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NOGALES, Ariz. – As port director for the Customs and Border Protection port here, Guadalupe Ramirez has seen heroin smuggled into the United States in almost every place imaginable on a vehicle, not to mention the human body.
PHOENIX (AP) — A judge has barred Maricopa County officials from enforcing two Arizona identity-theft laws that have been used to convict hundreds of immigrant workers.
Administrators, business owners and residents alike are gearing up for big changes and new sights and sounds across the city in 2015
Here is a roll call of some of the famous people who died in 2014.
PHOENIX -- Jan Brewer is not sorry for signing bills authorizing tax cuts that will reduce state revenues by hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years.
Charity isn’t just about the sweeping gestures, the $10,000 checks donated to a good cause via a well-regarded philanthropist. Charity encompasses smaller donations, those $5, $10, $20 gifts that tend to add up to large amounts quickly. Charity isn’t about an unreciprocated donation either; a small loan can provide an enormous boost to a fledgling businesses.
Q: Why are you running?
A: I have lived and worked in our district for over 20 years. As an engineer and small-business owner in the aerospace and defense industry, I have seen many of the jobs in my industry leave our state. A priority, for me, is job creation. As a legislator, I will be able to articulate the capabilities and talents of our citizens to attract and retain high-technology jobs in our state. As a former vice president of a manufacturing company, I have learned the leadership skills necessary to manage productive and resourceful teams. I am interested in seeing Arizona thrive, not just survive. I am confident that I can effect positive change towards that end.
Q: Arizona is predicted to be among the fastest-growing states in terms of job growth in the coming years. What can Arizona do to accelerate the growth and what industries should it target, especially for residents of your district?
A: The opportunity to represent our district would allow me to request the commerce committee. My business experience spans both small and large businesses, and I have worked with many disciplines including manufacturing, procurement, engineering and management. Our district hosts high-technology successes such as Microchip, Intel and Honeywell. My experience in that industry would be useful in identifying potential new businesses from out of state. Having worked in both business sectors, I know that opportunities exist for improvement and growth in our state.
Q: Given the state’s decision to back out of the PARCC test, should Arizona continue to follow Common Core standards? If not, what standards should the state implement for its students?
A: I support local school control in the hands of the parents — a child’s first educator — and our local teachers. I trust Arizona teachers, parents and administrators to set the standards, oversee and teach our children, not the federal government. Reducing federal overreach will allow for more money to go into the classroom and for the recruiting and retention of teachers.
A major obstacle to the implementation of Common Core is that it was not field tested prior to implementation. Additionally, Common Core is expensive to transition into. Since we have limited education dollars to spend, I think that spending money on an unproven system is risky to our children’s education. Higher standards, everyone agrees on. We want to set standards so that we have a workforce attractive to employers. I choose Arizonans for that job.
Q: The approval of Gov. Jan Brewer’s Medicaid funding was a contentious issue in 2013. Now with a year gone, was the decision by Brewer and the Legislature the correct decision for Arizona?
A: When the numbers for the actual costs get reported after the first year of implementation, we will have a better grasp of this program’s success. For the first three years of the expansion program, the federal government has promised to cover 100 percent of medical costs for the newly eligible Medicaid enrollees. Given this, the remaining cost to Arizona for the first year alone is projected to be $154 million. We can gauge the reports to the estimates and adapt based on the figures, including evaluation proposals that were not originally discussed, if necessary. Arizona’s last Medicaid expansion has demonstrated that cost projections are often incorrect as the cost of the Prop. 204 population was projected to be $389 million, and actual costs were $1.623 billion. President Obama has already proposed cutting the promised reimbursement rates and with significant fiscal challenges facing the federal government, reimbursements are not guaranteed. I am concerned that Arizona will end up with the entire bill and that would quickly put pressure on the services the state provides at significant risk.
Q: Given recent protestations about “dark money” affecting political campaigns, is there a problem with the campaign finance system in Arizona? Similarly, would you vote to present campaign finance reform legislation to voters in the next two election cycles?
A: Dark money refers to the influx of large amounts of money into political campaigns by corporations, business associations, unions and wealthy individuals who do not wish to be publicly identified. Political consultants funnel these undisclosed funds into a number of organizations, including many nonprofit corporations. Donors may not wish to be identified for fear of retaliation in their business climate. Enforcing disclosure may have a stifling effect on public participation and freedom of speech. Proponents of disclosure believe the public should be informed of who is financing the ads and for the donors to stand up for what they believe. Arizona has historically had low limits for candidates — that invited out-of-state groups to get involved. As a legislator, we can make this irrelevant by: 1) restrict money from outside groups or 2) lift limits on ordinary candidates, giving them the opportunity to compete with the outside groups.
