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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news April 29, 2016

7/14/2012 2:39:00 PM
State House: Q&A with Brenda Barton of Payson
Rep. Brenda Barton
Rep. Brenda Barton

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

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

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 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.

Taylor Waste

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Article comment by: Harris Shirley

At last someone who actually says she needs to listen and learn. To those of you who expect instant answers remember our district was just created and Rep. Barton previously represented 5 other counties besides just the Verde Valley.

Our new district runs up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, includes Flagstaff who'll be more dominate than Prescott ever thought to be... and don't forget Gila County and Navajo County are part of the new representative's district.

They have to represent over 200,000 people not just the Verde Valley. Keep that in mind. She wants to learn and listen. I like those qualities.

Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012
Article comment by: Annie from Cottonwood

Sorry, but I must disagree with many or all of the posters thus far. I can't really make any definite judgments from just this interview, but I do like the fact that she seems to be open to ideas and not set in her ways. At least she is not spouting out a bunch of false promises, as do many politicians.

Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012
Article comment by: Clean the House

Sounds like Brenda Barton wants to keep riding the horse she's comfortable on instead of working out solutions for most Arizonans.

For the House of Representatives, Angela LeFevre and Doug Ballard will have my vote and for the senate: Tom Chabin.

Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Article comment by: What'd she say

Ms Barton's responses have more buts in them than an ashtray at an AA meeting. Sounds a lot like obfuscation to me. These are real issues that will profoundly affect the Verde Valley's fiscal, environmental, and educational future and deserve real solutions, not "I need to learn more" tap dancing.

Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012
Article comment by: two cents

Sounds like another politician with no real opinion she wants to share with the Verde Valley. When it comes to votes and numbers the Verde Valley will always lose to Prescott. She should have just been honest and said that Prescott needs the water for their lawns more than we need the Verde River. She is another one that will let the Verde river be pumped dry. No decisive answer means no to us. just my two cents for what its worth

Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012
Article comment by: Lee Cali

Absolutely inconceivable that a candidate running for office has no opinion (YET) on what the issues are that she needs to have an opinion about NOW, before she gets elected!

Usually a candidate comes to you with ideas and suggestions for how things might work better under their leadership. But she seems to only be informed about education which makes sense since she was on various committees dealing with education. But the county is involved in lots more and this woman is not qualified!

Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012
Article comment by: Clearly knows nothing about the VV

While I appreciate this candidate's deep Arizona roots, she clearly knows next to nothing about the Verde Valley and our issues.

Apparently couldn't even take the time to do a little basic research before answering the questions. Amazing.

I'll be voting for the candidate who is best informed and able to do something constructive about what's going on here.

Posted: Sunday, July 15, 2012
Article comment by: Cogito Ergosumatra

"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." Finally, someone who understands that we have to work something out! And only 15 years after everyone else in the Verde Valley has been workuing on this problem - we just needed someone to point out that we need to work it out! I feel much better. I'm off to water my Bermuda Grass lawn.

Posted: Sunday, July 15, 2012
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Spoken like a true politician.I don't know,I'll need to explore it,I only just moved here,my dog ate my homework.Gets my vote.Finally an
honest politician.( I dont know anything
substancial on the subject)
I'm for everything that gets votes and I'll stay in
the middle of the road on contriversial issues
thank you.

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