Jo Holt

Jo Holt

Jo Holt, a Democrat, is new to the political stage, but feels it’s time for a newcomer to take the reins in the State Senate for Legislative District 11, formerly known as District 26.

Holt, running against Republican Al Melvin, realizes she is an unknown trying to unseat a well-known incumbent, but feels her passion for improving education will help push her to victory in the Nov. 6 General Election.

“Education is a very important issue to me,” she said. “But, I think my primary complaint is no one in Phoenix is listening to what is really going on. It’s nothing about (Melvin). I’m really concerned about the state of the public education system. The last thing Arizona needed to do is cut public education in 2009.”

Holt, referring to major cuts made by the Republican-led legislature in 2009 to balance the budget, said the cuts to education were detrimental to a state that continues to rank as one of the lowest when it comes to funding per student.

Holt said the point to public education is so that every child has the right to a solid education, which means one school needs to be just as good as the other.

While Melvin is promoting a system that would allow school districts and charter schools to compete for students, Holt said the entire system needs to be looked at, which means looking at how standardized testing and teachers’ pay is a big problem.

Holt said she is frustrated by a state legislature that approves standards, such as a requirement that third graders have to be reading at a third grade level before they can move to fourth grade, but not approving any funding to pay for it.

“Are the resources there? Is holding children back a good idea? Do we really take the approach that if you aren’t doing well enough you will be punished, or do we look at why they have failed?” Holt asked.

Education is just the tip of what concerns a political newcomer like Holt. The retired scientist said she is concerned with the new habit of cutting social programs such as the Arizona Healthcare Cost Containment System (AHCCS), Kids Care programs and unemployment.

“The consequences of all these cuts may not show up through a yearly budget, but the problems are still there,” Holt said. “To say they balanced the budget just gives a false impression. They haven’t fixed anything. They have only made things worse.”

Holt said unlike Melvin and other members of the Arizona Legislature, she would start looking at the big picture, rather than balancing a budget on the backs of middle-class families.

When it comes to her opponent, Holt said she has been one of the constituents he’s supposed to be representing over the last four years, and her rating of Melvin isn’t very high.

“I don’t know who he’s representing,” Holt said. “He doesn’t seem to be representing the middle class. Instead, he is representing a smaller group and we don’t know who they even are.”

Holt said she also feels elected officials should be more available to the public. She said a lack of town halls and forums leaves voters in the dark about what is really happening and what is happening at the state capitol.

Holt said the state also needs to get more serious about solar energy.

While Holt said her life’s passion has always been science, she feels she can no longer sit on the sidelines when it comes the Arizona Legislature making major decisions that will impact the entire state, especially with math and science scores continually going down.

Holt, a graduate of the University of Arizona, specialized in biochemistry throughout her career that took her from Tucson to the Washington School of Medicine, and then back to Oro Valley.

After her husband became sick, Holt said they moved by to Southern Arizona.

Holt’s husband passed away in 2011.

(Editor’s Note: In the Sept. 26 issue of The Explorer, read Senator Al Melvin’s responses to Holt, his opinion of the Democratic party, why he is seeking re-election, and much more.)

General Election Candidates

Arizona Senate - District 11

Jo Holt - Democrat

Al Melvin - Republican

Arizona House - District 11

Two seats open

David Joseph - Democrat

Adam Kwasman - Republican

Steve Smith - Republican

Arizona Senate - District 9

Steve Farley - Democrat

Tyler Mott- Republican

Arizona House - District 9

Ethan Orr - Republican

Victoria Steele - Democrat

Sarah Mohur Sidhwa - Democrat

Pima County Board of

Supervisors - District 1

Ally Miller, Republican

Nancy Young Wright, Democrat

Pima County Sheriff

Clarence Dupnik - Democrat

Mark Napier - Republican


Important dates

General Election:

Aug. 6 - First day to request an early ballot, the last day is Oct. 26.

Oct. 9 -  Voter registration cut-off

Oct. 11- Early voting begins

Nov. 6 - Primary Election Day

(1) comment


This article belongs in the editorial section or the advertising section. This current legislative group, including Sens. Melvin and Antenori, balanced the budget, put money in the bank, and took AZ from the worst state per capita/financial condition to one the the best. Yes, that is right, we were worse than CA and NY under the leadership of the lefties and Nappy. If Ms Holt is serious, she might think about a quick history lesson in State government and state finance. Ms Holt is not for better education as she states, but holding the status quo for the teachers and administrations, hence her support for Prop 204. Really, the Dems should have put up some one better. Cage tried all these tried arguments the last two elections. Maybe that is why Ms. Hold is running under clean elections- she raise any money for her ideas.

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