Stephanie Stahl Hamilton has had a very busy first two years at the State Legislature. Elected as a State House member in Legislative District (LD) 10 in 2020, she moved to the State Senate after being appointed there in 2021.
In her time in both chambers, she built relationships with legislators from both political parties. She hopes to use that networking to achieve legislative breakthroughs in education, protecting the water supply, and protecting LGBTQ and women’s rights as a new House member in the new LD 21.
Senator Hamilton graciously took the time to discuss her candidacy for the State House. The questions and her responses are below.
- What are at least two reasons voters should elect you over any opponent in the legislative race?
“Out of the three Democrats right now, I am the only one that has legislative experience. I am already serving and representing people in this community. I understand the landscape and certainly have established relationships already.
The voters, and our constituents, are getting somebody who has some experience. And in this case, I believe the experience will serve them well.
The second reason is I really am invested in the people of Arizona. I take the title of representative very seriously in that I want to embody that title. And so, I’m doing all I can to get out and learn the new parts of the district and to hear from them, what their priorities are, and what their challenges are. I’m approachable. I always make myself available. It’s me having that voice and vote for the people, and I don’t think we could want anything less than that.”
- If re-elected, what are four issues you will focus on in the legislature?
“It’s my intent to continue my work on issues as they relate to the natural resources, energy and water committee. So, looking at issues of our environment, I will definitely be working on water and conservation. That’s a big deal for our district, which has three counties.
They are in a little more dire situation in Cochise County, especially with groundwater. Nogales has some very interesting challenges with water in their area, and Tucson, in some ways, has been a leader in this state with their innovative solutions to water, but it’s still something that we need to be vigilant about and concerned about.
I am concerned and becoming much more knowledgeable about water. If we don’t have enough water to sustain us, none of the other policies we make will matter. So, I think for me, the number one priority is looking at water and then looking at issues with our environment and things that deal with (impact) climate change.
I have also worked very hard to represent and put forward proactive legislation for the LGBTQ plus community, especially as it relates to our trans children. That’s work I will continue to do and a focus that I will continue to have. Our families are hurting, and there’s so much work to be done, and it feels like things are becoming so much more restrictive that I not only want to play defense. But I will continue to play offense in that area and will work to bring protection to the state of Arizona for our LGBTQ plus community and especially our families with trans children.
Third, the topic of the day is looking at what kinds of protections we can put in place and policies we can enact that will create some breathing room in regard to abortion care. We’ve managed to put our medical community in a very tenuous position. I think what’s necessary is to see how we can enable and empower our medical personnel to continue their work, especially as it relates to reproductive care.
The last issue and one of the most important reasons I ran for the legislature is dealing with education funding and policy. Obviously, we still have a lot of work to do in that arena. And I will continue to drill down and do what I can to have a positive impact on public education in our state.”
- What are at least two reasons you want to run for reelection in the Arizona State Legislature?
“The first is that a big piece of this work is establishing relationships. You don’t get any type of legislation through without building those relationships. It’s taken me the better part of two years to establish relationships. I spent one session in the house and then one session in the Senate. So, I’m looking forward to continuing the momentum I’ve begun in this last term. I really am looking forward to moving forward with the work that I’ve begun.”
- What have been at least two accomplishments from the time you’ve had in the legislature?
“That’s a tough one because we are on the bottom end of the power dynamic, and so any kind of accomplishment is hard fought and doesn’t normally come to folks who serve their first term.
So, I would say one of the first accomplishments was being invited to serve on the Ad Hoc Committee for Forest and Fire Management. In the interim between sessions, I was invited by (Rep.) Cook to serve on this committee, and there were only two Democrats. And even though I was one of the newest on the Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee, it was an honor to be asked to serve on that committee with the ranking member, Representative Cano.
Even when I was then appointed to the Senate, both the Senate and the House agreed and gave me permission to finish up the work that I was doing on that committee. And that was definitely an honor to be asked to serve, and I was thankful for that just coming off of my first session in my first term.
Then I think the second accomplishment has been the ways in which I’ve been able to find my voice, and it feels like, especially in the Senate, I had the respect of my colleagues, which is hard-earned and being able to feel like I was an integral part of the team over in the Senate. It was nothing to take for granted, that’s for sure.”
- What have been two regrets you have had for your time or legislature?
“I regret we’re not in the majority party. I think in that same vein, it’s just I regret the fact that any legislation that I’ve been able to introduce has not gotten a hearing or hasn’t even been assigned to a committee and hasn’t gotten heard. It’s not surprising given the fact that it was my first term, and I ended up spending each session in new chambers. So, it’s harder when you’re new, but secondly, it’s even harder when you’re new, and you’re in the minority party.
I also regret that we weren’t able to stop the voucher expansion or stop extreme legislation in regard to abortion care.
It doesn’t matter the relationships. It’s the way the politics landed, and we weren’t able to stop some really bad policy from making it to the Governor’s desk.”
- Is there anything not covered in the first five questions that you’d like readers to know about you and your candidacy?
“This is a redistricting year, and my old Legislative District (LD) was split up into four different LDs. I’ve got just a little sliver of LD 10, but now my district encompasses a huge geographical territory in that it goes into South Tucson all the way down to Nogales, travels across the border, comes up and grabs Naco and Bisbee. So three counties, Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise.
So, I’m a new face to people who haven’t seen me before and certainly the district. The major part of the district, as well as the population, is new to me. We’ve only had a short little time since February to get to know one another, and I’ve been doing my best.
If people want to know more about me, please visit my website. It is in English and in Spanish. Please use the contact us link to connect with me.
What a new adventure opportunity we have in front of us as far as getting to know one another and the experience I bring to the table, the passion I have for the state of Arizona and the heart I have for serving the people. What a great opportunity in this large, big district to know one another. Even though I live in Tucson, I am not a stranger to rural Arizona, and I don’t know everything there is to know about the rural parts of our state. But I understand the challenges that are there and certainly believe that folks in rural Arizona aren’t always represented at the capital.
People in district LD 21 should know that they have someone who’s a champion for them, and I couldn’t be more excited to live and serve in this new district.”
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