Legislative District 11 Clean Elections Debate

Republican candidate Steve Smith speaks Monday night at Pima Community College Northwest Campus for a debate put on by the Arizona Citizens Clean Election Commission.

J.D. Fitzgerald/The Explorer

Steve Smith, currently a Senator in the Arizona State Legislature, District 23, is looking to take his political and business experience into the House of Representatives, District 11. 

Smith’s decision to run for the House as opposed to another term in the Senate came as the result of redistricting, which would have placed Smith against Senator Al Melvin in the senatorial race. 

“The notion was that we both need to return, so there was no sense in one of us beating up on the other in the primary,” said Smith. “We are really good friends, and since he was the senior Senator, I decided to step aside and run for House.” 

Smith, who was raised in Michigan and now lives in Maricopa County, originally decided to run for Senate because he felt somebody needed to take a stand against a legislative district that he considered politically unbalanced.

“The person who was Senator (Rebecca Rios) and the Democrat before her (Pete Rios) held that seat for a collective 30 years,” said Smith. “It was a pseudo-political dynasty where the district was not properly represented. I thought, hey, if nobody else is going to do something about it, I will, and I became the first Republican in that district since statehood. Our district wanted more conservative values.” 

Smith said his campaign platform, which implements his personal motto of God-Family-Country, will focus on four big issues, to include the economy, border security, budget management, and education.

As a Senator, Smith said he helped bring Arizona, then ranked 49th in the nation in job growth, to its current rank of fourth.

“We put through some great legislation to make Arizona a more business friendly community, and are now number one in startup businesses,” said Smith. “We’re very pleased with that.”

As a member of House, Smith said he will aim to make Arizona improve even more with job growth, aiming to improve from fourth in growth to first.

On the issue of illegal immigration, which he calls “amazingly important,” Smith initiated a bill that would help secure the border, since “the Federal government has done nothing to resolve the issue.”

Smith also started the website buildtheborderfence.com, which collects donations to help with border security.

Smith said if elected, he would continue to demonstrate fiscal responsibility as he did during his term on Senate.

“When I took office, we had a billion dollar deficit, and we now have a $6 million surplus,” said Smith. “I will make sure that budget is continually balanced with no gimmicks.”

Though Smith said there is an impression by Democrats that Republicans aren’t concerned with education, he said he plans to make the issue a major focus area if elected.

“The fact Democrats think we don’t care is laughable,” said Smith. “I come from a family of teachers, and a teacher is the most important resource we can have in the classroom. I’ve offered a bill for performance-based criteria, and am currently working on the Department of Education with it, and that is something I will continue to work on in the House.”

Smith said he is the best candidate for the position because he feels he represents the majority of the district in his beliefs.

“Up and down the list, I am one of those guys that do what I say I will do, and my voting record reflects that,” said Smith. “I don’t lie, I’m a devout Christian, and if elected, I will do everything I can to protect all of Arizona’s resources.”

Smith is endorsed by organizations such as the National Federation of Independent Business, Arizona Police Association, and the Arizona Citizens Defense League. 

For more information on Smith and his platform, visit stevesmith2012.com

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