Hello, Northern Arizona! Fall has arrived and with it, the most intense election cycle I have ever seen. It’s a lot right now in Arizona. There are piles of fliers in our mailboxes, radio ads, tv ads and political ads all over our screens (yes, some of those are mine). There are a lot of groups playing in Arizona this year as we take the spotlight to become one of the most heavily contested battleground states in the country.
While I always think that Arizona deserves more attention on the national stage, this complicates campaign season. There is a lot being said about candidates right now, either from their campaigns, their opponents or outside groups. We all want to be informed voters and all these claims being tossed about can make that harder.
For myself, I think it is important to see what is being said about candidates and whether it reflects their experiences and record. I care about small businesses and I have a record of supporting small businesses. I opened a small business incubator; I own a small business. These are all demonstrable facts that back up my assertion that I will advocate for more support for our small local businesses at the legislature.
Furthermore, I am skeptical about overly broad general claims, things like, “I support school funding.” Well yes, we all support school funding because the opposite would be to not support school funding. Who campaigns on “I will not fund schools?” It seems to me that there are candidates who say they support school funding but then when the budget comes around and everyone looks at how much money can be sent to our local public school, it becomes clear they support limited school funding, or they support vouchers that actually take money from public schools.
Supporting vouchers is not what I think of when I think of supporting school funding. Supporting vouchers is supporting private school funding for the few, not great public schools for all. I have a long record of supporting funding for before and after school programs in our public schools, as well as voting for funding for early childhood educational support. I can point to those votes, they’re a matter of public record. Elections are emotional affairs with messages of hope and fear coming at voters from all sides. It’s exhausting. But, looking at the facts and doing a little bit of research can be a break from all that.
I was first elected to council in 2008, during what was then the deepest recession we had ever experienced. Banks were closing, entire industries were at risk. It was scary, but as a council we took steps we identified to help families. We invested in infrastructure projects that put people back to work. We invested in childcare programs to make it easier for parents to work. We put in a number of measures to help protect and support local small businesses, including targeted tax breaks and advertising campaigns that supported whole industries.
We are facing a pandemic that doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon and has wreaked havoc on our economy. There is plenty to be afraid of, but it is not the time to make decisions based on fear. It is time for leaders to get to work and make reasoned and sound decisions based on the facts in front of them. That is how we protect Northern Arizona for future generations. FBN
By Coral Evans
Coral Evans is the mayor of Flagstaff.