Republican Noel Campbell is once again on the ballot to fill one of the two open seats for the Arizona State House of Representatives Legislative District One alongside fellow Republicans David Stringer and Jodi Rooney and Democrats Jan Manolis and Ed Gogek. If he were to be elected to a third term, Campbell looks to tackle water, transportation and education issues affecting the people of the quad cities and Arizona as a whole.
Campbell currently lives in Prescott and has resided in the state of Arizona for nearly his entire life. After graduating St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix, Campbell went to Arizona State University and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Businesses. He also spent a year of college at the National University of Mexico where he learned to write and speak fluent Spanish, his official website states. Campbell then joined the United States Navy in 1965 and became an officer and pilot. Following retirement from the Navy, Campbell went to work at the border for the United States Custom Service Department for 27 years. After retiring from the United States Custom Service Department, Campbell fought fires for ten years as a tanker pilot until deciding to go into politics.
In 2010, Campbell was defeated in the race for the Legislative District One Arizona House of Representatives by Karen Fann and incumbent Andy Tobin. Campbell was later elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2014 with the incumbent Fann. In 2016, Campbell and Stringer were elected, while Fann went on to serve in the Arizona State Senate.
WHY RUN AGAIN
Now with two terms under his belt, Campbell says he has a firm grasp for the knowledge of being a state representative.
“I’ve been in office four years and it takes about four years to figure out how to really understand what is going on,” Campbell said. “Most bills that are going into law just basically deal with money and power…you have to try to do what’s best for the people of the State of Arizona.”
Turning 77-years-old in December, Campbell does not consider himself a career politician and isn’t sure if he will decide to run for a fourth and final term in 2020 should he be elected in 2018. Campbell says the job doesn’t pay well and takes a lot out of him, however, it’s the issues that make serving at the House of Representatives important to him.
Campbell sees three major issues he would like to tackle if he were to be reelected: transportation, water and education.
Campbell serves as the Transportation Chairman at the House of Representatives and believes in the importance of getting revenue into the Highway User Fund so that county and state roads can be improved with a focus on Interstate-17. Campbell says the major highway is part of a five-year project and is going to happen.
In addition to road improvements, Campbell sees the need for new interstates. Campbell says the state needs interstate 11, which is purposed to run from Nogales, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Various road maintenance and improvements cost money and Campbell says it’s only worth the effort if Arizona Governor Doug Ducey supports him.
“I’m not looking to do anything unless the Governor supports it,” Campbell said. “I’m not going to push these revenue bills and have them just die. It’s too much work. The Governor has to come out publicly and support what I’m trying to do or I won’t do it.”
Campbell also sees an issue with the current gas and diesel tax, saying it hasn’t been raised since 1991 and the $1 tax revenue 27 years ago is just worth 47 cents today due to inflation.
“You cannot do roads and maintenance unless you have revenue and nobody wants to raise the taxes,” Campbell said. “We know that every dollar we put into infrastructure pays an economic return of about three dollars. We have a lot of people supporting what we are trying to do….they all realize that transportation is so vital to the success of this state economically.”
Another issue for Campbell is water resources with northern Arizona continuing to grow.
“It’s critical up here, I’m very concerned about our water resources, our aquifer, the upper Verde River,” Campbell said. “I want to make sure with the development that is going on up here that there are adequate water supplies and we don’t endanger the upper Verde River.”
Funding for education and teacher pay is an item many in leadership positions are facing across the country–including right here in Arizona–as RedforEd marches took place this past school year striving for more teacher pay. Arizona lawmakers recently passed a pay raise increase of 20% over the next four years.
In an education forum at Bradshaw Mountain High School, Campbell said considering the budget being balanced and the money available to the legislature, state funding for public schools in Arizona is spot on.
“Right now, I think we’re doing fine when you consider that 55.7% goes to public education,” Campbell said during the forum.
Campbell also would like to talk more about results for the money spent. Campbell noted Washington D.C. spends about $17,000 a student while school districts in Iowa spend about $4,000 to $5,000 per student and Iowa has the highest per capita ratio of graduation and going on to secondary education.
“Money is important, but it’s not the end all, be all,” Campbell said.
According to the Arizona Auditor General Humboldt Unified School District – Arizona District Spending Report Fiscal Year 2017 released in March 2018, the district spent $7,349 per pupil in 2017. The graduation rate for the district was 95% in 2016-15% more than the state average. Furthermore, the district had around 40% of the students pass state assessments for math and english language arts while science was around 60%. All three percentages were higher than state averages.
BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE PREVIOUS TERM
Campbell said the biggest thing accomplished in the previous term was finding a funding source for the Department of Public Safety, which previously took up to 90 million dollars of funding from the Highway User Fund and the General Fund.
Furthermore, Campbell and Stringer got $300,000 from the state legislature for the Mayer School District’s fire and flood.
“People didn’t want to do it, saying who cares about that little town,” Campbell said. “Well I do and so did Representative Stringer and we went after them and we played hardball with them. That’s how you get things done.”
In addition, one million dollars was acquired for the pension fund of fallen firefighters.
PRIMARY VOTING INFORMATION
The Arizona Primary Election takes place on Tuesday, August 28th, 2018. Early voting ends Friday, August 24th. As the primary gets closer, Campbell is free and easy. With a smile, Campbell said, “just happy to be doing the job. If I win, I win. If I don’t, I go fishing.”
Originally published to signalsaz.com