LD16 General Election Debate

– I’d like to welcome you. Good evening. We’re glad you’ve joined us. My name is Mike Hutchinson. I’ll be moderator for
this evening’s forum. This forum is sponsored by
Arizona State University and the Citizen’s Clean
Elections Commission. By way of information, ASU is
a non-partisan organization, that is, they never
support or oppose any candidate or
any political party. For this reason, the
Clean Elections Commission has chosen ASU to conduct
its candidates forum in Legislative District 16. The Clean Elections Act
is a campaign finance reform measure which was passed by Arizona voters in 1998. Participation as a Clean
Elections candidate is strictly voluntary. The system provides
full public funding for qualified candidates
who illustrate the support of their
constituents by gathering $5 qualifying contributions
from registered voters in their legislative district. They must also adhere
to contribution and spending limits, they may not accept money
from special interest groups, and they agree to
participate in these forums. This election cycle,
the Citizens Clean
Elections Commission has also invited traditional campaigning candidates
to participate. If you hold up your cards,
if you hold your cards up, one of our volunteers
will pick it up and deliver it to me. We screen questions for clarity, to eliminate
duplications, or speeches or personal attacks
on candidates. If you need another card, if a question comes up during
the opening statements, you want another card,
just hold your hand up. There is an independent
timer, Kathy, sitting in the front
row, who will see that all the candidates
have equal time for answers to questions, and will tell them
when their time is up. We ask that you remain
polite to all the candidates and give them a fair and
uninterrupted hearing no matter how strongly
you may agree or disagree with anything being said. This means no applause,
outbursts or cheers, except when we introduce
the candidates. This is especially
important as post captioning services will be made
available after the debate for those individuals
that are hard of hearing. As such, I will refer
to each candidate by their full name
prior to each question, and ask the candidate speak
clearly into their microphone. Also, before we get started, we ask everyone to please
turn off or silence any mobile phones or
other electronic devices you may have with you. Our format this evening
will be an opening statement from each candidate
for three minutes, they each have three minutes. Two minutes to
answer the various audience questions that we get. Then three minutes each
for a closing statement. The candidate this
evening running for Senate are Scott Pryor,
who is a Democrat. The candidates this evening
running for the House … We’ll introduce
him, his opening … this evening for the
House of Representatives are Cara Pryor, a Democrat,
and Kelly Townsend, a Republican and a Clean
Elections candidate. The order in which the
candidates will speak is determined
alphabetically by last name, and will progress from
that starting point. The closing will be
in reverse order. So, we’re ready to start. If you have cards,
please raise your hand. Those will be picked up. We’re going to ask Cara Pryor, will you start with your
opening comments, please? – [Cara] Sure, can
everybody hear me okay? Perhaps we should worry
less about judging people for being Mormon or
Baptist or Muslim or gay or straight or
black or white or Latino or by their religious
or political brands, and worry more about
electing thoughtful, serious and ethical politicians on both sides of
the political aisle who are willing to work
together for progress, quoted from Charity
Sunshine Tillemann. My name is Cara Pryor
and I’m a Progressive candidate for the Arizona House
in Legislative District 16. I’m a member of the
Arizona Democratic Party’s Progressive Caucus, as well
as a State Committee person. I am a co-host of the
Progressive Voices of America, or, sorry, Progressive
Voices of Arizona internet radio show,
and I currently work as a critical dimensions
inspector technician for a semiconductor parts
cleaning company in Phoenix. As a Progressive, my
concentration will be to focus on serving
the people of Arizona, and to help ensure every
person within the borders of our state is treated
with respect and dignity. We all deserve the same
opportunity to succeed. Influence by special interest
groups and corporations over any member
of our legislature should not be tolerated, period. If I am elected, it will
be my responsibility to work toward protecting
people’s individual rights as outlined in
Arizona Constitution Article Two, Section Two. I will make it my personal
goal to help protect people and our environment
from being exploited by corporations and
special interest groups, who are only driven
by greed and profit. I will take great pride
in helping educate our current and future
generations of children so they may also be given
the opportunity to succeed. As a candidate and
a woman, I fully and unapologetically
support a woman’s right to make her own
healthcare decisions. As for the government,
special interest organizations and/or individuals
are concerned, I firmly believe
they have absolutely no right to infringe
upon those rights. As a candidate and a gun owner, I, too, support the
Second Amendment and the right to bear arms as outlined in the
Bill of Rights. I believe that with a
common sense approach, it is possible to
enact legislation that will prevent firearms from
falling into the wrong hands and without infringing
upon the rights of legal gun owners. As a candidate and a taxpayer, I am against the privatization
of schools and prisons unless the industries
are nonprofit and have complete
transparency with regards to how the taxpayer
money is being used. Government entitlements
should not be used to help for-profit industries
bolster their income on the backs of the taxpayers. As a candidate who
is also a humanist, I find that all people
should be treated equal, and that the government
