State Senator, therapist and educator Victoria Steele spoke at the March 29, 2022, meeting of Democrats of Greater Tucson. She has served as an Arizona State Senator for most of the last decade creating laws. “Now I want to administer the law compassionately and justly – to restore faith in the Justice Court,” she says.

Prior to serving in the Legislature, she was a licensed substance misuse counselor, a domestic violence therapist, and a teacher of college graduate-level counseling students.

Edited Transcript:

“I have been helping to write laws, pass laws, and introduce legislation regarding child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, evictions, healthcare and housing issues, and mental health and substance abuse issues.

“What I will bring to the bench is a host of knowledge about the issues I will be dealing with. Because as a state Senator, I’m not only putting together my history as a counselor, but I also did domestic violence counseling. I did sexual assault counseling. I did counseling for general mental health issues and substance abuse. I helped create a counseling model for Indigenous people in substance abuse treatment.

“When I came to the Senate, I was able to use all that knowledge, and in the Senate, I have added to that a great deal more. I have a whole decade’s worth of information on the general economy, how things fit together, and how our laws are put together.

“So I’ve been putting together laws on almost everything that has to do with DUIs and eviction. So the whole past ten years have been an incredible learning opportunity about the very issues that I’m going to be working on as a Justice, whether it is issues of dog bites, eviction, property rights and business conflicts. I also have a strong history of negotiation and mediation, which will come to the fore quite nicely. So everything that I have done in my lifetime has allowed me to bring it all together, and this is the perfect next step for me.

“What do I bring to this position? I bring a lifetime and a career that is filled with compassion and striving for justice, particularly for justice, for people of color,  for men, for women, for LGBTQ, for Indigenous people, for Latinx, for African Americans, for poor Caucasian people for Irish people — you name it. I’m there. I understand. I will try to see where you are. So I bring that to you.

Evicting people

“I started hearing from constables saying there are judges who are deliberately evicting people in the middle of a pandemic. Families has no place for them to go. And this is the worst possible time to be evicting them. Their judgment is off. They’re not showing any compassion. They’re not showing kindness. Their rulings appeared to me, from what I was hearing, to be cruel and heartless.

“And that’s when I first started becoming aware of how important the JP situation is. We have huge housing issues, homeless people being evicted, families being evicted. I’ve heard from so many people who are sleeping in their cars with their children, and that is not okay.

“As a Justice, I will have to go and follow the law to the letter. But there is always room for compassion. I want anybody that would come into my courtroom to know that they will have a fair chance to tell their story and that I will hear them. And that is critical. That’s why I’m there.

“I do not have a law degree. I have, however, been in the Legislature, where I have been helping to write the statutes. That doesn’t give me any expertise at all in the court. What I will tell you is that the majority of justices are not lawyers. The majority are laypeople such as myself.

“Every degree that I’ve gotten, I have received with honors. I am a hard worker and not the smartest person I know, but I am nobody’s dummy. So I will work really hard, and I will be there for you. Compassion is one of the most important tools in the toolbox.

Check to see if you’re in Victoria’s District: victoriasteeleforjustice.com/what-is-a-jp

Contact Steele Campaign Manager Karen McGarrity (520) 307-4003.