I live in Legislative District 20 for the state of Arizona. My wife and I are teachers in the public schools system. The current LD 20 State Representative - Anthony Kern - lives nearby. Although he is my representative, I am not represented by him.
No one is paying me to write this, but I feel it needs to be done because Arizona school funding is in a state of crisis. Despite the commercials we see on TV explaining how teachers are going be paid 20% higher by 2020, the state has fallen $700 Million short of what it used to fund the Arizona public schools in 2009. That was nearly a decade ago.
Support staff, psychologists, school nurses, and instructional aides are being left out by the Arizona State Legislators. Some are simply not being paid.
During the Arizona teachers’ walk out in April to early May, I had the good fortune to speak to Anthony Kern. We were introduced by his colleague State Representative Isela Blanc. Anthony and I spoke for at least 20 minutes in front of the state’s House of Representatives. We talked about schools, the Civil War, and even the Civil Right Act of 1964.
Anthony and I did not agree on too many things - especially Donald Trump. Anthony Kern loves what the president is doing for our country. The only thing we agreed on was the adoption of children should be less expensive.
He was clearly for funding of the ‘Freedom School’ started by the Koch Brothers. According to Jim Small, the State of Arizona has given $12 Million to the 'Freedom Schools' at ASU and U of A since 2016. The Koch Brothers are part of one of the wealthiest families in the United States. They do not need help from Mr. Kern to fund their schools. They can do the funding for their school alone, and do not need help from the state of Arizona.
Nonetheless, my wife and my friends stayed for 19 hours during the Arizona State House deliberation on the education budget. Mr. Kern was clearly disrespectful and condescending about the alleged 20% raise teachers would receive. The budget did not even say how this money is going to come about in its budget. The majority of the Republican legislators were out right hostile to the teachers, Mr. Kern included.
As I have said, Mr. Kern does not represent me nor the majority of his constituents. My wife and my neighbor both had words with Mr. Kern about education. The neighbor is a school psychologist. She invited Kern to come to a local school board meeting, which he did not attend.
We need someone who will represent us like Chris Gilfillan who lost to Kern last election by 3% or 4000 votes. This race in 2016 was one of the closest in the country.
Chris supports schools and the funding for the schools. Arizona schools can receive the funding with the leadership of Chris Gilfillan at the helm of Legislative District 20. I have spoken to Chris several times and I feel he supports education and will give educators the tools that we need for education to make Arizonans students successful for future opportunities in the 21st century.
Hello, my name is Blake. I met the newest addition to our family, Holly, around Christmas time last year (and boy, was she a fantastic Christmas gift!). She is an English Springer Spaniel, and she is about 9 months old. She is the sweetest little girl you can ever possibly meet, and her love for our family knows no bounds. She is always the happiest little pup after I get home from a long day of canvassing, and I love coming home from working hard all day just to be greeted by Holly's hugs and kisses.
Hello, my name is Blake Lister, and I am one of the Campaign Managers for Chris Gilfillans' 2018 Campaign for State House.
I first started working to help get Democrats elected in 2016 as a high school senior. After canvassing for Ann Kirkpatrick a couple of times that April, I was brought on as an intern to help flip Legislative District 20 from red to blue for candidates up and down the ballot. It was during this time where I met my first candidate ever to run for office: Chris Gilfillan. We had a brief office exchange, where he thanked me for my tireless service to help flip the district he was running in. I was starstruck by meeting him at first, as I vividly remember calling one of my high school political friends about how awesome it was to meet someone running for office. It was at this time when I first felt that I was doing something worthwhile, and that I was truly having a positive impact on both my community and the state of Arizona.
Skip ahead about a year which consisted of me being hired by the Arizona Democratic Party, starting college, and working with numerous nonprofits, and I received a text from Chris one day out of the blue. He told me that he was starting up a campaign to run for State House again after having one of the closest races in the state last time around, and asked me to meet with him over coffee to talk about it. I accepted, and less than a week later we were sitting in a coffee shop talking about his campaign. In that meeting, Chris told me about how we can change Legislative District 20 for the better through his platform of making education the number one priority of our state, committing to help small businesses thrive from Dunlap to the 101, and allowing for more transparency in our state government. After hearing his message, he asked me to join his campaign, and I was couldn't accept his offer to be one of his first volunteers for his 2018 campaign any faster.