should protect everyone’s rights equally. No organizations or
special interest groups should be given rights
that are denied to others. I believe it is time
to return the power of our government back
to the people of Arizona. We are the government and
we need to all be more interactive with the
legislative process. Accountability and
common sense approach is what I want to
bring to the Capitol. Thank you. (applause) – [Mike] Thank you. Scott Pryor, would
you please give us your opening remarks? – America does not need
another political campaign based on denial and avoidance
of some of our real problems. It needs a crusade to reform
and renew our country, its institutions and
political systems. This is a quote
from Richard Lamm, former Governor of Colorado. My name is Scott Pryor. I am a Progressive
candidate for the Arizona Senate in Legislative
District 16. I am the current
Co-Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party’s
Progressive Caucus, Democratic Party State
Committee person, and Democratic Precinct
Committee person. I would like to thank
ASU Polytechnic, Clean Elections Commission
for having this event this evening, to get
people to come out and participate in
our election cycle. I would like to also welcome
those in the audience from the LGBT community,
the Dreamers that are here, and those from the Gilbert 23. For those of you who don’t know, you can look that up online. It’s very important
to a lot of people. I would also like
to personally thank all of our veterans
for their service. I know there are veterans here. I would personally
like to apologize for the treatment that
you have been given by the country you have served. I am the son of Chief
Petty Officer Mary Pryor, a 23-year veteran
of the U.S. Navy. She’s right there. At an early age she
taught me, my brother and my sister that
accepting responsibility is more important
than finding blame, that common sense is more
important than extremism, education is more
important that propaganda, and that humanity is more
important the ideology. These are the ideas I wish
to bring to the Capitol. I support the Second Amendment, and the right to bear arms, but I also believe,
like 92% of our country, that Americans would like
to use some common sense in legislation and background
checks for gun laws. I think this is something
that can easily be done if we could get our
elected officials to actually vote like
the people ask them to. I believe that a
woman has the right to make her own
healthcare decisions, and as a man, I have
no right whatsoever to tell a woman how to
make those decisions. Neither does the government. I believe that if we spent
as much time and energy on the wellbeing of our
children after they are born as we do before they are born, then we would not have
a 16% poverty rate for children in our district,
or 11% of our children in our district without
health insurance. Most issues in Arizona
can be solved with one major change in our state
and local governments, by giving people back
control of our government. It is time we start
making ethical behavior of our elected
officials a priority. This will be the quickest and
surest way to fix our state. If we hold legislators
accountable and penalize them when
they have backroom meetings and meetings with
lobbyists that are not on the public record,
it’ll make a difference. I’m here because I believe
in people not politics. I believe that politics
and career politicians have destroyed the
power of the people and handed it over
to the corporations and special interests. I believe that if we hold
elected official accountable, we can create a better
system and economy for the people of Arizona. I believe that we
should stop giving tax breaks to
corporations while we’re screaming about
entitlements to people, and I believe that we
can use a common sense approach and fix
our state’s problems so that it benefits all of us. Thank you. (applause) – [Mike] Thank you. Thank you, Scott. Kelly Townsend, now,
your opening remarks. – [Kelly] Thank you. And I wanted to
start by thanking ASU for hosting this and
for the Clean Elections for allowing us to come
and have open dialogue about our issues. My name is Kelly Townsend. I am the current incumbent
for the Arizona House, one of the seats, that are … Well, they’re not open
but running for (mumbles) Doug Coleman is my seatmate. Both of us have advanced
on to the general election and we both won the primary. I am a veteran. I got involved in politics
again after many years of working with
women, specifically at La Clinica del Valle up
in Oregon for some time, and then down here, working with women
bringing their babies into the world, as a doula. I don’t know if anybody
knows what a doula is, but it’s basically a birth
coach, kind of like a midwife. I was thoroughly enjoying my job and loved the service of people, especially those who
are underprivileged. Then I realized
that, I could see that our country was in trouble. I could see that our
Constitution was in trouble. As a veteran, I
had given an oath to protect and defend
that Constitution, and that oath did not end when I got out of
the military in 1992. I was too old to go
back into the military and so I chose to get
involved this way. It has been my pleasure. It has been my pleasure
to represent you. Every Arizonan is
important to me. All of your voices
are important to me. I’m going to do my
best to represent you. Obviously I can’t represent
and make decisions that are going to please every
last person in the district, but I’m going to do my
best to reach out to you and to listen to you. My door’s always been open. It’s been a privilege. I don’t feel like
my job’s done yet, so I would like
another two years to go and continue this work. While I’ve been down there, I have been the Co-Chair
of the Veteran’s Caucus. I flew back to
Washington D.C. to meet with Hal Rogers, who is
the Appropriations Chair at the U.S. House,
and to talk to him about the situation in Arizona, especially our rural
veterans and their access to healthcare and their
access to the VA itself, and pleaded our case. I talked to him about
