The Arizona Republic
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
The newly drawn Legislative District 15 looks like an old typewriter spread across north-central Phoenix, where four Republican candidates are tapping out a conservative message they hope will win one of the district’s two state House seats.
Of the four hopefuls, one far and away stands out. Heather Carter, a freshman lawmaker in today’s LD7, is a rising star at the Capitol. In her first two years, she brought energy and strong political instincts to the House.
She got legislation passed and proved a quick study in backing reform of Child Protective Services. Her performance won her the political endorsement of Gov. Jan Brewer, along with those of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, House Speaker Andy Tobin and a wide swath of the Valley’s business community.
Carter is a fiscal conservative who favors low taxation and regulation. However, she also argues Arizona’s “hodgepodge of tax policy” is unsustainable, shortsighted and hampers efforts to set sound budgets.
“We need a plan for Arizona, in terms of where we want our state to be in 5, 10 or 15 years,” she wrote in her Republic questionnaire. She is eager to work with the governor’s Tax Reform Committee to bring greater logic and efficiency to the tax code, she wrote.
The Capitol could also benefit from greater sunshine, argues Carter, 43. “Don’t bring me a policy decision at 3 and expect me to vote at 5,” she said. She also calls for more conservative revenue projections so the state does not find itself short of cash.
Carter is an educator, having taught seventh grade at Paradise Valley Unified School District and working today as a clinical associate professor at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Education spending must be bolted to results, she argues. “It is crucial to invest in specific areas of education … tied to specific ‘deliverables,’ like increasing the number of children reading by third grade” — such as was done in the last budget, she wrote.
For District 15’s other House seat, we recommend — without enthusiasm — John Allen, a former state representative in Districts 7 and 11. Fiercely conservative, Allen has acted at times eccentrically, such as in 2006 when he staged a one-man counter-demonstration against immigration marchers seeking a path to citizenship. According to Capitol Media Services at the time, he made a placard that said he would hold off the marchers if then-Gov. Janet Napolitano would send in the National Guard.
In his interview with The Republic Editorial Board, Allen said: “I’m not a headline guy. There are too many headline guys down there (at the Legislature).… I want to be a journeyman.”
Allen has an interesting idea to speed up state bureaucrats: Set “time windows” that when exceeded would require permit-issuing state agencies to forgo their fees. Delay the permit, forfeit the fee. This would force government to serve the public faster, he said.
“We need to make it easier to be in business here, through lower taxes, regulations that add value, and a licensing process that is fast and inexpensive,” he writes.
A fiscal hawk, Allen wants to keep taxes and spending low. “Arizona state government is spending too much of the taxpayers’ money.”
The other GOP candidates are attorney David Burnell Smith, perhaps best known for resigning his House seat in 2006 after violating Clean Elections regulations, and James Bearup, an Army combat veteran and youth pastor.
In the race for two District 15 House seats, voters can confidently rely on Heather Carter to serve them well. Their best pick among the other three is John Allen.