In November, new officials were elected to represent the voters of District 19. Why should students care about this? Because these are the officials who will be making decisions that affect education.
Anna Tovar, a Democrat and former school teacher, won 97 percent of the vote in District 19 as state Senator. Tovar had previously been a state Representative for District 13. The new state Senator is a mother of two and believes that the quality of education is vital for the children of Arizona. Anna Tovar views education as key to the economic recovery in Arizona.
Ruben Gonzalez, a 20 year-old voter at Litchfield Park Baptist Church polling station, said, “I agree with Anna Tovar. Everything begins with education. Without it our economy will be stagnant.” Gonzalez also said that Arizona needs to reduce the size of classrooms by hiring more teachers. According to him, this can be accomplished by raising taxes or opening up more public schools in overcrowded areas.
Two House Representative seats were open for election this fall. Both were filled by Democrats; Mark Cardenas and Lupe Chavira Contreras each earned a spot in the House of Representatives.
Mark Cardenas earned 49 percent of the votes for his seat and believes in eliminating overcrowded classrooms and raising wages for teachers.
Raising teacher salaries is also important to voter Scott Rowan, who said “Paying more in taxes is not an issue for me. Teachers are underpaid. If funding for the military were reduced, that money could be given to teachers.”
Lupe Contreras tallied 48 percent of the votes for his seat. He focused more on funding for schools. Contreras said that funding for a school should not be determined by the location it is in. He also said that obtaining a college education should be affordable.
Erick McCallay, an Estrella Mountain Community College student, moved here from California a few years ago. When asked about tuition prices at EMCC he said, “Cheaper would be nice, but I feel they are reasonable compared to other schools back home.”
With many differing views on how to improve education, it may be interesting for voters to follow these officials’ progress. Given that they are all Democrats, they may be facing quite a bit of opposition when they try to do their work in a largely Republican state.