As an elected official and a candidate, I welcome the opportunity to have my record of public service examined by voters. This is the essence of our democracy. However, I won’t accept a fraudulent misrepresentation of my record.
This paper recently published a letter that is a complete fabrication regarding my service on the Amphitheater (Amphi) School Board. Contrary to the assertions in this letter, the record shows that it was my former colleague, Dr. Ken Smith, and I who brought the improper activities to the attention of the appropriate state authorities. We filed complaints with the Attorney General and the Auditor General that resulted in the investigations.
These activities included land purchased without appraisals, improper bidding practices, and the use of childcare program money to pay for inappropriately lavish parties for administrators. Resources needed to educate our children were diverted to these practices and the public trust was compromised.
The powerful interests enriched by these unlawful practices fought back and personally attacked Dr. Ken Smith and I in ways similar to this letter.
We prevailed and after years of hard work by the former and current boards, the current superintendent, as well as staff and parents, the damage was repaired and public trust was restored.
I stand by my work on the Amphi board. We were able to open the district’s governing to the public and parents, cut administrative overhead, and we raised teachers’ pay from the lowest in the county to near the top. We also lowered class sizes without sacrificing elementary Art, Music and PE classes.
I’m honored that in 2000, I was awarded the Freedom of Information Award by Arizona Newspapers Association for my efforts to shine daylight on the district’s inner-workings. I’m also pleased to be endorsed by Gov. Janet Napolitano, who, as our former Attorney General, supervised the investigation.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that many supporting me in my current campaign also supported me while on the Amphi Board.
I will continue to stand up to powerful special interests and will always work for the best interests of families and taxpayers.