Candidate Q&A - State Senate - LD 11 - Steve Smith - Tucson Local Media: Election

Candidate Q&A - State Senate - LD 11 - Steve Smith

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Posted: Tuesday, August 5, 2014 9:58 am


Why are you running for office?

A: To continue to bring principled, moral, conservative leadership to Arizona. When I was first elected to the Senate, I faced a political dynasty that had held the seat for about 30 years but I knew our district deserved better which is why I ran. When I won, I became one of the youngest Senator’s in Arizona history and the first Republican in the district since statehood. Since then, I have kept my promises and helped balanced Arizona’s $1billion+ budget deficit, helped Arizona recover from the recession (we were ranked 48th in job growth and now recently ranked 4th), and have fought tirelessly to secure our border and improve the education system in our state and will continue to do so.

What do you think are your main qualifications to serve in a public office?

A: I have a stellar voting record that clearly shows that I do what I say. When I was elected to both the Senate and House of Representatives, I told my constituents that they would be electing a pro-God, pro-freedom, pro-border security, pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, staunch conservative and that is exactly what I have delivered.

I am ranked the #1 Legislator/conservative by the Goldwater Institute, named 'Champion of the Taxpayer' by Americans For Prosperity, ranked #1 by the Arizona Conservative Coalition, ranked the #1 conservative by the Open States Project, given the first ever 'Conservative Hero Award' by the Arizona Liberty Project, 'Friend of the Family' by Center for Arizona Policy, 'Guardian of Small Business' by NFIB, A+ rated by the NRA and more. It is easy to say you are conservative and have a good voting record, but it is another to prove it.

What are your objections to your opponent?

A: The main differences between my opponent and I are that he supports the ObamaCare Expansion in Arizona and I do not and I voted against it. My opponent also supports the disastrous federalization of our school children through Common Core, and I do not and I voted against it. Finally, my opponent is on record for not supporting SB1070 and I absolutely support it and am considered the toughest Legislator when it comes to border security.

What are the most important problems facing the district/town right now? What would you do about trying to solve them?

A: Growing our economy, securing the border, and improving our education system. I am pleased to say that when I first was elected, Arizona had $1billion+ deficits and was ranked 48th in the nation on job growth – we have since balanced our budget and was recently ranked #4 in the nation in job growth, ranked as the #1 state in the country for start-up businesses and was ranked the top state by Forbes magazine for job growth in 2014. Additionally, I authored the nationally-known bill to help build our border fence to keep our citizens safe as well as the ‘teachers performance pay’ legislation that rewards good teachers for their service. I will continue promoting these free-market conservative principles if re-elected.

Who is supporting your candidacy?

A: Sheriffs Joe Arpaio and Paul Babeu endorse me along with the Arizona Police Association (which represents over 10,000 officers) because they know first-hand my commitment to law enforcement and securing the border. Additionally, some of my endorsements include Arizona Right to Life, National Federation of Independent Businesses (the voice of small businesses) the Free Enterprise, Club, the Home Builders Association, Arizona Realtors Association, and many more.

Will you run a negative campaign?

A: No, I have and will only run an honest and truthful campaign.

How much of your own money will be spent on the campaign?

A: Very little as I am supported by those that believe in the values that I do.

What experience have you had that qualifies you to become an officeholder?

A: My experience has bee my service thus far as an elected member of the House of Representatives and Senate. Beyond my exceptional voting record, I have never missed a day, committee, or vote in my 4 years of service (other than when my wife was hospitalized during one of her pregnancies). I take this honor very seriously because I know that I work for the people and they trust me to be their voice.


What will your first action be once elected?

A: I have been working for months now on the ‘Technology Jobs Bill’, one that will be similar to the manufacturing jobs bill we passed a few years back that helped kick-start Arizona’s economy. This bill will provide similar broad-based tax reductions and incentives for businesses investing in technology, an effort that will not only help our district but the state as a whole.

How do you describe yourself philosophically?

A: I am a devout Christian who stands for God, Family, and Country and am unapologetically conservative and pro-life.

Do you support drug testing of employees by businesses?

A: Yes as well as drug testing for those on receiving public assistance and unemployment (which was a bill I introduced).

Should the government provide money to private businesses in order to improve the economy?

A: If it is in the form of broad-based tax policy (by way of lowering taxes and/or increasing credits) then yes but not just as simply a handout.

What are your feelings regarding the Second Amendment and gun laws?

A: I have a 100% pro-Second Amendment voting record and an A+ rating by the NRA, so I feel strongly about this issue. The Constitution is very clear; the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.

How do you feel about background checks, and increasing requirements to buy a gun?

A: I am opposed to background checks and additional requirements for law-abiding citizens who want to exercise their God-given freedoms. Again, The Constitution is very clear, the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.

What should be done to address the issues involving mental health and gun laws that have resulted in mass shootings in California and Tucson for example?

A: We have increased funding for counselors in our schools in an attempt to identify potentially troubled persons and our law enforcement agencies have taken similar steps. Additionally, we have allocated more resources for the seriously mentally ill population as a way to intervene earlier.

