Kathy Knecht for AZ Senate in LD 21 - General Election, November 6th, 2018
Kathy’s Key Positions
Exemplify government of the people, for the people, by the people
I am an independent of 22 years and an independent thinker, determined to represent all the stakeholders in our state and legislative district. I believe that true power rests with the people. (And, that the people should not rest!)
I am a long-time public servant and volunteer with deep roots in the West Valley. I have worked as a non-profit director, as an elected school board member and has served many non-profit boards and service groups in the community. I do not make deals or do favors in exchange for influence and I don't take campaign contributions in exchange for pushing bad policy. I believe in doing the right thing. I answer to the people, not a political party and not to outside special interests.
Bad State Laws Overreach and Hurt Schools:
At an August school board meeting, the PUSD board was forced to adopt several new regulations that were handed down by the state legislature to school districts across the state. Despite the façade of “local control” that the legislature purports to revere, districts have no choice but to abide by the policies that arguably are meant to weaken and threaten our neighborhood schools.
Take just two examples:
HB2460 (which my opponent voted for) requires that school districts that wish to sell buildings or property, must sell them to the highest bidder, even if that bidder is a direct competitor; and that they cannot withdraw the sale just because of the competition. Think that through. If a district wants to sell property because it is no longer useful, it should be able to. Less overhead means less expense, and proceeds from the sale would go back to local property tax payers in the form of lower tax bills. But, if the sale is practically guaranteed to go to a competing charter or private school, then it makes bad business sense to sell to an entity that would compete for students and community support within a district’s boundaries, so they’d be unlikely to risk it. Their hands are tied. Bad for schools, bad for tax payers. Lose/Lose.
Provision 42 in the adopted state budget (which my opponent voted for) says that come 2019, schools must do business with the lowest qualified bidder. Think that through. What if the cheapest product or service isn’t of good quality or the vendor has a questionable reputation? Will that cost schools more in the long run? Will students be learning in environments that aren’t safe or reliable? And what about the vendors? If they are competing to have the lowest bid, what does that mean for their business and the resulting economic ripple effects? School administrators are professionals who make savvy and fully transparent business decisions every day which are overseen by elected school boards. Sometimes the less expensive option is best and sometimes it's not. This provision is a race to the bottom. Bad for schools, bad for students, bad for tax payers and bad for business. Lose/Lose/Lose/Lose. I’ll work to reverse this bad idea before it can take effect in 2019.
Restore Funding - (There has been $4.5 billion in cuts to education in AZ since 2009; Arizona has cut more than any other state.)
Reverse the teacher crisis
Make education a priority - Arizona spends six times as much on an inmate as it does a student in K-12. State funding per student in 2018 is 19% below what is was in 2008. See the graph here.
Reject privatization of schools - Tax dollars should be spent in schools that are transparent and accountable. Privatization means education for profit, and turns kids into commodities.
School Choice - when it provides all families the ability to choose the best fit for their children and promotes competition that is genuinely fair. Government should not be allowed to shirk its constitutionally-mandated responsibilities, or be able to create winners and losers in a free market. No child deserves to be treated like a "loser."
The state's failure to fund capital expenses for maintenance and repairs of schools threatens property values in neighborhoods and forces local communities to pass bonds to sustain the quality of their schools.
Jobs and the Economy
We must support a healthy business climate for technology-related jobs. To thrive in the long-term, Arizona must attract a younger workforce.
Economic Developers know that what really lures businesses and residents is a quality education system and quality of life. We need highly-trained talent to compete in a global economy.
Only higher paying jobs will support our tax base and fortify Social Security and Medicare.
Water and The Environment
Arizona is facing a severe drought. Policy decisions must be based on long-term trends, not annual weather occurrences. We need to have honest, politically uncomfortable conversations about water usage and have the courage to propose real solutions.
Kathy believes climate and the environment should be a higher priority in the State Legislature.
The urban heat island, rising temperatures, and risk of drought across the state pose a real and severe threat to our quality of life, property values, tourism and our economy.
Kathy will reintroduce a bill that will fund Veterans Benefit Counselors. More VBCs will bring federal benefits back to AZ at 10x the rate of investment.
Kathy wants real, practical support for veterans. Veterans commit suicide 391% more than non veterans in Arizona. The nationwide rate for veterans is 38 suicides per 100,000, compared with Arizona's 55.
Kathy thinks that homeless veterans are a national tragedy, and will work to find solutions.
Kathy is a lifetime member of the Blue Blazers, which is a volunteer organization dedicated to supporting airmen and women, their families and the mission of Luke AFB.
As an elected school board member, Kathy has always been steadfastly committed to protecting students. Americans shouldn't live in fear of unstable people or criminals opening fire on innocent civilians and first-responders.
Kathy supports efforts to ensure that first-responders get fair pensions while helping cities to remain financially stable.
Kathy will collaborate with state leaders and agencies to end the opioid crisis.
She supports the Federal Medicaid Expansion which brings millions of dollars into Arizona and benefits more than 400k low income Arizonans, seniors, veterans, children and disabled citizens. Loss of Federal matching funds would mean more uninsured in AZ and increasing costs for the insured. Several current legislators filed a lawsuit (that cost taxpayers money) that attempted to reverse Medicaid expansion, though the AZ Supreme Court upheld the law.
Arizona's senior healthcare is in decline as reported by United Healthcare. Kathy will work to reverse that trajectory.
Kathy will not interfere with municipal and school district issues or elections. Let those we elect on the local level to do the jobs we elected them to do.
Kathy will not bully cities or city leaders into submission with political threats, sanctions or sweeps.
Kathy will work to restore ethics and integrity to Arizona government which was ranked “most corrupt legislature” in a 2014 Harvard Study.
Kathy will not attempt to roll back school tax exemptions for Sun City.
Kathy will be accused of raising taxes as a school board member, but school boards do not and cannot raise taxes. They can allow local communities to decide for themselves whether or not to impose local taxes to improve local schools.
Corporate tax cuts enacted by the Legislature, have shifted the tax burden onto local property tax payers. Kathy supports tax reform that is fair and allows the state to meet the needs of citizens.
Immigration (is a federal issue)
Arizona is required to enforce federal laws related to immigration. Our National Guard is at the disposal of the federal government. State government should be providing data from the state and constituencies along the border to our Congressional Delegation, which is responsible for immigration and border security. If the federal government is asking Arizona to provide services, Arizona should be compensated. Because AZ is a border state, our state leaders should leverage their influence with members of congress and work with state law enforcement agencies on both sides of the border, exchanging technologies and information that will make the border and the surrounding communities safer.
We must recognize the economic opportunities that exist for tourism; research and development; and commerce across the AZ/Sonora border. AZ does $15B in trade with Mexico every year. Arizona has much to gain if we can streamline legal cross-border trade and facilitate legal border crossing for tourists. The Arizona Mexico Commission has laid the groundwork for much communication, collaboration and cooperation.
The Arizona Department of Child Welfare needs to be a higher priority so that abused and neglected children can be rescued from dangerous situations and be placed in permanent, safe, nurturing environments.
Kathy has served on the executive board of a domestic violence shelter and is a strong advocate for women and families.
As the mother of two very successful young women, and a 15 year Girl Scout Leader, Kathy has been dedicated to empowering women and girls to be themselves, assert their rights, follow their dreams, and find their voices in society.