Senator Yee named one of the nation’s Emerging Leaders

51st Legislative Session 013GOPAC has named Senator Kimberly Yee one of its 2016 Class of Emerging Leaders, a group of promising legislators across the country selected for their potential and ability to impact their state and the Republican Party at the leadership level. GOPAC is the largest Republican state and local political training organization.

“Leaders who can successfully promote conservative principles and ideas are essential to advancing limited, effective government. Our 2016 Class of Emerging Leaders exemplifies the promising state lawmakers who will lead in their legislative chamber and/or run for higher office. Their inclusion in our programs will provide them with guidance and support to be effective legislative and political leaders,” said GOPAC Chairman David Avella.

The Emerging Leaders Program is a yearlong initiative to coach and develop state legislators from across the country on how to be effective legislative leaders. Senator Yee and the rest of the 2016 class will begin their involvement at the 6th Annual Emerging Leaders’ Summit. The Summit gives participants the opportunity to learn from policy experts, veteran lawmakers, communications professionals and seasoned political strategists as well as each other.  These leaders return to their states better equipped to advance the ideas they are championing and prepare for the rigors of campaigning for higher office.

“I am truly honored to be recognized by GOPAC as one of their Emerging Leaders,” Senator Yee said. “I look forward to working with the GOPAC team and the other members of this impressive 2016 class.  GOPAC embraces the conservative principles that I hold dear.  The Emerging Leaders program will provide a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas on effective leadership with other legislative leaders across the country.”

Senator Yee represents the 20th Legislative District of northwest Phoenix and parts of Glendale. She is Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Workforce Development, Vice Chair of the Education Committee and serves on the Committees on Health and Human Services and Finance. Senator Yee was recently recognized as a “Rising Star” by the Republican National Committee.



Posted in Awards

Sen. Begay testifies in front of U.S. Senate committee to expand education options for children in BIE schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Carlyle Begay addressed the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs today, asking to expand Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) as an option for children attending Bureau of Indian Education funded schools. Sen. John McCain is sponsoring the Native American Education Opportunity Act (S. 2711) to help fix the disparity in educational opportunities for BIE students. Currently in Arizona, only kids attending state public schools are eligible for the school choice program. Several Native American families applied for ESAs hoping to get their children in for the current school year, but were denied access because their children attend federally funded BIE schools.

“The Native American Education Opportunity Act allows BIE families to participate in a program that is open to almost every other tribal student in Arizona’s 22 reservation communities,” Sen. Begay said during his Senate testimony. “There are 185 BIE schools in the nation. Nearly five out of ten students attending these schools will not graduate high school. What if we could give ESAs to those BIE students in Arizona who would not have made it to graduation otherwise?”

Across America, Native Americans have the lowest graduation rate of all other ethnicities at 67 percent. Arizona fares even worse with a graduation rate of 64 percent, the lowest in the state.

“These statistics make one thing clear – at least in the area of education, the Federal Government has failed to live up to its responsibilities to Indian children,” added Sen. Begay. “This is why I was inspired to help expand school choice on tribal lands and offer new educational options to our students. Empowering tribal parents with the ability to customize their child’s education or obtain access to new quality options is one way to build up Native American communities through education.”

Parents in tribal communities who are able to access ESAs are allowed to use 90 percent of their child’s state allocated education funding for private school, online curriculum, tutors, home school and other education opportunities. Because the program uses state funds, those children attending federally funded BIE schools are automatically disqualified.

The Native American Education Opportunity Act would be the first federal dollars accessed for use in Education Savings Accounts, a program which is gaining popularity among parents in several states. The legislation would help the students in states where the ESA program is already in place and there are BIE schools, including Arizona, Nevada, Florida and Mississippi.



Testimony from today’s hearing:

Posted in Education

AZ state lawmaker looking to prevent future voting nightmares

51st Legislative Session 013

Senator Yee

Arizona State Senator Kimberly Yee, (R) Phoenix, said that she waited in line more than 5 hours and didn’t get to cast her ballot until after midnight.

The lawmaker wants to make sure the voter delays never happens again.

Yee is working on legislation that would prohibit Arizona counties from dramatically reducing the number of polling places during an election

To see the video, click here:




Posted in Elections

Senate Education Chair Allen Gets Input From Area Leaders


Senator Sylvia Allen

Senator Allen

By Naomi Hatch

State Senator Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, met with school superintendents from throughout Navajo County recently to hear their comments and concerns regarding education and education funding in Arizona. The Feb. 12 meeting was organized by Jason Whiting, chairman of the Navajo County Board of Supervisors.

