Lawmaker round table with legislators from Districts 8 and 16

Representative Doug Coleman speaking; from left Senator David Farnsworth, Pinal Partnership Chairman Harold Christ, Senator Barbara McGuire, Representative Frank Pratt, and Representative Thomas “TJ” Shope.

By Callan Smith | Rose Law Group Social Media Coordinator

The Gold Canyon Golf Resort was the location of this month’s Pinal Partnership Lawmaker Round Table Breakfast Event. Following breakfast, Pinal Partnership Chairman, Harold Christ took the mic to moderate, asking for the lawmakers to take their seats at the front. One by one he introduced them to the audience. District 8 was represented by Senator Barbara McGuire, Representative Frank Pratt and Representative Thomas “TJ.” Shope. District 16 was represented by Senator David Farnsworth and Representative Doug Coleman.

The question posed to the lawmakers was “what was your greatest accomplishment in the legislative session, and your biggest disappointment.”

Shope cited the successful study for the widening of 1-10 that took years of negotiation, noting that 70 percent of people in Casa Grande and other such communities travel the I-10 for work, which he stated was an excellent first step. Shope did not cite a specific disappointment when considering the number of successes in the session.

Pratt spoke of K-12 education and JTED successes then challenges of the session, citing an Arizona Power Authority bill that was contentious, taking dedication from all to get the forward-looking plan passed. He then spoke about challenges with a solar bill that protected rate payers.

McGuire addressed disappointment with education funding that was not restored from previous year’s cuts. Another issue she touched on was disappointment over the denial of San Tan Valley’s right to vote on a potential ballot proposal to incorporate the area. SB 1516, labeled a dark money bill, was also a concern of hers. SB 1166 a service dog bill, which was signed by the governor, was a success for McGuire.

Farnsworth took the mic next, noting his biggest disappoint was that the benefit from economic stimulus meetings he held in preperation for the session were not realized in the legislature. The meetings he noted had a good turn out but the attendees did not contribute as much as he would have hoped. He noted that he got 8 bills passed, with 7 of them being signed by the governor, including two HOA bills that preserved property rights. Farnsworth spoke on about the need to plan for the next legislative session now.

Coleman spoke about his most gratifying day after being bashed on twitter over KidsCare being left from the budget. Despite the negativity on social media and the thought that the bill had no hope in the session, it was a success for Coleman. He worked with other legislators getting it passed. He noted the senate leadership was not on board, but they had the support to get it before the governor, who signed it.

The final question of the round table was “Who are you voting for president of the United States?”

Coleman mentioned he was a Marc Rubio supporter and stated he was not on the Trump train yet. Shope took the mic saying with a smile that he would throw his own hat in, but he’s too young. All joking aside, Shope hoped that Romney would enter the race. Pratt said that his picks didn’t make it far, but he would support the Republican nominee.

McGuire took the mic stating that she would like to see what candidates stood for and how they were going to pass immigration reform. She then noted the historical precedence that a woman now held a major party nomination. Farnsworth issued his support of Donald Trump the Republican nominee. He stated that he may be the worst president we ever have, or may be the best.

Questions from those attending closed out the meeting. First regarding the separation of the state from local municipality governance. McGuire spoke of the need for the state to stay out of local municipalities. Farnsworth took a slightly different view citing the need for continuity of law from the state down to the city level, noting that at times municipalities add law after law. He stated citizen’s involvement is a solution along with state oversight on some matters.

Coleman believes the government closest to the people is most responsive, specifically local zoning ordinances should be left for municipalities. Although, he did note that there are issues that should be at the state level, such as minimum wage.

The next question revolved around the Arizona Depart of Revenue over-reach when garnishing employee wages. All of the lawmakers echoed the point that they could do something now that they knew of the problem and looked forward to addressing the issue. When the questions ended, the applause began closing out the discussion, freeing lawmakers to meet with their constituents.

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