some of the horrific things that happen to
women down near the border and the trophy trees that we see with young women being
raped and they’re putting their underwears on
trees like ornaments. Many of those are children,
children’s underwears. I think that’s something
that needs to be addressed. Also, Vice-Chair of the
Reform and Human Services, which had many social
issues coming through there like the child
welfare and the cases that weren’t being investigated. Those things are all
very important to me. It has been my pleasure
and I look forward to answering your
questions tonight. Thank you. – [Mike] Thank you, Kelly. Now is our time for questions. We have several that
have been submitted. Are there additional questions? Here’s a hand here. Someone will come and
pick that up, sir. Okay, let’s start
with the questions. We’re going to ask Cara Pryor
to start with the answers. You have two minutes. – Okay. – [Mike] Do you feel
that a person’s faith should have an effect
on public policy? – Actually, I believe
that if it’s your belief, that it should be
only that, a belief, and that everybody
should be represented the same regardless of
whether they have God or whether they have no God. I really don’t think that
it should make a difference. I’m a firm believer of
separation of church and state. I don’t know if that
answers the question, but that’s how I feel. – [Mike] Okay, thank you. Mr. Pryor. – [Scott] Can you
repeat that again? – [Mike] Do you feel
that a person’s faith should have an effect or impact on public policy decisions? – It’s a tough question
because everybody in the country has some sort
of faith or lack thereof. I am an ordained minister. I have been since 1999. I believe that faith
is something that
comes from within. I don’t think that
you can actually make balanced legislation
based on a single faith. Realistically, you have
to take into account many different faiths
when you make legislation. For example, the recent
Hobby Lobby case. Not all religious
beliefs follow the idea that birth control is a sin, so we shouldn’t be
legislating that people are not allowed to provide that. For example, Holly
Lobby isn’t actually providing the contraception
for their employees, the insurance company
that the employees are paying for are
the ones supplying it. It is a very rocky road. It’s really not one of
those things that’s easy to discuss because
people’s faiths tend to get a little heated at times
when they are arguing or when they are
discussing issues. So the best, I think,
way to do that is to keep legislation and laws balanced and separate from
any specific faith. Of course, some people
are going to be using their faith to make
their decisions, and there’s nothing
wrong with that, but we can’t legislate one
person’s faith to another. It’s not balanced,
it’s not right, and it goes against
the Constitution, which keeps the separation
of church and state. The establishment clause
was there not to declare a religion in the United States, but to allow everybody
coming here to be able to worship in their own
way without interference. – [Mike] Thank you. Miss Townsend, let me
repeat the question. Do you feel that a
person’s faith should have an effect or impact on
public policy decisions? – Thank you, Mike. I wanted to thank Scott
for an honest answer. I thought that was very
heartfelt and transparent. What comes to my mind right
away is George Washington. I have on my wall a quote
of his where he says you cannot govern without
God and the Bible. That was his faith. He believed, and he just said
it as a blanket statement. You cannot govern … I think it was just flat out you cannot govern without
God and the Bible. I hope I didn’t
mess that quote up, but that’s the gist of it. So if we were going to say
that, no, you are not allowed to factor in your
own personal faith into this, then we
would have to admonish George Washington,
our fonder, who did, and believed that as a
blanket statement to all, that’s how he felt, and
that anyone governing should have God and the Bible. I’m not going to apologize,
because I look up to him, and I think that that
doesn’t change today. I have a firm faith. I can’t abandon my faith. But at the same time, I
am Libertarian at heart. My faith is how I govern
my own personal life. I would never try to push
that onto someone else. When I make a decision,
when I push yes or no, it’s going to be is this bill
what’s good for our state? Is it going to protect those … This last bill we had
that had the issue about the people being
able to not offer contraceptives or
whatever here in Arizona, to me was putting
two groups of people against each other, and I had
a very hard time with that. End of the day, yes, my
foundation is my faith, but I think that going forward, it’s what’s best for our state, to make our decisions. – [Mike] Thank you. We now have our second
question from the audience. There’s a number of questions
that have been submitted associated with
protecting animals. I’m not going to
read all of them. I’m going to try to summarize
it into one question that the candidates
will be able to answer. Mr. Pryor, you’re the
first one to respond. What kind of laws
would you support to protect animals from abuse? – There are currently animal
cruelty laws on the books. So, of course,
enforcement of those laws is very important and we need
to make sure that happens. But we also have to have
some sort of preventative legislation, kennel
laws for example, making sure that
boarding facilities are kept to a specific standard, to not only protect the
animals in their care, but also to protect themselves
from any kind of wrongdoing. This, of course, is a very
important topic to me. I am a rescue pet owner. I’ve rescued several
dogs and many cats over the past 20 years. I see them not as pets,
I see them as my family. We do not have children. We are childless by choice. So our dogs and our
cats are our children, and we love them just
like any family member. As a matter of fact,
they probably eat better and sleep better
than we ever do. But it is important for