Q: Why are you running?
A: Washington doesn’t get it. I’ve been there less than two years and I have watched both parties spend more time fighting each other than working to solve our country’s problems. The layers of bureaucracy are mind-numbing. The unwillingness of leadership to face our real problems and propose realistic solutions that can actually get done is frustrating.
I ran for Congress to change Washington, and I am not giving up. I voted for the No Budget No Pay Act because Congress should not get paid if they don’t do their work. I also voted against my own pay raise. Congress doesn’t need a pay raise, especially when Arizonans are struggling. I am also fighting to reform the VA and ensure that veterans get the health care they have earned and deserve. I voted to protect Social Security and Medicare for our seniors and future generations and I support efforts to make sure every woman has access to birth control.
Q: Have the issues at the VA been properly addressed? What else would you like to see done to help veterans in our area?
A: No, when I read the allegations about false record-keeping and fraudulent wait times at the Phoenix VA, I was furious. I demanded answers from the VA and called for Secretary Shinseki’s resignation. We created a Phoenix VA Information Center on our official website to keep constituents updated on our work to hold the VA accountable and get veterans the care they deserve. I co-sponsored the VA reform legislation recently signed into law and am working with the VA to implement these critical reforms. Our office convened a working group to bring the VA and community organizations together to better serve veterans in Arizona. We also hosted a Veterans First resource fair in Phoenix that served over 400 veterans in one day and we are planning another one in the East Valley now. We created a Veterans Resource Guide to help veterans find resources for medical and mental health care and services.
Q: What kind of effect has the Affordable Care Act had on Arizonans?
A: The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect and I am frustrated with how the administration has handled it. Rather than spending time trying to repeal it, members from both sides should come together to improve it, so it works better. The law makes important changes that will help families. Health insurance companies are no longer in charge of people’s health care decisions, and can no longer deny people with pre-existing conditions and drop people when they get sick. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to cover all Americans and hold down costs.
Q: What are your thoughts on the recent ruling and impending hearing about gay marriage in Arizona? And do you support the state’s ban on it?
A: I oppose the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Every committed family should be treated equally under the law and have the same rights and protections.
Q: What can Congress do to spur job growth in our area? What industries would you target?
A: Working with Arizona businesses is one of my top priorities. As a member of the Financial Services Committee, I pushed for the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which supports hundreds of jobs across Arizona. I also supported the recent extension of the R&D tax credit to encourage innovation, job growth and research for companies in Arizona. Every month, I meet with businesses and business leaders in our community to hear their concerns and work to support the business community. I am dedicated to making sure business owners — both large and small — have what they need to succeed.
Arizona business owners and residents affected by flooding earlier this month can apply for federal loans.
The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce has announced the nominees for the 2014 Palo Verde Women in Business Award.
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona business owners and residents affected by flooding earlier this month can apply for federal loans.
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced Thursday that low-interest disaster loans are available for Arizonans who sustained extensive damage from monsoon storms that hit Sept. 8.
SBA administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet says the agency declared the area a disaster in response to a request made by Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday.
The loan program will be offered to residents in Maricopa County and several neighboring counties.
Officials say the loans, which go up to $200,000, are for homeowners, renters, private businesses and nonprofits.
SBA representatives will be at designated Disaster Loan Outreach Centers in Phoenix, Mesa and Glendale through next week to answer questions.
The filing deadline for applications is Dec. 1.
With close to 60 percent of the votes in the Republican primary Wendy Rogers will face Kyrsten Sinema for the Congressional District 9 seat in the November General Election.
NEW YORK — Travelers, prepare to pay more for your flight.
When the name “Falcon Field Airport” is mentioned, the next thing people often ask is, “Isn’t that place getting shut down?” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Every time I hear Arizona State Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey boast of his business background I start having flashbacks of wealthy businessman and ex-governor Fife Symington. Symington who had the cash to buy the election and failed to understand that while government can learn from business, it’s not a private sector enterprise.
The questions were about improving Arizona's economy.
his July 4, Americans again celebrated our nation and its organizing principle: Liberty. We know that our founding document establishes our inalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. We’re proud to be the “land of the free and the home of the brave” and to pledge “liberty and justice for all”.