ScrambleWatch Q&A: Democrat Andrea Dalessandro on Crime

Democrat Andrea Dalessandro is facing Republicans Frank Antenori and David Gowan in the race for two House of Representatives seats in Legislative District 30. We asked her some questions about crime.

Should we increase state funding for prison construction?

I wish that we would refocus. Our prison budget is going out-of-sight compared to what it was a few years ago. We need to look at some of sentencing laws for minor crimes and we need to give them opportunities for education. I’m also concerned about first-time juvenile drug offenders. I don’t want them to become career prison residents. I would rather see them have increased opportunity and be productive. I think it’s sad that we are spending more money on inmates in prison, than we are spending on youth for public education.

Should we have more contracts with private prisons?

No, because privatization is great in theory, but if there is a profit motive, I don’t think it’s a good thing. People still have rights and they need to be treated humanely with proper food and facilities. I also think that education should be encouraged more in prisons, because if it isn’t there, they just return to a life of violence.
Do you support “hate crimes” legislation that increases penalties for crimes based on race, ethnic background, religious belief, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation?

I think it’s a basic civil right and hate crimes are just evil. It doesn’t Continue reading

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ScrambleWatch Q&A: Democrat Andrea Dalessandro on Higher Education

Democrat Andrea Dalessandro is facing Republicans Frank Antenori and David Gowan in the race for two House of Represseats in Legislative District 30. We asked her some questions about higher education.

Should the state provide more funding for universities?

Yes, for public universities.

Should the Board of Regents increase tuition for in-state students?

I really think that’s a violation of the Arizona Constitution. Our constitution says that higher education should be as near free as possible. I grew up in a family with very modest means, but because of affordable higher education, I was able to go to college and become a math teacher in my first career. So, I think that if we want a better educated workforce, we have to support the students and not raise tuition.

Should the Board of Regents increase tuition for out-of-state students?

That’s OK with me. While it’s good to have diversity, taxpayers within the state Continue reading

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Democrat Andrea Dalessandro on Education

Democrat Andrea Dalessandro is facing Republicans Frank Antenori and David Gowan in the race for two House seats in Legislative District 30. We asked her some questions about education.

Should the AIMS test remain a requirement for high-school graduation?

What’s happened with No Child Left Behind is the only people who are being helped out by it are the companies that generate the test. I think there should be other measures. The augmentation that they passed at the end of this session is a good thing. I have friends that are very smart and they have trouble with standardized tests. I, myself, am a good test taker, so I’ve never minded, but there are just some people that have anxiety–some have anxiety on a reading part, some have anxiety on a math portion. I was a math teacher, so I know what happens with that. I think it puts an undue stress on the teacher and the students. I’m also concerned that sometimes special-ed students and English language learners are forced to take the test, and it’s stupid. I think we need to look at a floor review of students and their achievements.

Do you favor any changes for the AIMS test?

Yes, I just would like to mention that assessment is an important part of education. But, to give one blank test for everyone, it doesn’t show the individual’s abilities. I think it should be part of the picture, but not the whole picture. I’ve read information about teachers not wanting to teach on the grades that the AIMS test has given, because it is a bad reflection on them. I think teachers should be evaluated on how students improve over the year.

Do you support state-funded vouchers for private or religious schools?

No, public funds should be used for public schools.

Does the state need to spend more on school construction?

Yes, I would like to see the schools Continue reading

LD30 Debate

The LD30 Clean Elections debate last Thursday between House of Representatives candidates Democrat Andrea Delasandro and Republicans David Gowan and Frank Antenori didn’t bring people out in droves; nor did the Senate race between Rep. Jonathan Paton and Democrat Georgette Valle.  But, for all you political junkies who didn’t attend, roll up your sleeve and tie off your arm: Here comes your fix.

House of Representatives

Moderator Dave Irwin gave the candidates two-and-a-half-minutes for opening statements.  We’ll give them a paragraph and a picture.

“Mr. Anetori,” who didn’t bother to correct the moderator’s mispronounciation of his name, went first. He told the fewer than 50-person crowd of mostly over 50-year-old voters that “the state is broken” and the most important thing for Arizona right now is getting the budget back on track, without gimmicks like traffic cameras. He called for employer sanctions and said we’ve got to deal with the education problem. He supports merit pay for teachers.

Next up was David Gowan, who thanked the voters who supported him in the primary election and mentioned his history, family, education and volunteer service with the Boy Scouts. He said we’ve got to take control of the state budget and the border and he believes in competition and merit pay for teachers.

Democrat Andrea Dalessandro said she wants to be part of the new delegation going to Phoenix.  She told the crowd that her humble childhood and work as a CPA makes her uniquely experienced to handle the budget. She calls for problem solving over politics and says protecting education is her top priority because “although children and young people are only part of our population, they are 100 percent of our future.”

Highlights from the House

What would your priority be in fixing the state budget?

Dalessandro says she wouldn’t cut back in schools but would make other necessary cuts, starting with the House speaker’s slush fund.

Antenori says most people think “politicians are good for two things–spending your money and asking for more. I’m not that kind of politician.” He calls legislators Continue reading