My Personal 2018 Midterm Voting Guide

I reside in Arizona’s Congressional District #06 and Arizona Legislative District #15. I’m filling out my Early Ballot and thought I would give any of you who are interested my votes for these ballot races and my reasoning behind them. Your ballots and mileage may vary.

First race is for Arizona U.S. Senator to replace Jeff Flake. The choices are Martha McSally (R), Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Angela Green (Green Party no joke). I’m voting for Sinema. Her voting record in both the Arizona State House and recently in the U.S. House of representatives has been essentially conservative. However she does support maintaining and fully funding Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and keeping all the protections in place under the Affordable Care Act. McSally has voted to eliminate protections for those with pre-existing conditions and other provisions of the ACA. She also voted to extend the GOP tax cut to permanent status although 88% of those cuts went to the wealthiest and the corporations and what she recently voted for would add trillions more to the annual deficit on top of what they already have resulting in cuts to social programs. That vote was of course a dog and pony show as the Republican Control Senate has already said that legislation is dead on arrival as fiscally irresponsible. Finally a vote for Angela Green and any other Green is in reality a vote to keep a Republican in office.

Second race is for U.S. Representative in District #06. The choices are David Schweikert (R) and Anita Malik (D). I’m voting for Malik. She’s a business professional with an impressive record of success. She advocates for fiscal responsibility as well as protections for ordinary Americans regarding their Social Security, employment and most importantly healthcare. Schweikert has been and continues to be Missing in Action in our district. He won’t meet with constituents from this district and won’t hold town hall meetings. He voted to gut the ACA and wants to provide what he and his GOP handlers call cheaper better healthcare. In reality he’s pushing for the “junk plans” that have low premiums but extremely high deductibles and no coverage for those things most Americans need coverage for. In effect, those plans essentially have you paying little in and getting nothing in return while the insurance company cashes in all your checks. Schweikert only votes as he is told to. Again, he won’t listen to his constituents, only his big money donors and bosses in the GOP.

Third race is for Arizona Governor. The choices are Doug Ducey (R), David Garcia (D), and Angel Torres (Grn). I’m voting for Garcia. Like me, Garcia is a fourth generation Arizonan. He served in the infantry. He also graduated from Arizona State University but then went on to the University of Chicago and is recognized nationally as an expert in education research and policy. His strengths include legislative experience, serving as a research analyst for the Arizona State Senate and leading the Arizona Department of Education as Associate Superintendent.  Ducey prior to being our Governor was our State Treasurer and prior to that he sold Ice Cream. Ducey has slashed our State’s budget resulting in funding cuts to important programs such as Education and AHCCCS (our version of Medicaid). Many State departments have lost funding to effectively do their jobs. Arizona teachers are ranked 49th out of 50 states in terms of funding. Ducey was unresponsive to providing a living wage to those who see to our children’s education. He provided very little after the teachers went on strike and is working to take back what was given. He’s fiscally irresponsible. Torres is in the Green Party and has zero chance of winning so a vote for him is a vote for Ducey.

Fourth race is for State Senator in District 15. The choices are Heather Carter (R) and Kristin Dybvig-Pawelko (D). I’m voting for Dybvig-Pawelko. She’s an Arizona State University and Cornell graduate with a specialty in Education. She was president of the PTO. She’s committed to providing the best public education to our children as well as affordable college education. She has administrative experience. Carter has been in the State House for years and has been a rubber stamp for all GOP tax cutting and program slashing agenda to the detriment of our citizens’ healthcare, education, law-enforcement and court system. A little side story, a few years back as a registered Republican I ended up on her email list and was inundated with campaign emails from her touting her experience and love for the people of this district. I found some of her claims to be shall we say exaggerated and not supported by the facts. I asked her to remove me from her email list. The next day I began to get spam emails from all sorts of nasty people. Was she responsible? Can’t say but the timing was suspicious.

Fifth race is for State Representative for District 15. Here you can select two representatives. The choices are Nancy Barto (R), John Allen (R), Jennifer Samuels (D) and Julie Gunnigle (D). I’m voting for Samuels and Gunnigle. Gunnigle was raised in this district and is a former prosecutor who specialized in prosecuting politicians. She’s a graduate of Notre Dame Law School. Samuels is another Arizona native. She’s a teacher at a school I’ve often substituted at and is on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Federal Credit Union. Both are extremely intelligent, experienced and represent more of what we need in our State House, independent thinking Democratic Women. Barto is in my opinion a disingenuous fraud. She’s the only candidate I’ve actually met. Several years ago I went with a delegation of Diabetics to the State House to advocate for the American Diabetes Association. I had a few minutes with her trying to give her our talking points regarding research and insurance reform. I never had her attention and of course she did nothing after that meeting. His current ads talk about her plan to end ACA in Arizona and replace it with the same “Junk Policies” I spoke of above. She opposes affordable universal healthcare but supports cheap plans with high deductibles and no coverage. Allen is another GOP rubber stamp.

