The Copper Courier Voter Guide: Arizona’s 4th Legislative District

By Robert Gundran

July 11, 2022

As part of our efforts to help inform and empower voters as the 2022 election approaches, The Copper Courier is creating an overview of local races throughout the state, along with access to tools Arizonans need to find out how to vote, who will be on their ballot, and what they can do to participate in the upcoming election.

Bookmark this page for the latest information about Arizona’s 2nd legislative district. The Primary Election will be held Aug. 2, and the General Election is Nov. 8.

What’s My Legislative District? | Am I Registered to Vote?

State Senate

After redistricting, LD 4 now represents Paradise Valley and north Scottsdale. It runs from Camelback Mountain to Pinnacle Peak Road. Both Christine Marsh and Nancy Barto are incumbents in the Arizona Senate, making LD 4 a key race in the makeup of the legislature. Both incumbents are running unopposed in their primaries

Christine Marsh

Marsh was named Arizona’s Teacher of the Year in 2016. She was elected to represent LD 28 in the 2020 election, winning by a narrow margin of just under 500 votes. 

“Currently, Arizona has a Republican majority in both chambers of the State Legislature, and a Republican governor. We need more balance at the Capitol in order to force negotiation and compromise,” Marsh said on her campaign website. “My election to the State Senate could mean a change in leadership and that would mean an end to one-party rule in Arizona.”

Marsh has been a fierce opponent to so-called “school choice” bills, which allow students to siphon public funds from public schools in order to attend charter and private schools. 

In 2018 voters rejected Prop 305, which would have massively expanded the school voucher program. The Republican-led legislature again ignored the will of the voters—much like the Prop 208 tax raises on Arizona’s wealthiest residents—and aimed to do the opposite of what voters asked.

Arizona’s most recent voucher expansion makes it so all students in the state who can enroll in public school can get public funding to pay for private school tuition, online curriculum, or tutors. Voucher programs can serve as a way for public funds to be taken outside of the state’s public school systems. 

She has also voiced opposition to corporate welfare and tax breaks for large businesses. 

“The failed economic policy goes by many names but has had one result: a shrinking budget, and that leads to underfunded public services,” she said. 

Marsh also supports a person’s right to choose to have an abortion. 

Nancy Barto

Barto currently represents LD 15. She previously served in the Arizona senate from 2011 to 2019 and the Arizona house from 2007 to 2011. 

She claimed on her campaign website, without evidence, that public schools are being forced by education unions and leftist activists to focus on so-called critical race theory and gender ideology over the basics.

Barto has also voted in favor of several bills that would force people to carry their pregnancy to term, something that between 60-80 percent of Americans disagree with. She also sponsored a bill that bans abortion at 15 weeks.

She is in favor of low taxes, fewer regulations for businesses, and opposed the voter-passed Prop 208, calling it “cumbersome” to undo the will of the electorate. 

The state senator also falsely claimed on her website that Arizonans don’t have confidence that their vote will count. 

A poll from NPR/PBS NewsHour/Mairst asked the question “If your candidate for president does not win in 2024, do you trust that the results are accurate, or not?”

82% of Democrats and 68% of Independent voters said they will trust the results if their candidates lose, while only 33% of Republicans said they’ll trust the results. 

The poll also noted all parties trust the integrity of local and state election officials in 2022, with 91% of Democrats, 67% of Independents, and 60% of Republicans trusting the integrity. 

State House

Six Republicans and one Democrat are on the ballot for two house seats. 

John Arnold

Arnold is a self-proclaimed lifelong Republican who has worked as a financial advisor in Scottsdale for over two decades. 

He is in favor of low taxes, minimal government regulations, and goes as far as to say that he wants to lower Arizona’s income tax rate to zero. Arnold’s plan could result in a significant financial crisis for Arizona, however, as Income tax makes up nearly 50% of the state’s general fund revenue.

Arnold also uses rhetoric that claims the 2020 election had vulnerabilities that undermined the belief in free and fair elections, despite an abundance of evidence disproving these claims. 

Under his “issues” page on his campaign website, he lists what has become common Republican doctrine in being against so-called critical race theory—despite it not being part of the curriculum for public schools. 