How do you feel about campaign finance reform?

A: I support campaign finance reform as I do not believe elections should be ‘bought and paid for’ by the wealthy, rather, the people should have the final say as to who is elected.

What will you do to bring jobs to your district?

A: I have been working hard to open the Union Pacific project at Red Rock and the Rosemont copper mine, both of which would lead to potentially thousands of jobs for our district. Also, last session I wrote an amendment that saved our ethanol plant in our district that helped preserve over 50 jobs. Finally, I will to continue to sponsor, promote, and vote for good legislation like the ‘Jobs Bill’ we passed and the ‘Technology Jobs Bill’ that I am working on which have and will provide broad-based support to attract new jobs.

What is your opinion regarding health care in the state?

A: I believe free market principles should be utilized to fix our healthcare system. This is why I have sponsored and supported tort reform, healthcare along state lines, and other similar policies. We should not fall into the trap of the further federalization of our healthcare system by failed policies from Washington DC which is why I vehemently opposed and voted against the ObamaCare Exchange in Arizona.

What should be done about the immigration issue?

A: Enforce our current laws and actually finish securing the border. The solution is rather simple as we have done this already in Yuma, Arizona. There must be a proper border fence built to serve as an initial deterrent, and then you must have law enforcement stationed on the border with the ability to make immediate arrests with a swift judicial system in place to allow for quick processing for detaining/deporting. When we did this in Yuma, illegal crossings stopped by about 95%.

As Vice-Chairman of the Senate Border Security Committee and a member of the Joint Legislative Border Security Advisory Committee, I am considered the #1 legislator fighting to defend our border which is why I have gained the endorsements of Sheriffs Joe Arpaio and Paul Babeu.

 Do you support term limits?

A: Yes.

What are you feelings regarding the issue of abortion?

A: I am unapologetically pro-life with a 100% pro-life voting record which is why I have been endorsed by Arizona Right to Life. There have been over 50 million innocent children murdered since Roe v. Wade and will continue to do all I can to defend life.

How do you feel about same sex marriages?

A: I oppose same-sex marriage, which is why I have been named ‘Friend of the Family’ by the Center for Arizona Policy. I believe in the biblical definition o f marriage; one man one woman.

What are your views on public education / private schools / homeschooling?

A: I believe school choice is imperative for parents so they can decide what type of education is best for their child. As a product of the public school system, I had a great education growing up, but all parents and families should have the right to decide what works for their child and family, not bureaucrats in government. Arizona is ranked #1 in the nation in school choice and I will continue to promote that.

What can be done to improve the quality of education in your district?

A: I come from a family of teachers and I understand that the best way for our children to learn is based on the quality of the teacher in their class, this is why I have been pushing for a ‘performance pay’ model for our teachers so that the good teachers are paid more and the bad teachers are not. This along with proper funding to our schools (Arizona is now at record levels in terms of the state’s contribution to K-12) where more dollars are directed to the classroom along with parental choice is key to our education improving.

Do you favor/oppose placing a cap on the amount property taxes could be raised in a year? If so, what should the cap be?

A: I favor a cap of how much property tax can be raised. I fought for this each year in the legislature which is why Americans for Prosperity have named me ‘Champion of the Taxpayer’. The cap is currently at 5% and I would like to see it be reduced even more.


Have you ever been arrested? If so, what was the charge? Were you convicted?

A: No

Have you ever been the subject of a formal complaint submitted to a law enforcement agency?

A: No

Have you ever sued another person or business entity? If so, why? What was the outcome of the case?

A: No.

Have you ever been subjected to a lawsuit? If so, why? What was the outcome of the case?

A: No.

Have you been divorced?

A: No


Have you ever filed for personal bankruptcy?

A: No

Have you ever been an owner or partner in a business that filed for bankruptcy?

A: No

Have you ever been involved in a foreclosure or been evicted?

A: No

If asked, will you release your personal tax returns?

A: Yes


Have you worked, or volunteered, for any candidates or campaigns?

A: Yes.

Have you ever publicly endorsed any candidate for party or public office?

A: Yes.

Have you contributed to other candidates/parties/PACs in the past? If so, who and how much?

A: No.

Have you ever run for office before?

A: Yes. I was elected to the Senate in 2010-2012 and elected to the House of Representatives in 2012-present.


Have you served in the military? If so, were you honorably discharged? Will you release your military records?

A: No, I have never served.

Are you a member of any boards of trustees?

A: No.

What is your education background? Do you have another professional training?

A: I graduated with Honors from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Marketing along with a Cognate in Business Law.

What is your employment history? Where have you worked? For how long?

A: I was the co-owner of a sports marketing company for about 3 years after graduating college, director of marketing for a medical research company for about 7 years, and a director of a talent agency for the past 8 years.

Have you ever been terminated from a job? Have you ever had any disciplinary action taken at your place of employment?

A: No.

Have you ever been the subject of a formal complaint submitted to your employer?

A: No.

Have you lobbied before any state or local governmental agency within the past five years?

A: No.

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