us to actually protect those, because they
can’t protect themselves if they’re locked in a cage. They can’t protect
themselves if they’re shoved into a 9 by 12 room and
left for several hours and 23 of them ended up dying, 21 in the room, one
did manage to escape and was hit by a car,
and one I don’t think anybody knows exactly
how the pet died. It is very important. We need to support
legislation to make sure that there are
legislation in place and requirements in place
for boarding facilities that they have to follow. Having an on-call veterinarian
would be a good start. That might have saved some of
the animals at Green Acres. Requiring specific space
requirements per pet so that we don’t
have them all crammed into a small space
is very important. Any kind of laws that
we can work on that will change that to make it so
it doesn’t happen again, I’m very fully in support of. – [Mike] Thank you. Miss Townsend, I’ll
read the question again. What kind of laws
would you support to protect animals from abuse? – Thanks, Mike. We talked about already, Scott
talked about enforcement. I stood with Sheriff
Joe when we went to one of the vigils
and made my demands that something be done about
what happened in Gilbert, and was very pleased to see that he recommended
felony charges, and then very disappointed
that it doesn’t look like this will go anywhere. I’m really hoping our county
attorney does pursue those. The comments that were
made left me unsatisfied. The fact that two of
the four are related to one of our
senators concerns me, that they may walk
without accountability. I don’t think that
that is right. I am happy to be
on record and say that it doesn’t
matter who you are. If you’ve broken the law, you
ought to be held accountable. As far as the legislation,
I have already gone on record to
state that I will look at legislation to see
if there’s something that we can do, that we can
get passed, that will help tighten the regulations
on these kennels. Clearly, stuffing this
many dogs in a small room, I’m not sure how
anyone can do that. I even have questions
about were they sedated and were they over-sedated? I want to know. I want to know what the results
of that investigation were. I’m very dissatisfied. I am willing to look at it. I’m not promising,
but I am very willing to look at it and see what
can Arizona do to tighten this up to make sure that
it doesn’t happen again. – [Mike] Thank you. Miss Pryor, I’ll read
the question again. What kind of laws
would you support to protect animals from abuse? – Okay, well, Representative
Townsend and Scott did a really good job
talking about that, but I’d actually kind of
like to take a little bit of a twist on it,
not so much the laws but that we actually
impose greater penalties for those that do commit
these atrocious acts. Make sure that there’s
severe penalties for people and make sure that they
have the proper licensing and that they have everything
that they should have to be able to run
the type of facility that they’re supposed
to be running. It’s not as easy as just oh
here, let me have your dog and then you’ve got 20 dogs. It shouldn’t be that easy. I think we need to actually
look at the current animal laws and see if we
either need to revamp them or if they’re just
not being enforced. Then if there’s anything
that we need to … We can work with those
in the legislature to try to ensure that
this never happens again. – [Mike] Thank you. So third question. Miss Townsend will be
the first responder. What problems with
treatment of veterans will you be able to address, and how would you solve them? – Well, the VA, in particular,
is a Federal institution. It’s something that we cannot
regulate at the state level, so let’s get that
part clear first. Arizona cannot pass
a law that affects and regulates the
Veterans Administration here in Phoenix
or anywhere else. We have looked at
penalties that if we were to impose as a state
law, that tampering with patients’ information
and that type of thing among any hospital, if
we could enact that. But it’s not looking good, as far as us being able
to do anything to the VA. However, like I said,
I went to Washington and I lobbied on our behalf
as a state legislator. Going to meet this gentleman, it was quite an
honor, first of all, and to help him understand
what’s going on here in our state, in particular
those who are in the rural area. Continuing to help those
on an individual basis. Like Mr. Castle, for
example, who’s dying because he has cancer
now that could have been caught, but wasn’t. It’s hard to look in
the face of those people and try and give
them an explanation. What we need to do is
we need to pressure our Congressmen, because
they are the ones who can impact on
the Federal level. As constituents to
your Congressman, and myself included,
putting a lot of pressure on our Congressmen to
make sure those changes need to be made
here at our state. – [Mike] Thank you. Miss Pryor, what problems
with the treatment of veterans will you
be able to address, and how would you solve them? – Well, there are a lot
of problems with the way that they do get treated. They come back and they
don’t get proper healthcare and they have a
hard time with a job or maybe not even a
home to come home to. I’m not a veteran. I do have family members
who are veterans. I’ll be honest with you, I
don’t know the way the VA works. Without actually having a really
good understanding of that I don’t actually
know what would … Like Kelly said, it isn’t
a state level thing, but I don’t know enough
about the VA to even … I’m not going to sit
here and just ramble on about something I
have no clue about. I’m just going to say
that I do not know, but it is a good question, and I do actually
intend to find out. – [Mike] Okay, thank you. Mr. Pryor, same question. What problems with the
treatment of veterans will you be able to address, and how would you solve them? – Well, I mean,
as Kelly has said, it is a Federal mandate,
a Federal umbrella over the VA Hospital. I do have to say that
