East Valley Tribune
I have spent my life as a tireless advocate for children and families. As a prosecutor, an Assistant Attorney General, and House Minority Leader, I have gotten real results for all Arizonans.
Fighting for Victims
An Arizona native, I work for the non-profit Defenders of Children, which serves children and adults who are victims of abuse. As Defenders' staff attorney, I fight to ensure that abused kids are removed from violent situations and placed with qualified, caring relatives or foster parents. I also work with victims of the polygamist sect in Colorado City, helping women and children to escape abuse. I have carried my passion for victims to the state legislature, where I fight for legislation to help abused children and victims of domestic violence.
I began my legal career as an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board, where I enforced our nation's laws protecting workers' rights. In one of my first cases, I sued a Laughlin casino on behalf of several workers who had been fired for organizing a union. I won back their jobs, including back pay, and protected their right to organize. I then joined the Attorney General's office as an Assistant Attorney General, where I prosecuted school officials who had used school funds to take vacations or remodel their homes. I also help to oversee a $1.4 billion school construction program to fix crumbling schools and ensure that every child went to class in a safe, healthy environment.
Making Government Work for Arizona
In 2002, my focus on kids led me to the Phoenix Union High School District. In eight years on the school board - including two years as President - I have focused on increasing parent and community involvement in schools. Through my efforts, the District has raised thousands of dollars to provide scholarships and mentoring programs to hundreds of students across the District.
First elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2004, I have been a powerful advocate for Arizona families. I recognize that we have a choice between paying up front to educate our children, or paying down the road to incarcerate far too many of them. For that reason, I have stood up to draconian budget cuts that deprived thousands of Arizona children of a quality education and dependable healthcare. A staunch ally of current Attorney General Terry Goddard, I have authored tough laws designed to crack down on violent crime and identity theft. As a Defenders' attorney, I have helped to train more than 1,000 attorneys and law enforcement officials on domestic violence, child abuse and the juvenile and dependency law and co-authored Child Advocacy 101, a guide to child protection systems in the United States.
I grew up in the Phoenix area, graduated from Washington High School, and attended Arizona State University for my undergraduate and law degrees.
Originally published Tuesday, August 3, 2010
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