Questions and Answers?

 Why Tonya?  
I am ready to lead Arizona into the future. I understand the importance of properly written laws and budgets that reflect our priorities. As an attorney, I understand our Constitution and know that crossing into unconstitutional territory is a useless publicity stunt. Instead, I value equality and am ready to stand with Arizona to protect against discrimination in every form, to provide the legal protections necessary to end housing, credit, and employment discrimination for all. I am ready to stand against government intrusion by supporting access to reproductive healthcare and the elimination of unnecessary regulatory schemes that stifle innovation. As a small business owner, I understand the needs and challenges of growing a business. And, as a mother, I understand that our schools are in crisis and change is necessary to ensure our long-term success.

Should we shine the light of day on private prisons and complete an independent examination of claims about cost-savings and private prisons?
As an attorney, I rely upon evidence to prove my cases. I fully support a fact based analysis of private prison costs so that lawmakers and Arizonan’s can evaluate the proponent’s claims. Additionally, I support a serious look at the State’s guarantee of a 90% occupancy rate in order to determine the size of the profit margin provide by empty beds and the market value of its reduction in fiscal risk for the operators. I am unaware of any other private business that receives such favorable contract terms from Arizona. It certainly encourages lawmakers to favor increased incarceration rates and lengthy sentences to justify the costs of the contracts provided to the private prisons.

Should we keep KidsCare, the state’s child health program?
Absolutely. The refusal to participate in KidsCare was morally and fiscally reprehensible. The rejection of federal dollars to provide health insurance and health stability to children in families with incomes that fell between AHCCCS and federal ACA subsidies was a political position that rejected the needs of our communities. Further, Arizona’s taxpayers sent their tax dollars to the federal government, and the benefit was spread out to the other 49 states with KidsCare, while uninsured children either went without healthcare or their parents were chased by debt collectors for the unpaid bills. We know how every legislator voted in the 2016 expansion of KidsCare. We can use that single vote to test their character.

Should we fund our Universities and community colleges?

The Arizona Constitution, Article 11, section 6 requires that “instruction shall be as nearly free as possible.” Our current budget does not provide any funding for community colleges, and very limited funding for our universities. Many Arizonans rely upon our education system to obtain vital job-skills and technical training. Our businesses would benefit from a skilled workforce. The legislature should refocus our priorities to support students and businesses by funding education. There is room in the budget to provide for education. Instead, the legislature continues to favor funding private prisons and guaranteeing 90% occupancy.