The 2020 election is heating up in Arizona with plenty of candidates vying for office. While there is a huge emphasis on the presidential election, voters will also decide the outcome of state representative and senate seats.
Patch asked candidates to answer questions about their campaigns and will be publishing candidate profiles as election day draws near.
Eric Kurland, a Scottsdale resident is running for State House District 23.
<b>Party affiliation:</b> Democratic Party
<b>Family:</b> Kari Kurland (wife, public school teacher), son Andy (student at NAU)
<b>Occupation:</b> Teacher 24 years (retired since 2019)
<b>Previous elected experience:</b> President of the Scottsdale Education Association
<b>Family members in government:</b> No
Campaign website: https://kurland23.com/
<b>The single most pressing issue facing our state is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.</b>
Education. I will work with the diverse members of our community to increase teacher retention, decrease class size and leave an educational infrastructure that is welcoming for incoming businesses and open to current companies for growth.
<b>What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?</b>
I am seeking office because I believe we are stronger working together while my opponent is running to keep a political majority. We can only solve the big problems with a willingness to listen.
<b>What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?</b>
I was the president of the teachers’ association for four years. During that time we cemented a working relationship with the community, governing board and administration that was interest based. We shared an interest and worked in a win-win manner to get solutions. I ended up sitting on the Superintendent’s Learning Leadership team because of the work we did.
<b>What steps should state government take to bolster economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic for local businesses?</b>
The virus needs to be handled medically before anything can be bolstered with the economy. It really doesn’t come down to any government intervention until we have all of our consumers feeling a sense of safety. Following CDC guidelines and wearing a mask should be priority number one. The second thing we need to do is raise the unemployment benefits we have in Arizona. We have the second lowest number at $240 a week and it hasn’t been changed in close to two decades. We have seen that losing a job can happen with events beyond ones control.
<b>How will you address the calls for racial justice and police reform?</b>
Whenever there is a question, education is usually the answer. Racial justice starts with educational opportunities. Educational equity. Police reform must come with police buy in. We need to have everyone at the table and start with the questions of “How can I help you be more successful than you already are?” With that, my belief is that we have to be careful to protect due process rather than rushing to judgement and I’d like to see body cameras on all officers.
<b>List other issues that define your campaign platform:</b>
Work across the aisle for the following: Accountability and transparency with our public charter schools. Allow for residents to buy into the state medical insurance system. Direct ballot referral for Outlaw Dirty Money. Sentencing reform. A forensic accounting of all the carve outs and loopholes in our state revenue stream. Reinvesting in our community colleges and universities. Protect our voting rights and citizen initiatives. Get out of the private prison business.
<b>What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?</b>
I will work with any person from any party to move Arizona forward. I am in this to make a difference, not to make a name.
This article originally appeared on the Phoenix Patch