PRIORITIES and VALUES
Felicia is running for state Senate to improve public education, make quality, affordable healthcare accessible for all, and to bring back government accountability to ensure that policies drafted at the State Capitol create more opportunity in rural Arizona, protect our natural resources, and benefit ALL Arizonans.
Education That Puts Arizona's Children First
The key to a better future for all Arizonans is better, quality public education for all our children. As an educator and as a mom whose daughter attended AZ public schools, I understand how critical a strong, well-funded public education system is to our children’s success.
Yet today, our state is ranked 49th in the country for teacher pay, 46th for per-student funding, and 48th for high school graduation rates. Currently, 25% of our teacher positions are unfilled and we are dead last for overcrowded classrooms! We must prioritize K-12 education in our state budget, reduce class sizes, and encourage quality educators and school support staff to stay in Arizona through competitive wages and comprehensive benefits.
Arizona's starved education system is not only hurting our children and educators, it is dangerous for our economy and public safety too. Currently, 13% of Arizonans aged 16-24 aren't in school and aren't working, which leads to more people relying on government assistance and higher crime rates. If our state government doesn't change course, we will end up spending more on social-services than our tax base can support. Additionally, due to our poor education rankings, large employers are choosing not to invest in Arizona.
That’s why I will fight to ensure that every child benefits from early-childhood education, and has the opportunity to access quality academic resources—regardless of their zip code, or school district. In addition, it has been proven that access to early-childhood education through quality childcare reduces the likelihood of engaging in criminal activity later in life.
In addition, no young adult should be denied the chance to pursue a college education, simply because their family can't afford it. Nor, should they have to take on crippling student debt just to compete in today's job market. However, it’s important to recognize that college isn't the only path to economic stability and job opportunities. Arizona must invest in more certified trade and vocational schools, particularly in rural parts of the state, where people can pursue traditional, stable, high-skilled trade jobs, that set them up for success.
Finally, the state’s present formula for special education funding is 40 years old and does not accurately reflect the number of students with special needs in our population, forcing schools to dip into general funds to cover the costs of special education. Furthermore, recent state-funded teacher pay raises don’t cover education support staff and specialists that are critical for serving special education students. We must update and expand special education funding to ensure ALL children have access to quality education.
Our children, educators, and school support staff deserve, and Arizona's future demands, better.
Affordable Healthcare For All
Affordable access to quality healthcare for all Arizonans is essential. As someone who has worked as an Army medic and nurse, a senior medical advisor in combat zones, as a civilian nurse manager, and as a pediatric and hospice nurse—this is an issue I have real-world experience addressing. I’ve seen firsthand the faults within our healthcare system, as well as the innovative approaches and best practices around our country and the world to improve healthcare.
We need more emphasis on disease and illness prevention to improve people’s lives and reduce tax costs.
That means we must work together to fix affordable care and expand AHCCCS, which currently provides coverage for 1.9 million Arizonans. We need to require comprehensive medical coverage for all Arizonans that includes dental, eye, regular physicals and mental health, to prevent and diagnose disease and illness before it becomes deadly and more expensive to manage.
I will also fight for affordable medical prescriptions, by placing a cap on how much pharmaceuticals can charge, so Arizonans can afford life-saving medicines. As a resident of Pine, I’ve seen firsthand the struggles of rural Arizonans who have to travel long distances to see medical specialists, that’s why I will fight for critical access to quality health care in rural areas.
We can also provide grants and tuition assistance to Public Health students (e.g. mental health, social work, nursing, nurse assistants, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants) and student loan forgiveness for healthcare workers to serve in rural, tribal, and underserved communities where there is currently a lack of quality health services and professionals.
There are also untapped medical assets in the Arizona National Guard and Reserves, that could be leveraged to provide military medical readiness training in Arizona’s underserved and rural communities.
Lastly, to detect serious mental and physical illness early on and prevent violent outcomes, I believe we need to require every school to have a nurse that is trained to teach health and hygiene and counselors to flag and treat mental disorders and illness.
Government That's Accountable To The People
We need more government accountability and stronger local control, to ensure policies drafted in our state capitol benefit ALL Arizonans, as well as protect our beautiful environment and natural resources for our families and future generations.
We need to push Arizona to invest in safe roads, broadband access, and emergency services for our rural communities and partner with the National Guard to help build and maintain roads and bridges in our under-served rural and tribal areas.
Jobs For Our Future
We need to reduce local unemployment, create jobs with stable, livable wages, and support small businesses and entrepreneurial job creators in rural Arizona.
The renewable energy sector provided 3x more jobs than the fossil fuel sector nationwide in 2018 and with Arizona being one of the sunniest states in the nation, we are missing out on thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity.
Protecting Our Water & Land
Protecting our limited natural resources is a necessity for rural Arizona. Uranium mining and fracking companies contaminate our groundwater supplies and soil, while also leaving tax dollars responsible for clean up of their dangerous waste.
Chemical fracking dangerously depletes our water supply, it also contaminates groundwater, leaches poisons into our soil, and is a known public health risk.
The risks from fracking are compounded in our district, since rural Northern AZ communities, which are hurt the most by fracking—already lack access to quality health care services.
In January 2020, Arizona sold 16,810 acres of land to create an open-air sewer for poisonous mining waste. This waste site is near several Arizona watersheds and risks contaminating our limited drinking water. Furthermore, the company has a long history of water contamination and has already caused billions of dollars of environmental damage. The families in that same area have already endured a mining company who polluted a public swimming hole with millions of gallons of arsenic.
We need representatives who will stand up to protect the health and welfare of their constituents. As a nurse, I will always put our clean drinking water and our families' health and safety, before any corporate interests!