The time to fight back — and fight forward — for reproductive justice is fast approaching. The stakes are high in this year’s state election, with candidates for governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and other races on the ballot. The Arizona general election will be held November 6, 2018 — and early voting began on October 10. Voters needed to have been registered by October 9 to cast their ballots. Reproductive health has been under attack, both nationally and statewide, but Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona has endorsed candidates who put our health and our rights first. Get to know them now in our series of “Meet Our Candidates” interviews, and make your voice heard in 2018!
[M]ark Manoil came of age in Phoenix during the 1960s and ’70s, an era that saw his hometown boom as it built out infrastructure and provided children with quality education. It was a time period when “government understood how responsible investment could help our communities thrive” — in contrast to today’s Arizona, where lawmakers have turned away from that forward-thinking belief in responsible investment. He saw it when his family struggled during the 2008 recession while the government chose to bail out banks, and he sees it in millennials burdened with student debt. Mr. Manoil is hoping for a change of course, in which lawmakers reinvest in Arizona’s citizens and allow them to prosper — and he’s running for Arizona treasurer so he can be at the helm for these changes.
“We should be pulling from all of the great minds in this state rather than ignoring them.”
The state treasurer oversees Arizona’s $40 billion budget and $15 billion in assets, and is responsible for distributing taxpayer money to state agencies, local governments, and public schools. The treasurer also has influence over investments, loans, and state lands. Arizona’s current treasurer is stepping down from her post, leaving the seat open for either Republican Kimberly Yee and Democrat Mark Manoil.
As a state senator, Ms. Yee consistently opposed reproductive rights and received the lowest ratings possible from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona and NARAL Arizona. She also supported tax cuts for corporations, a move that Mr. Manoil says has made the state too dependent on regressive sales taxes that disproportionately affect lower-income people. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona is excited to endorse Mr. Manoil for Arizona treasurer, trusting him to fight for families over corporations.
Mr. Manoil generously took the time to tell us more about his background and his candidacy on October 4.
Please tell us a little about your background and why you’re running for office right now in this political climate.
I am a fourth-generation Arizonan with roots stretching back to territorial days. My great grandfather and his brother both served as Arizona territorial treasurers. I am a proud graduate of our public schools and a prouder public school parent. Today, I’m a small business owner focused on enforcing our property tax laws, especially on greedy speculators trying to skirt taxes. More and more we see people who can’t pay off their college debt, can’t afford a house, can’t qualify for a small business loan, and can’t afford to start a family. Our kids can’t live at home forever — things have to change. When the government stops working for the people, we must elect new leaders to fix it. I will fight to create opportunity and restore dignity to an office that for too long has let politicians get away with bad budgets and self-dealing.
What will be your first action as an elected official in 2019?
I will continue the work I’ve already started during my campaign, reaching out to our local officials to see what economic barriers their populations are facing. The day I sent letters to leaders in rural Arizona asking what the executive branch could do for them, I got immediate responses from people wanting to make a difference and excited that there might actually be someone at the state level with their interests at heart. Through this listening tour, I have learned of numerous rural cities and towns that lack basic banking services. I spoke to city officials in Kingman, in the northwestern part of our state, and Douglas, in the southeast, who are struggling to do the basic functions of their jobs because of state-level problems. With shared revenue sweeps they have to delay infrastructure improvements and apply minimal Band-Aid measures. They’re forced by the Legislature to raise local residents’ taxes. They’re seeing local sales tax collection enforcement suffer because of weakened auditing at the Department of Revenue. We should be pulling from all of the great minds in this state rather than ignoring them.
The uncertain future of the Supreme Court highlights the importance of protecting our rights at the state level. How can state legislators stem the tide of attacks on reproductive rights, for example by addressing so-called conscience clauses, targeted regulations, and access to family planning?
While reproductive rights and health is not a main issue that a state treasurer can directly make a difference in, I try to be a positive example by advocating for women’s choice in order to normalize it within society. I believe that my platform will also indirectly influence reproductive rights/health by improving the quality of education and resources women receive. With greater educational and job opportunities, they will not be a prisoner of their circumstances and can empower them to make whatever choice they feel best fits their life. Through a stronger health care infrastructure in Arizona, we will have a healthier population, which in turn means a healthier workforce. I will advocate for these improvements to ensure all Arizonans are able to maximize their potential within society.
What can state legislators do not just to safeguard existing LGBTQ rights in Arizona, but to move them forward?
LGBTQIA+ individuals in Arizona drive the economy, and the government should be fostering this rather than creating barriers like we have seen in the last few years. If the Legislature fails our communities, we need people at the state level who will speak up. I will work to ensure that LGBTQIA+ Arizonans have access to actually affordable higher education loans, and capital and favorable terms for small business, housing, and community development through community banking. I will also commit to hiring practices in the treasurer’s office that do not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
What other issues are you fighting for?
I am focused on creating a fair tax system, ensuring affordable borrowing, and serving as an independent watchdog over the state budgeting. We need a fairer and more stable tax system that no longer prioritizes corporate tax cuts. Creating a robust public, community banking system would restore basic local banking services to much of rural Arizona, enable those previously ineligible neighbors to have borrowing power once again, and facilitate affordable borrowing options to higher education students and small-business owners. I will also focus on ending the self-dealing and corruption that has been committed by treasurers for so long.
What gives you hope for the future of Arizona?
Our people give me hope for the future. Our population is extremely diverse, driven, and resourceful. These traits all speak to the vitality of our state.
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