Raised in Buckeye, Arizona, Senator Sine Kerr (LD13) started her career in 1980 as a dairy farmer where she developed a passion for agriculture that now “extends beyond [her] farm.”
In Nov. 2018, Arizonans elected Kerr to her first full term as an Arizona State Senator after she was appointed to the position earlier that year when former state Senator Steve Montenegro (LD13) resigned.
Kerr sits on the Arizona Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors, serving her first term as chair of the organization’s Women’s Leadership Committee. She also serves on the Buckeye Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Maricopa County Air Quality Hearing Board, and is the chair of the Arizona Department of Agriculture’s Food and Agriculture Policy Advisory Council.
In the Senate, Kerr is chair of the Water & Agriculture committee, and vice-chair of the Natural Resources & Energy, Transportation & Public Safety, and Appropriation committees.
She recently sat down with Chamber Business News to discuss the 2019 legislative session and her goals for her time in office.
Question: What are your top goals for this session?
Answer: My goals are to represent my district as best to my ability that I can. My goals are, especially in my committee assignments, to do my very best there and to make sure that not only am I taking care of my constituents, but then statewide making sure I’m making every decision that just helps our state have greater success.
Q: What are your goals for the Natural Resources & Energy committee?
A: We have such an incredible, beautiful state. The natural resources that we have here are second to no other state in beauty, in value. Our residents, we’re outdoorsy people for the most part and [my goals are] to make sure that we’re taking care of our natural resources. That we implement policies where needed that continue to make sure that we have, and can enjoy our incredible resources, not only for today but in the many, many years to come.
Q: How do you think working on a dairy farm has helped you chair the Natural Resources & Energy committee?
A: My husband and I, we started 39 years ago with 15 cows and we grew incrementally through the years. Today, we have over 2,000 dairy cattle under our care. So, working every day with our natural resources, you know, with our land, our water, our cattle, all of those things. It’s been my life’s work alongside my husband, and his family, and now our children. So, that has completely prepared me in ways I never would’ve imagined, understand[ing] how important it is that we be good stewards of everything that has been entrusted to our care.
Q: What was the transition from farming to being an elected official like?
A: I’m still very much in farming. I manage all of our business, the farm business part of things. I used to milk cows, drive tractors, do all that alongside my husband but as we grew and we could have employees, of course, we could hire that out. Now, our son is managing the day-to-day dairy, so, it’s just adding the political part of it to what I’ve always done on the farm. Honestly, it was, like, a smooth transition because our food production is really quite political. So, that’s where the passion for public policy began in me, is advocating on behalf of our farmers and ranchers all across the state, and also on the national level as well.
Q: How do you plan on working with the other side to pass bipartisan legislature?
A: What I found surprising was how often we do agree on subject matters and, so, it’s really easy. It all starts with building relationships and that comes really easy for me, that’s my favorite part of this job. I just really love getting to know people, learning about what are their priorities? What are they passionate about? You know, building from there. So, I think, it’s really critical that we be good relationship builders.
Q: What do you think the top issues will be this session?
A: I think our water issues are huge, our tax conformity issues are huge. These are things that touch just about every person in our state. There’s going to be, just, a lot of different issues that do come up but those are probably the two biggest ones that I’m seeing right now.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: I love, so much, that we have a citizen legislature. That someone like me, with no prior political experience, can have a passion, run for office, be elected, and come and serve as an ordinary citizen. I go home to my farm and I live under the laws that we put forth, and I think that’s so important for our state. I’m just very, very proud to be in the Arizona legislature. I love our state and it’s just an honor to serve.