The Northwest Democratic Breakfast Club welcomed our LD28 “stars” to their December gathering at the Beatitudes campus. Aaron said it was “courageous” for Kelli to agree with our district that “this was the year” to run a second House candidate and he said that he was grateful to our district for knocking on more doors than any other legislative district — or any congressional district — in the state. Although we have more Democrats in the House than we’ve had since 1966, Kelli explained that the majority party still controls committee assignments and that committee chairs decide which bills are scheduled for hearings. There are disparities in staffing — 29 for the Republicans and just 12 staffers covering 29 committees for the Democrats — though Democratic leadership is lobbying the speaker for more equity.
As ranking member on the House Health and Human Services Committee, Kelli will re-introduce her medicaid buy-in plan in order to expand access in Arizona to affordable healthcare — so important, as Republicans continue to try to weaken the ACA. Kelli will also serve on the Commerce and Technology Committees, where she will be a voice against those tax credit give-aways her Republican colleagues find reasons to support!
Aaron is a member of the House Education and Appropriations Committees and he spoke about the need for charter school accountability. District 28 has more charter schools than any other district in the state and many are very good schools, but there are "bad actors" in the industry, and nobody should be allowed to make money running a charter school by “ripping-off” state taxpayers. He said there needs to be bi-partisan discussions at the beginning of the negotiations this session on what reform will look like. With a 31-29 split in the House, Republicans will no doubt need Democratic support for legislation like this to pass.
Referencing the 31-29 split, Kelli said attendance will be critical this session.
And referencing voting rights, we should all be on the lookout for more efforts to restrict access to voting. Kelli said that there is already talk about eliminating the emergency voting centers used in Maricopa County in the 2018 elections.