Sixth race is for Secretary of State. As you know in addition to controlling the voting system in our state, the Secretary is also next in line for Governor should the current office holder leaves. The choices are Steve Gaynor (R) and Katie Hobbs (D). I’m voting for Hobbs. She’s been in the State House as both a Representative and Senator. She’s been among the few there to actually draft and pass legislation that benefitted ordinary Arizonans to include Medicaid expansion, victim rights for victims of sexual and domestic violence and most importantly for this office, voter rights in Arizona. She has been and continues to be an advocate for the citizens, not the big money donors. Gaynor has opposed laws to protect LGBTQ from employment discrimination. He spent his own money to defeat our current Secretary of State using the old “she’s not conservative enough” argument for the bigoted GOP base. He’s a mean, bigoted man who would like many Republican Secretary of States before him from all across the nation, rig the elections against anyone not Republican White Male via voter suppression and other scams.

Seventh race is for Attorney General. The two choices are Mark Brnovich (R) and January Contreras (D). I’m voting for Contreras. Contreras has served in both the County Attorney and Attorney Generals’ office. Her history has been one of using the law to not only prosecute offenders, but advocate for the victims. She’s established a nonprofit assistance group for victims of human trafficking. She’s experienced and balanced in her approach. Brnovich is the incumbent who’s literally done little to nothing since taking office. He claims in his ads to go after both Democrats and Republicans for victimizing people. An interesting claim that isn’t supported by any data to clarify or validate that claim. He had issues as a deputy county attorney prior to taking office.

Eighth race is for State Treasurer. The two choices are Kimberly Yee (R) and Mark Manoil (D). This is an interesting office considering our current State legislature does more to cut incoming revenues than raise them so Arizona can pay her bills. Hopefully our next legislature will fix that problem. I’m voting for Manoil. Manoil is another fourth generation Arizonan like me. He’s another Arizona State University graduate in both business and law and is a small business owner. He committed to go after tax cheats that Republican treasures have traditionally given a wink and a nod to. He’s interested in establishing a local community banking system that is free from Wall Street Influence and corruption. This could be of some importance in Arizona should we experience another 2008 (which we will). Now interestingly enough, Yee (who was appointed by Ducey as current Treasurer) agrees with many of Manoil’s positions especially opposition to two of Ducey’s and GOP ballot initiatives that would limit local communities ability to tax for services and moving State Land Trust fund away from public education to private schools. However, as a legislator, Yee has voted to cut taxes for those who make the most placing a higher burden on those who don’t.

Ninth race is for State Mine Inspector. The two choices are Joe Hart (R) and William “Bill” Pierce (D). This office always gives me a chuckle because I went to High School with the son of the Republican State Mine Inspector at the time. He held that office for many terms and I saw him constantly throughout my time in High School and college when I visited my friend. I can honestly say that this office does nothing. A trained chimp can be elected to it and nothing will change. The man I knew in office was actually worse than a trained chimp for a trained chimp had talent and did things. He just collected a check. In reality the State Legislature does everything involving the mines and the career staff in the office follows through with the Legislature’s instructions. That being said and in keeping with the trend, I’m still voting for Pierce the Democrat. Maybe he could do something but honestly this shouldn’t be an elected office, it should be an appointed position.

Tenth race is for Corporation Commission. You can vote for any two of the candidates. They are Rodney Glassman (R), Justin Olson (R), Sandra Kennedy (D) and Kiana Maria Sears (D). Now this is the office that oversees the corporations and regulates them to include APS and the Salt River Project. Let’s be honest, Republicans see corporations as people who deserve more than the people they’re supposed to cater to while Democrats want corporations regulated to see to the needs and protection of the consumers. So this is a no brainer, I’m voting for Kennedy and Sears.