as a son of a veteran, and my nephew is a veteran, my brother was in the Air Force, my sister was in the Army, it’s a travesty to see how our
veterans have been treated. When they serve their country, they put theirselves
in harm’s way to protect our people, to
protect our way of life. What’s happened
is unconscionable. As Kelly has said, that’s
something we’re going to have to take to the
Federal government. You need to call
your Congress people. You need to call your Senators. You need to call any
kind of organization that’s working for
veterans’ rights, the Wounded Warrior Project. We can support all of these
different organizations to push Congress to
take some sort of action that’s actually going
to do what’s necessary for our veterans, because
when it comes down to it, we wouldn’t be sitting
up here right now if it wasn’t for our veterans. We need to thank
them every single day for what they’ve done for us. Even if they have not come
home physically injured, the mental stress that
they have to go through in a wartime situation is … I can’t even imagine. I would not be able
to imagine that. We need to understand that
the care needs to start when they come home, not
when they’re in the field. We need to back them up. We need to support them. There should never,
ever be a veteran who is living on the streets, that doesn’t have a place to go or that doesn’t have a job. To me, that’s un-American. We need to take
care of it and push our Federal government
to take action as quickly as possible and
as efficiently as possible to get all these veterans
the treatment they need. – [Mike] Thank you. Our next question,
we’re shifting gears a little bit to public
education in the state. Miss Pryor, you’ll be
the first respondent. Do you believe that public
education in Arizona has gotten better or
worse in recent years? – Well, I believe that
due to all the cuts to public education, that of
course it’s going to get worse. The classrooms are
getting larger, there’s less teachers, the teachers are just,
they’re stressed out. They’ve got too much that
they have to try to deal with. I don’t think that it’s
the fault of the teachers. I don’t think it’s the
fault of the curriculum. I think it’s the fact
that they’ve just literally bare-boned
public education. Now, I mean, the
choice is vouchers for charter schools
or private schools. It’s basically just
gutting the public schools. Yes, it is being … They are just horrible. We need to properly fund them. We need to give
all kids a chance to be able to learn. – [Mike] Thank you. Mr. Pryor, do you believe
that public education in Arizona has gotten better
or worse in recent years? – It has gotten worse. Currently we are 44th in
the nation in education. We spend less than most states
do per pupil for schools. We’ve been going through
a rash of cutting education funding to
help balance the budget, which should never happen. We should never
balance the budget on the support for our children. We need to focus on
fixing education. Fixing education is not
just about parental choice. Recent studies have
shown that Arizona just got a D for
education in the nation. We’re one of, I
think, nine states that were given Ds
by the department that judges this thing
on an annual basis. Oh yeah, from KTR news. One of the 20 states and
the District of Columbia to get a D or worse for their students’
academic achievement. We need to concentrate
on fixing this. One of the things we
need to stop doing is we need to stop
focusing on privatization. Privatization doesn’t
make a difference. All the schools in
Arizona are in trouble, private, charter and public. It has to do with finances. When you have buildings
that are crumbling, when you have classrooms
that are falling apart, that can’t get repaired
because they don’t have the funding for it, it’s really hard to teach
in that environment. When you have money going
to for-profit schools, and for-profit schools, their
main goal is making a profit. Public schools, their
main goal is teaching. I believe that any
for-profit school should not receive
any taxpayer money, unless they decide to
switch to non-profit status, follow the same curriculum
as public schools, same hiring practices
as public schools, and work so that they all
have a strong curriculum so that we can actually
teach our kids STEM. That’s science, technology,
engineering, and math. That’s what’s going to bring
us into the next 1,000 years. We need technology. We need innovation. We can’t do it if we’re not
teaching it to our kids. Yes, education has gotten worse, and we need to do
something about it. – [Mike] Thank you. Miss Townsend,
the same question. Do you believe that public
education in Arizona has gotten better or
worse in recent years? – Thanks, Mike. I want to address
the issue of teachers and local control, and
how important that is, that the teachers and
the local school boards have control over the
curriculum, over the standards, that the parents have input. Unfortunately, our
state has chosen to join Common Core, which takes that
control out of their hands. There was no parental input
whatsoever in the standards. Secondly, we have so many
districts in our state that we’re funding
the administration of all these
different districts, when if we were to
consolidate those down into fewer districts, we’d have fewer
admin and more money to go to the classroom. I forget the
proposition that passed that required 60% of the … One dollar, 60% is supposed
to go to the classroom, voter approved, and
instead of more money getting to the classroom, it
actually ended up getting less. So it’s very important
that we are precise when it comes to making
sure that that money gets to the classroom,
gets to the children, the smaller class sizes. Lastly, this might not
be the popular answer, but two billion dollars
are going to fund people who are in our
state that came in for whatever reason. That’s a lot of money,
2.6 billion dollars, that could be going
to our schools. Some people have made the
choice to support that. If I have to make the choice
between that and our children, I choose our children,
and that money goes to our Arizona children
