Linda Dooling: Why I'm Voting for Chris Gilfillan

Dear Friends and Fellow Citizens,

I want to explain why I’m voting for new leadership in Legislative District 20 -- why I’m voting proudly for Chris Gilfillan.

After the election of our current president, I experienced a fleeting moment of optimism. I didn’t vote for him, but maybe, just maybe, he could break through the gridlock that seems to have gripped our politics. He spoke about preserving Social Security and Medicare; he said that he would create an even better healthcare system; he promised to begin rebuilding our dangerously deteriorating infrastructure. Very quickly -- indeed from his intemperate and disquieting inaugural address -- it became clear that keeping these promises would not be his mission. Instead, he began intensifying divisiveness, empowering bigots, repeatedly lying, and enriching the top one quarter of one percent of the population. However, he didn’t do this alone. All along the way, he has been aided by one of the most corrupt U.S. Congresses in our history, politicians who have no interest in the well-being of the average person. Sadly, my own state representative, Rep. Kern of LD20, stands squarely behind the Republican group that has encouraged the worst instincts of this president, voted to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans, voted to create a level of debt that is dangerous for our children, and has worked to divide Americans instead of uniting us. At the local level, Kern is trying to divide us, to reward the rich, and to reduce opportunities for the average citizen.

Rep. Kern doesn’t vote for public schools or for community colleges; instead, he seems to save his time and his legislative efforts for country club members and private plane owners -- hardly the average citizens in his district! Rep. Kern has not answered emails. He’s made sarcastic comments about and to his own constituents. During the recent #RedforEd teacher movement, he did not answer emails or phone calls from me or from my husband -- and my husband is not a registered Democrat! He’s an Independent, a Vietnam veteran who earned two silver stars during combat, a businessman who worked with one of our local companies for over 20 years, and a retiree with real concerns about our misplaced priorities. During the budget debates, Kern was dismissive and hostile toward teachers and public education. Only after the budget passed, when Kern copied and pasted a constituent’s complaint and added his own rude comments, and a number of us tried to express our frustration over his lack of availability, hyper-partisanship, and outright discourtesy, did he begin to back down, temper his tone, and post pictures that made it look as if he had been a big school supporter all along. All I can say is, too little, too late!

I hope that the voters in our district will choose someone who has been committed a long time to our district and to our children. A man who is the son of a school teacher, who went to public schools and universities, and who knows that most of us do not want our tax money to go to someone choosing to pay $15K+ a year to a private school or to a charter school that has chosen profits over the education of children. I want us to be represented by someone who knows how much our kids need good trade school options and good community colleges -- Kern is part of the group that has reduced state funding to the Maricopa Community College district to ZERO dollars! At the same time, Kern has voted to give $12 million to the Freedom School at ASU, founded by the wealthy, multi-billionaire Koch brothers. Really? Our kids need real help and opportunities, and I believe that Chris Gilfillan is committed to our kids. I also want someone who is going to look out for little local businesses, instead of voting to let big online retailers get a tax break. The average tax payer in LD20 is not a wealthy donor, and we need someone who cares about us. I believe that Gilfillan is that person.

Yes, I’m a high school teacher -- in a top 10 district school, with a 91% graduation rate, where 47% of our seniors take an AP class, and where we help every student, every day, to reach their potential. I know what our kids are capable of, and I also know the huge burden they face with student loans and reduced state investment. I’m also a mom, a Catholic, and a member of the Glendale community. I want to keep good local schools, to preserve our property values, and to have thriving local businesses. Kern is not doing that, but Chris Gilfillan has a platform ready that reflects our local values and concerns.

Vote for change. Vote for your children. Vote for Chris Gilfillan for LD20!

Yours truly,

Linda Dooling