Eleventh race is Maricopa County Clerk of the Superior Court. As a former 30 year employee of the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department I worked with the Superior Court closely and I’m very familiar of the needs this position requires. The two choices are Jeff Fine (R) and Roberta Miller (D). Both are actually qualified and would do well in a job that is entirely administrative record keeping. So again, in keeping with the trend, I’m voting for the Democrat Miller.

Twelve race is for the Justice of the Peace for the McDowell Mountain Court. There’s only one candidate running, Michael Reagan (R) so Michael will be a republican vote from me because I have no choice and a write in ballot serves no purpose in this case.

Eleventh race is Constable for the McDowell Mountain Court. Again, there’s only one candidate running David Lester (R) and for the same reason as above, I’m voting for him.

The following races are “nonpartisan” so the party affiliation isn’t listed and there’s little to no available information on any of the candidates.

Central AZ Water Conservation District: You can vote for up to five of the following candidates: Alan Dulaney, Kerry Giangobbe, Terry Goddard, Jim Iannuzo, Heather Macre, Jennifer Martin, April Pinger, Daniel Schweiker, Ronald Sereny, Rory Vanpoucke, Chris Will, Frank Archer, Lisa Atkins and Jim Ballinger. I’m voting for Goddard who is an old time Democrat who was once our Attorney General. I’m also voting for Heather Macre, Jennifer Martin, April Pinger and Lisa Atkins for my own reasons. See if you can guess.

Maricopa County Community College At-Large is between Roc Arnett and Kathleen Winn. I’m voting for Winn because of her history with the Community College district.

Maricopa County Community College District 3 is between Debi Vandenboom, Sherman Elliott and Marie Sullivan. I’m voting for Sullivan because of her history with the Community College district.

Paradise Valley Unified School District is between Julie Bacon and Susan Matura. Although I substitute in this district I honestly don’t know anything substantive of either candidate so sadly on a coin toss I’m voting for Bacon (I always go for bacon).

Phoenix Mayor is between Kate Gallego, Moses Sanchez, Nicholas Sarwark and Daniel Valenzuela. Phoenix Mayor is a nonpartisan office. Kate Gallego comes with the best resume in my opinion so she has my vote.

Proposition 419 is an initiative for the City of Phoenix requiring any person trying influence the results of a city election to disclose where the money is coming from. I’m voting yes because we need to follow the money to see whose behind these initiatives and candidates to gauge their legitimacy.

Proposition 125 is an initiative that would allow the State to adjust benefits in the CORP Pension plan used by Corrections Officers, Probation Officers and State Legislators that includes tying cost of living adjustments to inflation. I’m having mixed feelings on this proposition. I’m not collecting my pension through CORP but through the larger, better ran and more financially sound ASRS system. However, many of my former coworkers are in the CORP system and on its face, this seems like a good idea. However, State Legislators who don’t work the years correction and probation officers do get the same benefits they do. Giving them carte blanche ability to change the governing rules could present problems for anyone in the system who isn’t a politician. I’m voting No on this one.

Proposition 126 is an initiative that would prohibit local governments from imposing service taxes should they see a need for it in the future due to cuts in funding from say the State Legislature. This is short sighted considering local governments need to collect money to pay the bills if they fall short of their revenues. Both candidates for State Treasurer oppose this proposition and so do I.

Proposition 127 is an initiative that would essentially expand the development and use of renewable energy in Arizona like Solar. APS is opposed to it saying it would raise utility bills which is an interesting argument since they would be the ones getting more money if that were true. In fact it would reduce the need of the energy sources APS and the Salt River Project are invested in thus cutting their revenues and saving the consumer money by getting solar power. My bills have been much lower since switching to solar to supplement my APS power usage so I’m voting Yes.

Proposition 305 is an initiative that would essentially rob from the Public Schools to give money to for profit private schools. Both candidates for the State Treasurer oppose this bill as do I. I’m voting No.

Proposition 306 is an initiative that would prohibit candidates in Arizona who receive funding from the publicly funded Citizens Clean Election Commission from transferring any of those funds to a political party or PAC. I think this is a no brainer. I’m voting Yes.

Finally there are the Justices and Judges of the Supreme and Superior Courts. These people are either retained or removed from the bench. I’ve worked with or know of most of these Judges and Justices and all deserve to keep their seats.

That’s all I have. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’m not asking any of you to vote as I did. Your vote is your own business. However, please vote the entire ballot based on what’s best for you, the state and nation. Place State and Nation above party and remember, all elections have consequences as we’ve seen the past two years. A blue wave in my personal opinion would help mend the State and Nation.