and to the schools that they need that money. – [Mike] Okay, thank you. – [Voiceover] Did she
actually answer the question? – [Mike] We’re going to
move to the next question. – [Voiceover] Did you? – I did. – [Mike] We’re going to talk
a little bit about jobs. Everyone’s concerned
about jobs, our economy. Mr. Pryor, you’ll be
the first responder. Arizona’s unemployment
rate has remained around 7% this year
and has been slow to recover from the
Great Recession. What do you propose to improve
the job climate in our state? – So that we are not stepping
on each other’s toes, we knew that there was probably
going to be a job question, I’m going to discuss
from a state aspect, and she’s going to
specifically concentrate on a district aspect,
just so you guys know. Arizona. We’re tied for
9th place in the nation on having the highest
unemployment rate. It’s not getting any better. I think it actually
just went up .1% in the past month or so,
so we’re still losing jobs, and we’re about two years
behind the national average. What we can do is
we can start doing what should have been
done a long time ago. We can start cutting
pork projects. I have a list of
those that I got out of the Arizona state budget. We can start focusing that
money into infrastructure. In seven to eight years, Arizona is going to
run out of water. Has anybody planned for that? I haven’t seen any plans. I haven’t hear anybody
from the Legislature talking about the
fact that we’re going to run out of water. When you run out of
water, what happens? The state shuts down. So, we need to start
concentrating on infrastructure, getting water up from the
Gulf of Baja, California, through desalinization
and into Arizona. We’ll have to actually work
with Mexico to do this, but we can both benefit. Our roads. Over 7,000 bridges, about
three or four hundred of them are substandard
and need to be repaired. Construction jobs. We have to invest
in that or people are going to be dying
as bridges collapse as they have over
on the East Coast. There’s a lot of
things that we can do. Bringing more
business into Arizona by fixing our school system. Manufacturing will
come here if they feel that their families are going
to have better education. That’s probably
one of the things that keeps businesses
from coming here. Tax rates, low tax
for businesses, is not going to help. We have about the same
tax rate for businesses as Virginia, and Virginia’s
got a 5.1 unemployment rate. So how does that work? If we’re giving the same
benefits as Virginia but they’re two points
below us on unemployment, it’s because of education. It’s because people
don’t feel comfortable coming to Arizona because
of some of the laws. We need to fix it. Thank you. – [Mike] Thank you. Miss Townsend, same question. Arizona’s unemployment
rate has remained around 7% this year
and has been slow to recover from the
Great Recession. What do you propose to improve
the job climate in our state? – Thank you, Mike. Prior to answering
I’m going to just … since there was questions
about whether or not I answered the last
question, may I address that? – [Mike] No, let’s
stay on track. – Okay, so if we
have to go by rules, I’m going to ask
that the audience also abide by that. No commenting and no
interacting with us. – [Mike] We’re going
to stay on track. – Okay, so if I have to
go on track, so do you. All right, education is
one of the biggest issues with job creation. For big companies
to come to Arizona, they’re going to need
to know that there is a workforce that is skilled to be able to do those jobs. So our top priority, to
focus on building jobs, needs to make sure
that we are building a product that comes
from our schools that can handle those jobs, so that we don’t have
to import the workers. That’s top priority. Then I can tell you
what I’ve already done. I supported the Governor’s
tax simplification project, to get out of the way
of businessmen and women who are trying to run a business but are just snagged up
by this crazy TPT code. That was simplified. I’m very proud of that. I’m very proud of standing
behind her with that. That was one of her
goals, her career goals, to do that, and this last
year we’ve pulled that off. Then, finally, I
supported the package that brought Apple
here, which brought thousands of jobs
to our district. Going forward, I’ve already
started the conversation of what do we need to do to
bring even more companies here? We didn’t get the
contract down in Tuscon, but I would like to look forward to bringing other companies. I’ve shopped around
to different companies to try and attract them here, and I think that
we can go forward, creating a good business climate that’s low on regulation
and attractive to companies outside the
state to relocate here. – [Mike] Thank you. Miss Pryor, the same question. Arizona’s unemployment
rate has remained around 7% this year,
slow to recover from the Great Recession. What do you propose
to do to improve the job climate in our state? – As for LD16, I don’t
know about any of you, but I know a lot
of people that like to go to the casino. But if you live out in the
boondocks where we live, you’ve got to travel
a good amount of ways, so why not just build one? Off of that can
spawn jeep tours. You can have a golf course. You can even have
a bowling alley. You could have it as
family-oriented as you want. We’ve got Williams
Gateway that we don’t really utilize as
much as we could. We could have cargo companies and major business
that could have all kinds of major traffic. Sky Harbor’s clogged up. I don’t know if any of you guys have been there lately, but it just takes forever
to do anything out there. If we could actually
bring some more business and give some more
reasons for them to want to use that airstrip,
that would be great. If you want to go
out with the family, how far is Fiddlesticks
from your house? It’s a good deal from my house. So why not have
something like that? Or a historical
museum, I don’t know, an aerial tram to
the Superstitions. There are so many
things we can do that all costs money, but
it’s also going to have jobs. It may actually
