Brenda Barton (Republican)
Years in Arizona: Born in Arizona's Gila Valley
Occupation: Arizona State Representative
Education: High School and Some College; Government Accounting
Elective and advisory experience: Dodie Londen Excellence in Public Service Program, Western Legislative Academy, Council of State Government. Civic Affiliations: AZ Republican Women Region 3 Director
Verde Independent: How do you plan to apply the fundamental principles of your party to remedy Arizona's unresolved issues in quality of education, immigration policy and job growth?
Barton: If Arizona is to succeed education, immigration and job growth policies need to work together. As with many western states, Arizona receives tax revenue from only a small fraction of its total land. For example, Gila County has only 4 percent taxable land. The key to greater education funding in Arizona is to continue to grow the economy and therefore the tax base. And growing the economy is directly tied to sound immigration policies that have a stream-lined and appropriate temporary worker visas program, especially for the agricultural industry. We have also been relocating business to Arizona at increased rates with our good education system and low taxes.
Verde Independent: The Affordable Care Act has affected Arizona in both positive and negative ways, with increased medical coverage for the uninsured/underinsured yet increased rates and shrinking choices for others. With counties like Pinal experiencing a complete pullout of all insurers except one, what is your plan to ensure coverage for Arizonans?
Barton: I was working to find an alternative to expanding the Affordable Care Act to AZ by increasing choices but removing much of the red tape. It is clear with insurance companies leaving the exchange at alarming rates that the system is just not working. Arizona has a top notch health care system but we did not need to add federal red tape into the mix and complicate the situation.
Verde Independent: What skills have you acquired in your personal background and how will you apply those skills to making decisions in the legislature?
Barton: My family has been in Arizona since 1871 and I have lived my life as a native of eastern Arizona. I'm honored to represent Legislative District 6 and stand up for the rights of rural Arizonans at the State Legislature. I look forward to continuing to serve as your representative.