On the topic of abortion, Arnold put himself on the side of forced pregnancies. 

“The Supreme Court’s decision is a win for states rights and reverses a decision considered legally dubious by Constitutional scholars on both sides of the aisle,” Arnold said. “I’m pro-life and as your Representative, I will always pursue policies that defend children and families.”

Laura Terech

Terech is the only Democrat running for a seat in the state house in LD 4. 

She said she spent most of her career as an elementary school teacher in Phoenix and started to get frustrated with the state of Arizona’s public school system. 

“The true epiphany came when part of my ceiling collapsed over a rug full of kindergartners. I was able to shield the children, so thankfully I was the only one injured. This is the state of education in Arizona,” she said on her campaign website

Terech said she is in favor of protecting access to the ballot box whether it is through voting by mail or at the polls. 

She is also in favor of a person’s right to choose how they handle their reproductive health.

“Today’s Roe decision revealed the importance of flipping the state legislature to protect access to abortion and people’s ability to make their own family planning decisions,” she said. “That is work I am committed to and work that I will do in the legislature.”

Kenneth R. Bowers Jr. 

Bowers claims he is self-financing his campaign and supports putting former President Donald Trump back into the office of the presidency.

“You can accurately judge my character by reference to my desire to help President Trump be restored to his office as President” Bowers said. 

He has no relation to Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers. 

“I pledge to ceaselessly support the Right-to-Life position and 2nd Amendment right to bear arms,” Bowers said. “If these positions offend you, I may not be your candidate.”

Bowers also wants to transfer federal land back to Arizona and create a memorial for former governor Evan Mecham, who was impeached and removed from office for obstruction of justice and misuse of government funds. 

Vera Gebran

Gebran is a Republican and immigrated to the United States from Lebanon when she was a child. 

She said she supports abortion for those who became pregnant through rape or incest, but aside from that is 100% in favor of forcing people to carry their pregnancy to term. 

On voting, Gebran brings up a variety of non-issues, such as dead people voting and machines connected to the internet, that only serve to fuel debunked conspiracy theories that Arizona elections aren’t secure. 

Gebran also takes the standard Republican position that businesses should not be allowed to refuse service based on vaccination status. 

She was endorsed by far-right Congressman and Jan. 6 collaborator Andy Biggs. 

https://twitter.com/VoteVeraG/status/1540443972350246912?s=20&t=Ms4Vgp1dx9V6Ji_cErtIHA

Matt Gress

Gress is a Republican candidate, originally from Oklahoma. He served as a governing board member in the Maison Elementary School District from 2017 to 2021. 

He touted the fact that he tried to keep schools open during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and supports taking funds from public schools and diverting them to private and charter schools. 

Gress supports improved forest management to reduce wildfires and state funding to incentivize farming practices and irrigation tech that saves water. 

He was endorsed by former Gov. Jan Brewer, the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police, and the Professional Firefighters of Arizona. 

The Republican also said he is in favor of forcing people to carry their pregnancy to term. 

Jana Jackson

Jackson was born in Chicago and graduated from Governors State University in Illinois. She worked with NASA before eventually moving to Arizona. 

She is in favor of taking funds from public schools and moving that money to charter and private schools. 

“It’s not that we don’t have enough money,” Jackson said, in reference to education funding. “We’re putting it in the wrong places.”

Despite taking up a large percentage of the city and state budgets, Jackson believes that police officers need additional funding. 

Jackson was endorsed by former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted for contempt of court for failure to comply with a court order to stop racial profiling practices. 

Maria Syms

The former state rep is running for election in a crowded field. Syms has lived in Arizona for over 20 years and has served as an Assistant Attorney General and Paradise Valley Town Councilwoman. She served as a state rep from 2017-2019. 

Syms is in favor of forcing people to carry their pregnancy to term.

She also espouses rhetoric that suggests elections aren’t secure. 

“Syms is a fighter for the conservative values that matter for Arizona families – strong border security, educational choice, lower taxes and regulations, and safer communities,” she said of herself on her campaign website. 

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Author

  • Robert Gundran

    Robert Gundran grew up in the Southwest, spending equal time in the Valley and Southern California throughout his life. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in 2018 and wrote for The Arizona Republic and The Orange County Register.

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