Q&A: State Senate District 6 candidate Felicia French
Years in Arizona: 55-plus-year resident; third-generation Arizonan
Recent government elective and advisory experience: N/A
Verde Independent: The winner of this race will be a new addition to the state Senate. What committee assignments do you hope to receive, and what is an example of what you feel should be one of the Senate’s top 2021 priorities?
French: I would seek to join the Education, Health & Human Services, Natural Resources, Energy & Water, and Military & Veterans Affairs committees, in order to focus on my top values and leverage my years of professional medical, Army and National Guard experience.
We move Arizona forward with real solutions by ensuring we fully fund public education for our children, we provide all Arizonans, in particular those in our rural communities, including our tribal nations, with access to quality preventative care and affordable medical treatment, and we make our government more accountable to protect our state’s greatest resources, our people, public lands, and water rights.
VI: How has the pandemic affected both campaigning and which issues are of top concern to LD6 voters?
French: In late February, when we last canvassed, the top issues we heard from Verde Valley voters were education, healthcare, and stronger local control.
As Arizona’s state legislature has preempted cities and counties from deciding what’s best—even a local issue like wine production levels can’t be self-determined, let alone issues like protecting the Verde River, short-term rentals, and traffic.
However, since COVID-19, we’ve transitioned our in-person campaign activities to online, phone, text and mail, for the safety of our volunteers and voters. What voters are prioritizing now are healthcare, jobs and the economy, and education, as they relate to COVID-19.
VI: What economic growth measures can the Senate take to make LD6 and other parts of Arizona less dependent on tourism?
French: I’m someone who always looks for solutions that are what I call WIN - WIN - WIN. By investing in green jobs we can re-skill our workforce, as well as give students vocational education options that won’t put them into debt.
We can also provide opportunities for local economic growth, right here in the Verde Valley -- jobs that can’t be outsourced (retrofitting homes/buildings for energy efficiency, water conservation, solar power, etc.).
Finally, by transitioning to renewable energy production, which now costs less than traditional sources, we can lower utility bills and save millions of gallons of water used by coal plants.