State Senate District 6: Q&A with Tom Chabin of Flagstaff

The new Legislative District 6 includes the Verde Valley as well as Flagstaff and Payson.

The new Legislative District 6 includes the Verde Valley as well as Flagstaff and Payson.

Democrat Tom Chabin has served as one of the two representatives from the old District 2 since 2007.

He currently serves as the ranking member of three house committees: Ways and Means, Rules and Higher Education and Reform. He also serves on the Government, Judiciary and Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

Prior to serving in the legislature, he served on the Tuba City School Board and for eight years on the Coconino County Board of Supervisors.

A resident of Arizona since he began college at Northern Arizona University in 1972, Chabin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in American Studies.

Question: With Legislative Dist. 6 aligning the Verde Valley with Flagstaff, what is your position on the long-standing Verde-Prescott conflict over pumping water from the Big Chino aquifer? Many residents of the Verde Valley have long opposed the pumping. How do you intend to deal with the problem?

Answer: I voted against HB 2561 that granted the Prescott area the authority to pump 8,000 acre-feet of water from the Big Chino sub-aquifer.  I believe every community must live within the water resources it has and that the strictest conservation measures must be employed in every water stressed community.

We must be careful that water now being pumped from the Big Chino does not, or potentially will not dry up the springs and tributaries to the Verde River.  None of us have been truly assured of that.

Question: Why and how will the Verde Valley be better served in Legislative District 6 vs. the former alignment that paired the Verde Valley with the Prescott area and kept Yavapai County in a single district?

Answer: The Verde Valley now comprises over 30 percent of the voters in District 6, meaning that no candidate can win without your support.  District 6 is also neither a safe Republican or Democratic district now, so every vote in the General Election matters.

Everyone in the Verde Valley now has an equal voice.  Finally, our new district has the potential to determine who controls the Legislature and consequently the agenda for Arizona.  

Your votes can ensure that the independent spirit and down-to-earth approach to problem solving found in the Verde Valley spreads out to the rest of the state.

Question: The Arizona Legislature has proposed various plans for consolidation of school districts in Arizona. What is your position on school district consolidation and specifically how it relates to the Verde Valley where there are five school districts and three of those districts govern just one school each?

Answer: The decision of whether to combine school districts should belong to the voters of those districts, and should not be imposed by the state Legislature.

I voted against the creation of a statewide committee whose purpose was to compel the consolidation of local schools.

I voted for the bill that requires the Yavapai County School Superintendent to conduct a study for consolidation of the districts within Yavapai County so the local school boards have the information they need to decide whether to refer the issue of consolidation to the voters.  In the end, it is up to the district voters.

Question: What is your legislative agenda as it relates to the Verde Valley?

Answer: As a representative for the last five years I have fought for consensus solutions. I stood up for families by opposing government intrusion into your personal contraceptive decisions.

I opposed every budget cut to our educational system.  I fought laws that interfere with local control of our local governments.  

I will fight to restore funding to our community colleges and universities so all Verde Valley residents can further their education.  I will work to stop the Legislature from forcing our towns and school districts to raise local taxes to pay for things that should be covered by our state taxes.

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