HomeDemocracyThe race for Arizona’s 9th Legislative District: a closer look

The race for Arizona’s 9th Legislative District: a closer look

Armand Jackson

In November, voters in Legislative District 9 will be able to choose between Democratic candidate Eva Burch and Donald Trump endorsed Republican candidate Robert Scantlebury to represent them as their next State Senator. The district is located in Pima County, and the winner will replace Victoria Steele, who has been the Democratic senator for LD9 since 2019, but is now running for Precinct 1 Judge of the Pima County Justice of the Peace.  

Eva Burch lives in Mesa, was born and raised in Arizona, and is currently a precinct committee person in LD9. She attended Valley public schools from kindergarten through high school and studied nursing at Pima Medical Institute in Mesa, after which she began her career in emergency nursing in 2012.

Robert Scantlebury is a retired Mesa Police Sergeant who grew up in Norwalk, California where he graduated high school, community college, and California State University, Fullerton, before being recruited to work for the Mesa Police Department in 1992. 

The main issues the two candidates have divergent policy positions on that matter to every day Arizonans are education, health care, abortion, and elections. On education, Scantlebury supports vouchers or education savings accounts, which send public tax dollars away from public schools to charter, private, homeschool, or online school options. He has stated that school classrooms should be smaller as well as more responsive to the needs of students and parents, but has not defined what that would mean. 

Burch believes that school class sizes should be smaller as well, and has emphasized the importance of high-quality public education for all students, regardless of how wealthy the surrounding community is. She also supports higher funding for teacher pay, as well as better resources for public schools, including: books, technology, support staff, nutritious food, and equipment. Her policy page notes that this path leads to reduced crime rates and improved standard of living by allowing students more opportunities throughout Arizona.

On health care, the candidates differ as well. Burch supports expanded access to affordable, high-quality health care, regardless of income or insurance status. Her policy page also focuses on the importance of quality care for children, the elderly, and the economically lesser off. Scantlebury’s policy page does not give much insight on his positions on health care as a whole, only stating that he supports medical freedoms. 

On the subject of abortion, Scantlebury identifies himself as pro-life on his campaign site, stating: “Every human life deserves to be protected, especially the most vulnerable among us, the unborn.” On the 2022 Center For Arizona Policy voter guide, Scantlebury supported an abortion ban, except when it is necessary to prevent the death of the mother.  He also opposes state funding or referrals to health care entities that perform or refer for abortion. 

Burch does not make a statement on abortion, but has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, a pro-choice organization that endorses pro-choice candidates who they believe will protect or expand reproductive freedoms.

On elections, Scantlebury has followed Donald Trump’s position and denies the integrity of the 2020 election. On her website, Burch emphasized the importance of expanding voter rights, while pushing back against legislation that promotes voter suppression. 

A recent article in the Arizona Republic highlights state legislative elections will determine how extreme the Arizona legislature may become in the coming years. For example, the slim Republican majority legislature this year, passed measures expanding private-school vouchers, restricting abortion rights, limiting health care access for transgender minors, as well as their participation in school sports, and banned citizens’ freedom to film the police at a distance of less than eight feet.

As the midterms are less than two months away, voters in LD9 should know more about the state senator candidates whose names will appear on the ballot.