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State House: Q&A with Brenda Barton of Payson
Rep. Brenda Barton
7/14/2012 2:39:00 PM
By Jon Hutchinson
Born in Safford, Rep. Brenda Barton is a fifth generation native of rural eastern Arizona. In 1871, her great-great grandfather established the first crossing on the Colorado River, Lee's Ferry.
She began her career in public service with the City of Safford, in the late 1980s, where she served in both the Accounting Department and in Materials Management. Rep. Barton was tasked to lead a group of employees in drafting the City of Safford's Vision Statement. It was subsequently adopted by the City Council.
Public events drew her into political activism in the mid-1990s and she became an elected officer of People for the West, a land and property rights group.
Rep. Barton is a former Director on the State Board of the Arizona Republican Women. Upon election to the Arizona House in 2010, she was appointed as State Director of Women in Government.
Elected to Legislative District 5, today Barton is the incumbent Arizona Representative for LD6 and a member of the Centennial 50th Arizona Legislature.
She serves as Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education, Innovation and Reform; and am a member of the Energy & Natural Resources Committee and the Agriculture & Water Committee.
Together with her husband Bruce, she lives in Payson Arizona where I have resided since October 2011. (602) 926-4129 firstname.lastname@example.org
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: That is really big as far as water is concerned and the community. I don't really have a quick and dirty solution. I need to become more familiar. I have had several people send me comments about it. I know we have to work something out. But, I really can't give you an easy solution at this time but we need to work together.
Question: Why and how will the Verde Valley be better served in Legislative Dist. 6 vs. the former alignment that paired the Verde Valley with Prescott area and kept Yavapai County in a single district?
Answer: Prescott and the Verde Valley have a lot of similarities. But, just getting a handle on the new district has been really challenging. The Verde Valley and Cottonwood folks have a lot of things in common with the Payson area as much as they do with Flagstaff. I know that Representatives Tobin and Fann were very concerned about all the pieces of the puzzle.
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: I am in favor of consolidation. I don't think everything should be consolidated. Some districts should remain the same. Just on the surface, if there is only one school, consolidation should be looked at. But, first, what is the distance between the schools...is it an elementary school, a high school... Every county or every fixed area should look at consolidating, not just for financial reasons, but for consolidating our resources and what we can do for the students. To be able to have the right program for those students in those districts. It is not always just about the money.
Question: What is your legislative agenda as it relates to the Verde Valley?
Answer: I will need to visit with some of the council members and some of the county folks of these area, clubs and organizations down there, also including some of the school boards. I want to listen to what the community is interested in. I don't like the idea of coming in and saying, "you are going to do this and this.' I am very interested in talking with the leadership in the Verde Valley. I know that one thing that is very important is economic development; to bring jobs and employment and creating a revenue base, so that we stop exporting our young people.
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