Mohur Sarah Sidhwa
- NameMohur Sarah Sidhwa
- Party Affiliationdemocrat
• Employer and position: Self-employed career and personal transitions coach
• Education: Master's degree in anthropology from the University of Arizona
• Political experience: Candidate for state House LD 28 (2010) and lost by less than 1 percent; vice chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, 2009; first vice chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, 2006-2008; chair of Pima County Legislative District 28, 2006-2008
• Top priority: Move the Legislature into the 21st century, especially on women's issues, the economy and education.
How would you use your position as an elected official to help businesses create jobs in Southern Arizona?
I would encourage local small to mid sized companies. These are the ones that create jobs at the fastest pace. My focus would be the high tech and biotech sectors. These have been the bright spot in Southern Arizona’s economy during the recession. The research arms of the Univ. of Arizona have been instrumental in helping create these industries for the new economy. I will fight to protect their research funding. These are clean, well paying industries. I would work to have a skilled work force ready for them.
For a more immediate job creation my first order of business as a legislator will be to propose a bill to put solar panels on every school in the state. This would jump-start our solar industry, save schools money in energy costs, create well paying high tech jobs and manufacturing for the long-term future.
Should the qualifications for Medicaid or AHCCCS be broadened to make more people eligible?
The issue has to be looked at and dealt with as an interconnected complex of systems. This requires commitment and courage and on the part of all the stakeholders and legislators. Arizona’s healthcare infrastructure is in serious trouble and we cannot wait to fix it piece meal. My greatest concerns are the rural counties and the impact of AHCCCS cuts and the uninsured has had on them, and the cost shifts. Additionally, I am concerned about losing our healthcare infrastructure. The threats of closure of rural hospitals, the consolidation in the market into one or two players, (Carondelet Heart and Vascular Institute moving to St. Mary’s), the loss of beds in rapidly growing cities is weakening the ability to care for existing populations. The health care industry is a major employer in Arizona. The multiplier impacts of the industry are strong. The recent cuts and thus lost federal dollars are short sighted on both the human as well as the economic levels.
If you were in a position to vote on SB1070, would you have voted for or against it?
I would have voted against it. Ranchers should not have to live in fear on their land. We should not cede one inch of our soil to the drug cartels and their contraband. SB1070 did nothing to protect our borders from human trafficking and the drug trade. It did not resolve the issue of the undocumented. It did hurt the state’s economy and reputation. All this was obvious when the bill was introduced. We must make sure that the various jurisdictions have the ability to communicate with each other, currently they cannot. Customs and Inspections have to be strengthened. The ports of entry are crucial to Southern Arizona’s economy. These must be paid attention to. Immigration and other border issues are constitutional responsibility of the State Department and the Federal government. Our federal elected officials must find the courage to deal with this.
In a world of finite resources, what if anything would you be willing to cut to better fund education?
The state has three main responsibilities, education, healthcare and public safety. This is responsible for almost 90% of the budget. Education is cut to the bone. Healthcare cannot be cut any more. Our healthcare infrastructure is already hurting due to unreimbursed care. That leaves the one bloated part of the budget, incarceration. There is a growing number of youth being incarcerated. I would begin with a focus on those between the vulnerable ages of 18 and 21. I would look at home arrest for lesser offences, diversion, or treatment, at the discretion of the judges. This is working well in places like Texas and New York where they are finding successful alternates to incarceration for certain offences rather than years in jail for both the youth as well as older populations. This has created a huge savings to the taxpayers and has decreased recidivism. It is unwise to integrate this vulnerable age group with hardened criminals.
Our antiquated tax code needs to be revisited and updated to reflect contemporary realities. It is overly complex and full of outdated loopholes that are no longer fulfilling the needs for which they were created. We need to make our tax code more equitable to draw 21st century companies here, and give a break to the middle class. We should never give tax breaks to big corporations that are not local or are shipping jobs to China or India. Taxpayer dollars must stay in Arizona. This requires political courage to bring all stakeholders to the table.
Should local government fight to keep the Rosemont Copper Mine out or encourage the company to stay?
In our democratic system of government it is appropriate that people have a voice on what is going on in their own area. The local jurisdictions are a better gauge as to what their electorate wishes. Often these wishes are contradictory, as in the case of Rosemont. From what I have heard, the issue revolves around protecting the aquifer, transportation and infrastructure costs vs. the jobs created. Arizona has a proud mining tradition. Modern day mining is a vast improvement on those of previous generations. Most is automated, and many of the labor-intensive aspects of modern mining are robotic. Ultimately the decision will lie with the permitting process.
What is the most important issue in your race?
My district boasts three hospitals. The electorate is also closely linked to the high-tech and biotech sectors, or to the University of Arizona. As such there are two issues, intimately linked, that concern the constituents, the economy and education. My platform is sensitive to both issues. Education is an economic tool. I believe our youth should be fully literate by the time they exit High School, including in math and the sciences. This is imperative if we are to compete in a globalized 21st century economy. For those who are not college bound, we must have strong high tech apprentice and internship programs.
For a more immediate job creation my first order of business as a legislator will be to propose a bill to put solar panels on every school in the state. This would jump-start our solar industry and save schools money in energy costs. Best of all this create well paying high tech jobs and manufacturing jobs for the long-term future. We must go from a consumption based to a production-based economy. I will fight for Southern Arizona’s economic future. We must never again separate the education component from the economic component. Our kids must have the tools they need to thrive in the competitive globalized economy. That’s how we grow the economy.
|Race||District||Election Year||Election Level||Election Type||Win|
|Arizona House District 9 Democratic primary||9th legislative||2012||State||Primary|
|Arizona House District 9||District 9||2012||State||General|