Present were Snowflake Superintendent Hollis Merrell, Heber-Overgaard Superintendent Ron Tenney, Joseph City Superintendent Bryan Fields, Holbrook Superintendent Dr. Robbie Koerperich, Navajo County Superintendent of Schools Jalyn Gerlich, Northern Arizona Vocation Institute of Technology (NAVIT) Superintendent Matt Weber and Northland Pioneer College President Dr. Jeanne Swarthout, as well as a few teachers from the Snowflake-Taylor Schools.

“I never thought I would be Education chair,” Allen said. “Once I said I’d do it, I have been really excited.”

For the rest of the story, click here:

Senate Education Chair Allen Gets Input From Area Leaders

Posted in Education

Health group names Senator Griffin Legislator of the Year

Sen. Griffin award 2-22-16

Sen. Griffin accepts the award from Dr. Jonathan Melk, CEO of Chiricahua Community Health Centers (m) and John C. McDonald, CEO of the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers (r)

Senator Gail Griffin has been named the 2016 Legislator of the Year by the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers (AACHC). Members of the AACHC recognized Senator Griffin for successfully sponsoring the State Loan Repayment bill, SB 1194 (Medically Underserved Areas; Loan Repayment) and getting it signed into law.

The bill expanded and enhanced a valuable medical provider loan repayment program which is an important tool for recruiting and retaining primary care providers in medically underserved areas of the state. Essential primary care providers, such as behavioral health specialists, pharmacists and geriatric physicians were added to the list of eligible primary care providers (Family Practice, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN and Pediatrics: Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives, Physician Assistants and Dentists).  No taxpayer funds are used for this loan repayment program.

Access to healthcare services is vitally important to the rural communities she serves.

AACHC represents the largest network of primary care providers in the state of Arizona. Community Health Centers are not-for- profit primary care clinics that provide high quality, affordable, comprehensive healthcare services in more than 150 sites throughout Arizona.

Many of the services Community Health Centers provides, such as behavioral health, dental and vision services, have been greatly enhanced by Senator Griffin’s statutes on telemedicine. Senator Griffin was also recognized by the AACHC for her commitment to expanding telemedicine capabilities.

Posted in Awards

Senate passes bill to clear up duties of State Board of Education, Department of Education and Superintendent of Public Instruction

Sen. Dial

The Arizona State Senate today passed SB 1416, a bill that defines and clarifies the powers and duties of the State Board of Education, the Arizona Department of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The bill is a follow-up to a bill passed by the Senate last year and supported by all three entities at that time.

After last year’s bill died in the House of Representatives, Sen. Jeff Dial and Senate staff researched state statutes and found several instances that appeared to conflict. SB 1416 builds upon last year’s agreed-upon bill, and provides a coherent set of provisions, clearing up the roles of the State Board, Dept. of Education and Schools Superintendent.

“My hope is that SB 1416 will help end all of the conflict between the Department of Education and the State Board,” said Sen. Dial. “This effort has never been about removing or adding powers to one office or another. It’s about cleaning up a lot of inconsistencies that have grown over the years.”

“The Superintendent has made public pronouncements in the past few weeks criticizing SB 1416. I’ve made numerous efforts to meet with the Superintendent, and as this bill moves to the House for consideration, my office door remains open for her to meet and discuss any concerns she may have.”


Posted in Education

Senator Steve Smith recognizes vital lifesaving role of Arizona Coast Guard Auxiliary

Senator Steve Smith has introduced a Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) designed to inform the public and the members of the Legislature about the vital role Arizona members of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary (USCGA) play in supporting the lifesaving work of the US Coast Guard.

“The release of a major motion picture about one of the most dangerous and dramatic rescue operations ever undertaken by the Coast Guard is the perfect opportunity to point out that patrols and search and rescue operations are conducted by Auxiliarists all along the Colorado River System in Arizona,” said Senator Smith. “People are surprised when they learn of the work of the Coast Guard in Arizona, but when you realize that Lake Powell alone has more miles of coastline than the entire west coast of the United States it becomes clear that the role is significant.”

About USCGA Arizona activities, SCR 1013 says in part, “… Coast Guard Auxiliary members contacted over 6,000 boats and over 20,000 boaters in 2015 resulting in assistance being given to 217 boats or over 676 boaters in distress, and saving 76 lives.”

In addition to search and rescue operations on Arizona lakes, the Auxiliary conducted 600 vessel safety checks in 2015, ensuring that Federal and Arizona safety requirements are met. Also in 2015, Auxiliary members taught boating safety classes, offered their personal watercraft to patrol Arizona waterways and volunteered a total of 50,000 hours to support the work of the Coast Guard.

“The work of the 200+ Arizona members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary enables the US Coast Guard to focus greater resources on defending our nation’s maritime borders and saving those in peril.” Smith said. “It’s time we recognized them.”


The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the US Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas. The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information, please visit



Posted in Military Affairs, Public Safety