draw people here. More people come
here, more people are going to want to work here. I have to drive 40 miles
each way to get to my job. I’d love to work closer and actually be able
to make a livable wage. Those are just some ideas. Thank you. – [Mike] Thank you. We’re on question number six. This is our last
question of the evening. We’re going to ask
about important issues in your district. Miss Townsend, you’ll
be the first to respond. Please identify what
you consider to be the three most pressing
issues in your district, and how will you address them? – In two minutes? (laughing) I think, walking around
and meeting with people I talk to a lot of
business owners. One, to be honest,
was transportation, folks not being able to
get to and from their jobs. No sidewalks, Apache Junction,
and the state of that city. These are all city-level things. People being able to
get to their jobs. Things like dust permits. The dust issue is a big one. I heard from many that they’re
burdened by this dust issue that was brought on by the EPA. Creating an environment
not only for businessmen but for the employee to
get to and from work, that was one thing that
came up quite a bit. Again, education. I would like to see … We have several districts
now in our dis– Several school districts in
our legislative district. Being involved in the Gilbert
Public School District, because that’s where my kids go, I’ve seen a lot of tumultuous
activity going on there. For better or for worse, things
are starting to clean up. There’s been some
corruption that has been rooted out there, and
a lot of wasteful money that has been found, and so
things are coming together. It’s going to take some
uncomfortable times to get to those places, but
we want to focus on our kids. Those really are the top two. The third, I want to
split those two things up between the businesses and
the regulations for them and the people and the folks
trying to get to their jobs and having that access. So those would be my top three. – [Mike] Okay. Thank you. Miss Pryor, please
identify what you consider to be the three most pressing
issues in the district, and how will you
address them if elected? – I think the lack of industry
in Legislative District 16. It’s mostly retail, fast food. There’s nothing really tech. There’s nothing really … I mean, there are
some high-tech jobs, but overall, the better
jobs are in Phoenix or Tempe or further
from our district. If we could actually get
the education system, the public education system
to be a little bit better, then people could
actually work … I don’t want to
say a better job, but it really is a better job when you’re making a
little bit more money. We don’t have many
manufacturing business out in our district. Like I said, we’ve got
mostly fast food and retail. If we could find a way to
draw more manufacturing companies into our district, then that would actually
increase more jobs. We could also work with
using state trust land and lease to industry. We could be having solar arrays
in all these empty places when you’re traveling
from point A to point B. We are the state of the sun and we have a lot of wind. You’d figure we
could get on board and start utilizing that
and creating more jobs. Thank you. – [Mike] Okay,
thank you very much. – It’s so hot. – [Mike] Mr. Pryor, you
have the last answer for the questions here. I’ll read it one more time. Please identify what you
consider to be the three most pressing issues in
your legislative district, and how will you address
them if you’re elected? – Apache Trail. – [Cara] Oh, god! – When you ride down
it on a motorcycle, it needs to be fixed. (laughing) There’s a lot of things
that are pressing. In the past four years,
we’ve had two schools close. I’m not sure, I think
part of that had to do with, actually,
lack of students, which was good
that we closed it. That way we consolidated
our resources. But, as Cara said,
we do not have much in the way of real
industry except for like the Apple
facility and a few others in the causeway
right here between Williams Gateway and the 60. We need to look at that. We need to start concentrating
on manufacturing. Call centers. We used to have call
centers all the time until they were all
shipped overseas. We need to start
bringing that back. One of the problems we have
in our district is poverty. 16% of the children
that live in District 16 are living in poverty. That is not an easy
thing to grow up with. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. When you live in Washington
and it’s the wintertime and you have no heat, you
don’t know what it’s like unless you’ve been there. I have been there, so
I know what it’s like. We have to concentrate
on alleviating the poverty for our children. We have to get them
insurance, medical insurance. 11% of the district,
of children, do not have medical insurance. We’re just kind of going along and not taking care of
these important problems and concentrating on
things that are probably not as irrelevant, or as
relevant, as it should be. We need to focus on the
people of the district. We need to focus on the
infrastructure of the district. As Kelly said, we have
no public transportation out there except a
cab company or two. We could use bus service
in Apache Junction. We could use bus service
down in the San Tan and in East Mesa. We don’t have that. We could use it. It would bring in more people. People would be able
to get to work on time. People would actually
be able to get to work without having to pay … Cabs are not cheap. I figure those are the important
things we need to look at. – [Mike] Thank you very much. We’ve run out of
time for questions. Now we’ll move on to
closing statements. Each candidate will
be given three minutes for their closing statement. The first closing
statement will be given by Kelly Townsend. – Thank you. I want to, again, thank
you guys for coming out and hearing us. I appreciate you
guys for being here. I just wanted to
say to the voters that I thank you
for your support and I thank you for the primary. It’s an honor, it has been
