Monday, January 07, 2013

Q & A with Representative Chad Campbell

The start of the 2013 session of the Arizona legislature is less than a week away, and it promises to be a colorful and interesting session (interesting for political geeks, anyway :) ).

In the interest of gaining a little insight into the minds of some legislators and what to expect for the upcoming session, I contacted the legislators from LDs 24 and 26 (I live in LD24 and have known the incoming legislators in LD26 for years) with a number of questions.

The responses will be posted here.

First up:  Representative Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix), the House Democratic leader (questions in black, responses in blue) -

Picture courtesy

What unique perspective or background do you bring to the legislature? I think one of the unique perspectives I bring to the legislature is the fact that I have worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors. I’m one of the few members of the legislature who has this type of experience. I believe this experience gives me valuable insight into how all of these sectors interact with one another and how they impact our community and economy. This is important as we face challenging times which require innovative solutions and partnerships between the three sectors.
What will be your priorities for the 2013 session of the legislature? 
1. Increasing and identifying new funding for our schools. 2. Working to improve and strengthen our health care systems. 3. Increasing transparency and accountability at all levels of government, which also means ending handouts to special interests such as private prisons. 4. Providing leadership with a long-term vision, a blueprint for lack of a better term, for our state. We have suffered from leadership that has only made short-sighted decisions over these last few years. That cannot continue.
What bills do you plan to introduce? 
There will be several so I can’t list them all out here. Suffice it to say they will all relate to my priorities listed in the above question one way or another.
It is difficult for Democratic members of the legislature to have their proposals actually move through the legislature, especially without the support of some of the Republican members. What areas of common ground do you expect/hope to find with Republican members? 
I hope that we can find some common areas around school safety issues in light of the recent tragedy, as well as overall increased funding for our schools. One other area I would like to see some agreement on is tax reform that helps small businesses and families. It’s time to close out many of the loopholes in our tax code that are benefitting only the few and make it a simpler, more effective tax code. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, it’s just good economics.
As in the recent past, expectations are that some "cutting edge" measures will be considered by the legislature this year. Have you heard of any specific proposals that may bring unwanted attention to Arizona? 
Well, we’ve already heard of ludicrous proposals to arm teachers on school campuses, and unfortunately that may be just the tip of the iceberg on this issue. I also expect more bills aimed at demonizing the immigrant community, attacking women’s rights, and additional corporate welfare. We will be there to fight these bad ideas every step of the way.
Regardless of the other issues that may arise during the session, the state's budget is always the most contentious. What areas of the budget would you like to see strengthened? What area(s) do you think could withstand a cut? Do you have any ideas for introducing long-term stability to Arizona's budget? 
We really can’t take any more cuts to our budget, and right now we have a surplus so there is no need for it. We need to add funding to our schools, health care, infrastructure, law enforcement, state parks and a whole other litany of programs and areas. One area that does need to have funding reduced is money going to our prisons, specifically private prisons. Prison populations are stable and there is no need for additional beds at this time. Yet, Gov. Brewer and the Tea Party led legislature gave private prisons $50 million last year. This is just one example of the continued bad decision making we’ve seen from the GOP over the last several years.

What we need is a long-term plan for our state. This means a modernized tax code that is fair for everyone which produces the revenue we need for schools, healthcare, infrastructure, and sustainable economic development programs that will make Arizona competitive. We also need to introduce and embrace innovative solutions that are plaguing our schools, health care providers and business sector. We must no longer keep repeating the same mistakes of the past. Arizona must head in a new direction that is not dominated by ideology, but by common sense and logic. I will be unveiling a blueprint for Arizona’s future sometime in the near future that does exactly that.
If your constituents want to contact you, what is your office address, phone, and email?

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell
1700 W. Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

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