 15 GOP Chairman and Precinct Committeewoman
Years as an Arizona resident: 58
Family: Married, three daughters, three grandchildren
Website: NancyBarto.com and NancysRecord.com
What makes you to the best candidate to represent your party in the November General Election?
Limiting government’s reach in our lives and the safety of the rule of law support a strong economy. I have consistently stood for both. These are what enable innovative industry and small business to thrive and generate the private resources it takes to care for our families and the larger community around us. I’ve consistently stood for these values and have the voting record supporting it – having sponsored numerous bills expanding affordable health care options, protecting the right to life, the Second Amendment, free speech, standing against illegal immigration and increasing independent government oversight.
What are the three most important issues you will tackle if elected?
Funding government’s fundamental obligations – education, public safety and infrastructure will be job No. 1.
Constituent issues always take priority. Holding vacation rental owners (like AirBnB) accountable is a pressing need that is negatively impacting many neighborhoods across the state as is protecting women’s sports – ensuring biological women and girls are not forced to compete against biological males identifying as female in competitive sports. There are obvious and inherent differences between the sexes that advantage biological males even after hormone therapy. Arizona should protect the mental health, physical safety and career opportunities of Arizona’s girls.
System accountability. Taxpayers should expect government accountability yet some of Arizona’s largest agencies lack independent oversight. I will continue to fight for such in mental health, the Corrections, Child Safety and others.
What is one commendation and one point of improvement you can work on regarding public safety in the next term?
I have worked diligently to expand Arizona’s transition program which prepares released prisoners for successful reintegration back into the community and significantly reduces recidivism and crime. This preparation defines what “corrections” should be and is saving taxpayers money and protects the communities to which these inmates eventually return from repeat victimization. Next term I will revive the six mental health reform bills I sponsored this session which would have built on that success in a number of ways, including focusing mental health dollars on appropriate treatment for individuals with chronic serious mental illness before they can harm the public and waste limited resources on repeated hospitalizations, homelessness and jail. I will continue to work with my colleagues for these important system changes to advance public safety.
In response to COVID-19 budget deficits, how can the state adopt long-term structural changes to its budget in the foreseeable future?
Arizona’s economy was on sound footing following the Great Recession due to the Arizona Legislature’s and the President’s actions. Incrementally reducing citizens’ tax and regulatory burdens, paying off (state) debt, ending rollover gimmicks and saving, rather than spending, the $1 billion surplus in the rainy day fund enabled significant public education funding increases and infrastructure and public safety and infrastructure investments like increased corrections officer pay. It’s easier to make long-term structural changes such as simplifying Arizona’s complex property tax and education funding systems when revenues are plentiful but voters should expect more accountable use of their tax dollars within Arizona’s agencies in any economy, but especially during times of stress.
What can you do to help improve the economy and business community?
We must avoid the pitfalls of raising taxes and fees, but streamline government and continue to reduce overzealous regulations that add to the cost of doing business in Arizona instead.
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?
New research reveals more each day regarding who is most at risk, and younger students through elementary and middle school seem neither to be the “super-spreaders” experts suspected they were at first, nor are they most at risk of contracting the disease. Depending on the communities they serve, districts will be impacted in different ways across the state so with community input, state policies should respond with commensurate flexibility as well as accountable oversight to ensure students progress as they should in the 2020-2021 school year.
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?
We will know more as the actual revenue picture develops, but it will be important to look at each project on its merits and prioritize infrastructure spending accordingly.