an honor these last two years to be the voice of the
people in the legislature. One thing that I’d
also like to bring up about needs in our
district is San Tan Valley. We haven’t even
brought them up tonight and there’s a distinct need
for some attention down there. The folks, 80,000
people, not represented in our district down
there is important. It’s just been a pleasure. I look forward to going forward and continuing on this
journey of representing the people, of
fighting for Arizona, and just serving from my heart. So I thank you for coming and I appreciate your vote. – [Mike] Cara, you
have three minutes for a closing statement. – All right. Everyone on this
panel is fully aware of what the problems are
that are facing Arizona. The big difference is the
route that we all choose to take to not only
further define the problems but in order to come up
with viable solutions. We spent the past four to
six years concentrating not on rebuilding our economy, not on strengthening
our education, and not on working to create
better jobs to succeed. Instead, our legislators
have been more concerned with governing according to
their own agenda and ideology, writing legislation
that benefits them and their supporters either
financially or personally, and forgetting that the
welfare of the people is the most important
part of their job, since we were the ones
that elected them to serve. Our legislators work for us
and I feel it’s about time we remind them of that
very important fact. We can’t keep electing
the same type of people and expect positive changes. We can’t expect
Arizona to go forward. We need people to
be informed voters. We need due diligence, and
we need to cast our vote based on truth, facts and
actions of each candidate, not on any kind of
propaganda or misinformation that seems to be
so prevalent today. It isn’t too late
to make changes and to create a better
future for ourselves and our future generations. We can make a difference
for voting for people who actually care
and have clear plans on how to fix education,
and have clear plans on how, oh, sorry,
how to create jobs and not vote for
those who continue the trickle down
economics (mumbles). Don’t vote for extremism, don’t vote for isolationism, and don’t vote for xenophobia. Vote for candidates that
actually care about humanity. Hope the voters of LD16
will see common sense and reason and choose
to support candidates that believe all people
are more important than certain chosen individuals. I’d like to thank
ASU Polytechnic and the Citizens Clean
Election Commission for sponsoring this
event this evening, and thank all of the
people in the audience that have stepped up
and taken an active role in the 2014 election cycle. – [Mike] Scott, you’re our last – Again? – [Mike] answerer, so
you have three minutes for your closing remarks. – There are many different
paths that we can take to move Arizona into the future. How we get to our goal
is just as important, if not more so, how
we reach the goal. We have to start moving
away from the total lack of communication
from the two sides. We have to get away from
the lack of communication between elected official
and constituent. We have to start working
towards better understanding. We can accomplish so
much for our state, lower unemployment,
higher income, a higher performing
educational system, a push to repair and replace
our crumbling infrastructure, and a better image for
Arizona across the globe. We can work to bring
industry into LD16 in Arizona so the people will have the
opportunity for a better living. We can protect our
individual rights with the understanding that
we all deserve them equally. It is going to
take a lot of work, a lot of cooperation,
and realization that we are all
in this together. We have to work together
for it to succeed. I hope that the people
of LD16 will at least consider the possibility
of giving someone new a try at fixing the
state’s problems. A fresh set of eyes
and some new ideas might go a long way into
making our state succeed. The possibilities are endless if we can just take the chance. If we don’t, then we will be
stuck with the status quo, leading the nation in
being an opening act for comedians everywhere. And we are failing our people. The time to act is now, and
the time to take a chance for a better living
for everyone. I would like to thank
everyone in the audience for participating tonight. It’s seems that a lot of
people are disenfranchised and some people just don’t
care about politics anymore. It’s really a shame. I’d like to thank Citizens
Clean Election and ASU for having the setting tonight and allowing everybody
to get together. I thank the panel
that’s up here. If you’ve never been up
on a panel like this, you just don’t know
what fun you’re missing. (laughing) Thank you very much
for being here tonight. I appreciate it. – [Cara] And thank you,
Kelly, or else it would just be Scott and I up here.
– Us. – [Mike] Thank you very much. We want to thank the
candidates for participating. Personally, I really
admire your willingness to step up and run
for an elected office, campaign through the
hottest time of the year every time there’s a campaign. We really appreciate
you, as I say, stepping up and putting
yourself out there and participating
in events like this, which can be very stressful. Let’s give the candidates
a round of applause. (applauding) We want to thank all
of you who came out and took the time to inform
yourselves before voting. We encourage you to
find out more about Clean Elections and the
candidates running for office by visiting
www.azcleanelections.gov. A video of this forum,
as well as the other Clean Election forums,
will be posted on that site within 72 hours of
the scheduled forum. We’d also like to
encourage you to complete the survey you received
when you arrived and return it to the
registration table in the back. If you did not receive a survey, they are available at
the registration table. Thank you all for
coming tonight. Good-night and drive safely.

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