By Philip Haldiman, Independent Newsmedia
Peoria Unified School District Governing Board member Kathy Knecht announced that she will run against Sen. Debbie Lesko (R-Peoria) for Legislative District 21 in the 2018 General Election.
Ms. Knecht is running as an independent.
The district includes parts of Peoria, Glendale and Sun City.
A longtime community servant and public education advocate, Ms. Knecht said in an email that she is aiming for Ms. Lesko’s seat because her policies move the state in the wrong direction, particularly in terms of public education. She cited Ms. Lesko’s recently passed law that expands private school vouchers as destructive and siphoning money away from public education.
“The relentless attack on public schools has got to stop. Our schools attract businesses and residents and develop our workforce. They are the largest employers in our cities. Those employees patronize our local businesses and buy goods and services,” Ms. Knecht said. “I have a vision of a community and a state that thrives, where people are safe and healthy and can enjoy a superior quality of life in a robust democracy.”
She said Ms. Lesko attacked voters’ rights with a gotcha bill that would silence citizens who work hard to launch a ballot initiative if there were even minor technical issues, such as the size of the margins on a petition.
“Such restrictions would be used to toss out the efforts that those in power don’t like,” Ms. Knecht said.
She will run on the platforms of improving public education funding and regaining local control from the state, as well as fighting for the voices of citizens to continue to be heard.
“Every student, parent, grandparent, teacher and concerned citizen of Arizona has a stake in this election,” she said.