We believe that voters in Arizona’s 16th district should have a choice. Ben Carmitchel hopes to bridge the gap between conservative and liberal voters by fighting for shared values, including better education, balanced budgets, environmental responsibility and fair wages.
About Ben Carmitchel
Arizona needs new leadership.
Ben owns Datarecovery.com, a Tempe technology business, and is a certified Arizona teacher. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. From 2014 to 2016, he was a substitute teacher in the Apache Junction Unified School District while still operating his business.
In 2015, Ben organized a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for his area’s suffering schools. From his experiences in education, he sees a number of areas for improvement, including:
Reasonable pay increases for qualified teachers
A restoration of education funding to match 2008 levels
More parity and transparency in education funding.
Most importantly, Ben will maintain a dialogue with Senate District 16 voters, including teachers and union representatives, while working full time to provide those voters with adequate representation. He’ll fight for middle-class families, lead by example, and oppose any pay raises for state lawmakers. He has pledged to donate his entire salary as State Senator to charitable causes and Arizona schools.
Better Incentives for Solar Panel Users
Currently, our system is backwards: If a homeowner uses solar panels, the electric companies actually charge that person more. Eco-friendly consumers pay more money for conserving energy. The utility companies’ position is that solar panels are unfair, because they cause non-solar customers to pay more than their fair share for maintaining the power grid. My position is that utility providers should shoulder those costs; Arizona already ranks 18th in the nation in average retail price per kilowatt-hour, and our state doesn’t have a responsibility to guarantee utility providers’ record-setting profits.
When elected, I will introduce legislation to protect Arizonans who use clean energy technologies to reduce their footprint. We need to incentivize these technologies now and take advantage of our state’s natural resources to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
When Lake Mead falls under the 1075-mark, our state will take the majority of delivery shortfalls while Californians get off relatively easy. Conservation efforts are imperative, and we need strong programs to sort out cuts to help us avert a disaster. That means electing lawmakers who don’t have special interests to make tough decisions. I will fight for fair water conservation and work with both Democrats and Republicans to make sure that a deal gets done. I will also push to renegotiate our drought contingency plan to ensure that other states take on an equitable share of any shortages.
I will support legislation that protects our parks, providing essential funding to repair damage, protect biodiversity, and maintain trails for tourists. These investments will help us keep our 22 national parks in pristine condition for future generations. I will also oppose any efforts to remove national park designations or to open these sites for drilling.
Fund Our Schools
Both of my parents were public school educators, and while I make my living through my businesses, I’ve taught as a substitute teacher in Arizona schools. I’m passionate about high-quality public education. I’ve seen it work — and I’ve seen it fail. Our state is providing 17 percent less educational funding than it provided in 2008. The current education crisis is a direct result of that neglect. I will fight to pay teachers a fair wage, fund public schools appropriately, and make Arizona’s schools competitive again.
Don’t Expand Voucher Entitlements
I’m against the expansion of school vouchers, partly because the system doesn’t work. When vouchers are instituted, public schools slip into poverty, while private schools flourish. That doesn’t make for an equitable education system.
I believe that public and private schools can coexist just fine; however, the role of government is not to subsidize private school education. Voucher programs shouldn’t expand, and we should begin the process of phasing them out, grandfathering in students who currently benefit from those programs.
Simplify School Funding
Much of Arizona schools’ funding comes from the general fund, allocated by lawmakers who have strong incentives to use that money elsewhere. That’s part of the reason we’re paying teachers less and letting our public schools crumble into disrepair.
We don’t need to raise taxes to invest in our future. By putting permanent revenue allocations in place, we can make sure that our money supports public education. We can ensure that we don’t have to have this same fight over and over again — we can permanently improve our public schools and give our children the education they deserve.
Investing In Modern Infrastructure
Arizona should be a leader in infrastructure investment. Currently, we’re in decent shape, with the fourth-lowest backlog of estimated expenses for road and bridge repairs. However, to prepare for our future, we should be investing heavily in state-of-the-art technology. Green energy and water systems will pay dividends for our state, as will modernized schools and public high-speed broadband internet services.
Assigning tax dollars to these projects will help us maintain low unemployment rates while keeping Arizona competitive into the next decade. There’s no real downside to spending on 21st century infrastructure, but we need to get the ball moving so that we’re not left behind.
As a small business owner, I know the challenges of entrepreneurship. I also recognize the fact that some well-intentioned policies fall flat. We need to make it easy to start small businesses, and we need to provide powerful incentives for our state’s most vulnerable job creators.
That means opening access to credit, keeping taxes low, and opposing unnecessary licensure bills pushed by big industries. It means simplifying taxes, reducing penalties, and making small business owners feel like government is working with them rather than against them.
Big businesses can afford to hire teams of accountants and pay large tax bills—as they should, since they benefit from our economy more than anyone else—but small businesses need advocates in Arizona’s State Senate.