Mariana Sandoval

Mariana Sandoval was the only candidate to participate in a District 13 forum.

Voters in Tolleson-Avondale District 19 candidates did not have an opportunity to hear candidates debate. Incumbents Lorenzo Sierra and Diego Espinoza do not face opposition in their reelection bids as the two District 19 representatives. Sen. Lupe Contreras of District 19 also is running unopposed.

Candidates running for Legislative District 13 were invited to a Sept. 14 debate organized by the Clean Elections Commission. 

Challenger Mariana Sandoval, a Democrat, was the only candidate to participate in the forum, answering questions submitted by voters across the state.

Incumbents Joanne Osborne and Timothy Dunn, both Republicans, did not join the event. The incumbents were elected in 2019. Both are on the ballot seeking reelection. 

Incumbent Sine Kerr of Buckeye, a Republican, is the only candidate from the District 13 state senator position.

Sandoval currently serves on the Agua Fria Union High School District governing board. She was elected to the Agua Fria board in 2016.

Sandoval collected signatures this year to run for the Avondale Elementary School District governing board. But some of her signatures were successfully challenged, and she will not be on the Avondale Elementary ballot.

The West Valley View called and emailed Sandoval for comment on her school board candidacy. Sandoval has not replied, as of press time.

With COVID-19 being the top priority for 2020, voters participating in the District 13 forum asked about legislative plans for the pandemic, climate change and education.

“In the almost four years that I served on the school board, I have never had so many teachers contact me with concern of fear of their safety and fear of their lives. They didn’t want to go back into the classroom,” Sandoval said.

“They don’t feel that it’s safe. They don’t feel that we’ve met the metrics.”

She said she voted against an October return to school.

“I was very disappointed in the way our board voted for that,” she said. “We’re working on making sure our staff is safe.”

Sandoval took a shot at her District 13 opponents who did not participate in the forum.

“My opponents are out—disconnected with the reality—with their diamonds and pearls and their leopard pants, shopping. Or, (they) just don’t care about the fact that they’re not here tonight. Them not being here tonight shows that they don’t care. … That they don’t want to address the needs of the people who are hurting, the people who lost jobs, that are losing their home, that can’t pay their rent, that are losing their health care because they lost their jobs.”

She said she was concerned about the balance of public health and business.

“Without consumers, there are no businesses. There is no economy. … The 5,000-plus people that have died of COVID-19 in the state of Arizona are not just numbers on a spreadsheet. … These people were mothers, they were fathers, they were sisters, and they were sons and daughters for someone,” Sandoval said.

She said she wanted to focus on unemployment compensation in Arizona, which is “only $240. … No one can live on only $240 a week.

“I would say to the governor, you try living on $240 a week. You try paying that Brophy tuition for your kids with $240 a week.”

Even so, she insisted, “I am not going to come in with a divisive attitude. I am there to work for the people.”

When it was noted that Democrats have struggled in District 13, Sandoval said she has an outreach plan for Yuma.

“I’m here to represent everyone, not just Democrats,” she said. “We have radio ads coming in Spanish. We have radio ads coming. We have a strong Democratic club in Yuma that is very involved and active.”

The challenger ended the event with a pitch to voters:

“In the past, your interests have not been represented well in the state Legislature. … I will put people over politics. … If you want change. … I am on the ballot for you.”