I started helping our Chris whenever I could in November of 2017, and I have slowly watched this team grow from just the two of us to one of the biggest forces LD 20 has ever seen. After months of working tirelessly for him, Chris asked me to become a full-time campaign manager for him in June to help flip the west side of the district, and once again I could not accept the offer any faster.
I'm incredibly proud and thankful that I have the opportunity to work for a candidate that is truly going to change LD 20 and Arizona for the better, and I hope that you can be apart of this change too. Please, go to https://www.chrisforaz.com/calendar or email us back to join us for an upcoming event. You too can help make your community a better place, and let me be the first to tell you that it's a phenomenal feeling! I can't wait to meet you at one of events soon!
Hi! My name is Shantel Garcia. I am a pet owner, and this is my dog Riddick. I started volunteering for Chris’s campaign for many reasons. The most important involves my niece Sabrina. (It also helped that Riddick loved Chris right away. He’s a great judge of character!)
My niece Sabrina is four years old and will be joining the public school system soon. I worry about the kind of education she will be receiving.
My brother and sister-in-law live in this district too. Like all parents, they want her to get a great education. Unfortunately, like most people, they can’t afford a private school. Like many working class families, they depend on the public school system.
Chris talks about getting schools funded like before the great recession. Public school teachers deserve a raise. We should be able to provide a great education, no matter the ZIP code.
My name is Terry Zubow, I have been a resident of Legislative District (LD) 20 for 47 years and I am a lifelong educator who worked in the Paradise Valley School District for 32 years.
As a Master’s student, I taught in a migrant community in California. I worked tirelessly with farmworkers, picking up Spanish here and there. After graduation, I moved into LD20 - in 1971 - 47 years ago. Since then, I have worked in the North valley, primarily at PVSD schools.
I met Chris Gilfillan while collecting signatures for the Save Our Schools Campaign, an effort that would end the Scholarship Empowerment Act. This legislation essentially gutted public schools and bolstered private education.
Chris and I are strong public school advocates who pounded the pavement all summer long in 2017, and circulating petitions together, we became close friends. As a result, when Chris decided to run for office, I became heavily involved in his campaign.
We believe that public education is a sacred space where children from all backgrounds can come together to learn. We also believe that privatizing public education is unfair and there is too much influence for wealthy individuals.
I support Chris’s campaign in LD20 because I love his drive, enthusiasm and energy levels. I also believe in Chris’s ideals because education is a part of his family. I know Chris understands the value of a strong public education system.
Today, I am a volunteer for Chris’s LD20 campaign. I spend my time canvassing, cutting turf or making phone calls for Chris.
Residents, school staff and teachers like me in LD20 support Chris 100 percent.
We all know how much our pets mean to us. They're by our side in the best of times and by our side in the worst of times.
That's why we wanted to take a minute during this campaign to put the spotlight on some of our furry friends. After all, this campaign has always been about connecting the community.
So for our first Pet's Corner, there's Penny. She's a Norwich Terrier and my wife Julie and I rescued her from the Sunnyslope Humane Society.
Every phone bank and canvass that we have Penny is right there with us, greeting our team members and snarfing up any extra doughnuts.
That's her role in this campaign, and she is always, as you'd expect, right there by our side. And especially for the Fourth of July, we thought you would enjoy seeing her Patriotic outfit.
May you all have a happy Fourth of July!
All the best,
As a person focused on our small businesses in Arizona, we're excited to announce that we are officially endorsed by the Arizona Technology Council. It should be noted that we are one of the only non-incumbent races to earn that endorsement.Read more
I started my career as a newspaper reporter, eventually working the education beat. It made sense since my mother worked in the school system.
But during that, I spent hours upon hours in school board meetings listening to the needs of teachers, parents and students. I parsed and analyzed budget and spending proposals. And I spoke with our education leaders about their decisions, which affected our kids from small to tall.
And I have not stopped.
Perhaps you were wondering about some of my commitments to education in Arizona. Well, here they are:Read more
After several lawmakers admitted to accepting gifts during the Fiesta Bowl fiasco and other legislators receiving favorable treatment and illegal gifts, the study by Harvard ranked Arizona last for all branches of government. Even on the eve of the teacher's strike, your lawmakers gave a tax break to coal instead of you.
And then came the teachers. The sight of 50,000 teachers and education advocates marching in solidarity to the State Capitol was inspiring. But despite the best efforts of #RedForEd, the Republican-led legislature’s new unsustainable, uncertain additions have only led us to improve over one state in the nation in education spending.
It’s clear - Arizonans are demanding change.