Get to know: Senator Kate Brophy McGee

This month, CBN spoke with state senator Kate Brophy McGee to hear about why she initially ran for the legislature, policy priorities, and her favorite read.

Question: How has your time in the private sector influenced your priorities as a state senator?
Answer: I was a commercial loan officer at two large Arizona banks when there were very few women in that occupation.  I had the privilege of lending to many different Arizona businesses, learning about each business, and the many challenges they faced and conquered.  I learned that small business is the backbone of our country, and it is government’s role to create an environment where small businesses can thrive.

Q: Is there a family sports rivalry since all of your sons attended different Arizona schools?
A: My sons are college sports agnostic!  Given that my husband and I are college sports enthusiasts, this was somewhat of a letdown.  My husband and I have substituted our own rivalries – my alma mater, the University of Arizona versus the University of Washington (where he earned his masters degree in banking).  No matter what, we ALWAYS root for Arizona’s three universities and all PAC 12 schools.

Q: As a third generation Arizonan and Arizona native, you have witnessed Arizona’s exponential growth. In your opinion, why is Arizona such a desirable location?
A: Arizona is a geographic wonder – one can travel just a few hours and experience every climate and season there is, and experience every adventure from big cities to incredible natural beauty.  Our proximity and close relationship with Mexico is appealing. When you consider the obstacles early Arizonans had to conquer to build the Arizona of today, it took the hardiest of pioneers to meet those challenges.  That built our sense of fierce independence and freedom so unique to Arizona that is attractive to newcomers. Arizona is also a very young state, and attractive to those who want a fresh start or a new outlook on life.

Q: Why did you run for the state Legislature?
A: I want to build the Arizona our children and grandchildren will call home.  That means we must maintain our exceptional quality of life, build a great P-20 education system and produce the highly qualified workforce to fill the jobs employers are creating.  We must manage our scarce resources properly and plan many years into the future on all these issues.  I want to be a part of tackling and solving those problems, and planning for Arizona’s future.

Q: What did you take away from the ten years you served on the board of the Washington Elementary School District?
A: I learned that every child can succeed, regardless of the obstacles they face.  I learned to focus on the issues and solve problems in a nonpartisan manner.  I learned to take the people and personalities out of the equation and drive towards a solution.  I learned that it is easier to solve problems when you don’t care who gets the credit.

Q: What are you trying to improve within your own district? (District 28)
A: The biggest issue in my district continues to be K-12 funding and resources.  The extension of Prop 301 provides stability for schools and opens the door to update and redesign the Prop 301 buckets.  I am working on that project during the interim.  My district is also experiencing a lot of neighborhood issues, including everything from party houses to homelessness, blight and increased crime.  I am working with my City and Town Council members, including Councilwoman Deb Stark, to identify solutions and determine how legislative action is needed.

Q: You are passionate about Prop 301’s extension to best address the needs of our current education system. Can you tell us why you are so passionate about that and what your vision is for education in the future?
A: It was not widely known that schools were beginning the phase-out of Prop 301 funds (in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles) and the extension of Prop 301 released these funds back into schools’ finances.  I had always believed there was a general commitment across party lines to renew Prop 301.  The legislative extension formalized that commitment and provided schools a seat at the table to update Prop 301.  The Prop 301 renewal was a very much needed gesture of good will and good faith to set the stage for more conversation about education reforms.  We must update our education policies, including a simplified and more flexible funding formula, to reflect the classrooms of today.  My vision for education has always been equitably funded and accountable choice for Arizona families.  The Prop 301 extension will anchor our efforts going forward.

Q: You majored in Spanish at the University of Arizona. How’s your Spanish today? If you were to learn another language what would it be?
A: My Spanish is fairly good, but I don’t have the opportunity to practice it as much as I would like.  I love the Spanish language and culture, and studied both extensively in high school and college.  Regarding your question about learning another language, it would be my preference to use that time to improve my conversational Spanish and to once again enjoy the Spanish literature I studied in college.

Q: What is your favorite book?
A: I have many favorite books.  The first one I think of is ZOOM, by Istvan Banyai, which can be shared with all ages, including the very young.  It’s a perspective book, and very much applies to being a good legislator. There is always one more piece of the puzzle, one more question or clue, to better understand an issue.

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have received?
A: You meet the same people on the way out that you met on the way in.  Treat EVERYONE as you would like to be treated.

Lorna Romero

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