News - Kelli Butler for Arizona

News

Impossible choices

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Friends -

My husband and I are small business owners of our family’s dental practice. For 26 years, we’ve worked to care for our patients and provide for our employees.

One Saturday morning a few years ago, we got a call from a mother whose 6-year-old daughter had a terrible toothache. Our practice was closed that day, but we agreed to meet them at the office later that morning.   

The little girl was in a lot of pain and she was crying.  Her tooth needed to be pulled, but the family had no insurance. As we explained the process and the cost, the mother’s eyes filled with tears.  She had two younger children who sat quietly nearby.  It was obvious to me this young mother was trying to figure out what her family would have to do without in order to pay for this unexpected necessity. I will never forget the look on her face when we told her we would pull her daughter’s tooth at no charge.

I know we all have to make difficult, sometimes unexpected financial choices. But a young mother choosing between medical care and paying for rent or food for her family is just not right.

Experiences like this shape my decisions at the legislature. As your State Representative, I have sponsored bills to expand access to affordable healthcare for all Arizonans:

  • HB2441 (2018) - Would have protected our state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, KidsCare, from an automatic enrollment freeze if federal funding is reduced by even $1.
  • HB2442 (2017) - Would have provided pregnant women enrolled in our state’s Medicaid program with a dental benefit, which has been shown to improve the health of babies and moms.
  • HB2443 (2018) - Would have allowed individuals the option to purchase their health insurance through our state’s existing Medicaid program, using their own money, if the coverage and cost made sense for their family.

As a member of the House Health Committee and the Banking and Insurance Committee, I am committed to continuing to explore solutions to make health care more accessible and insurance more affordable.

I’m honored to have received the endorsement of respected medical and healthcare associations. They know I work tirelessly to balance the needs of patients and providers, especially in today’s difficult healthcare environment: 

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I need your support to make sure I can return to the Capitol and continue to fight for affordable, accessible health care. Midnight tonight is a critical fundraising deadline. 

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Thank you!

Kelli Butler

State Representative, District 28

(602) 509-2790 cell

Hit the PAUSE button

Friends -

While national issues swirl endlessly around us, perhaps it’s time to hit the pause button -- to remind ourselves we CAN make a real difference in the outcome of local elections here in Arizona.

And whether it’s education, affordable healthcare or women’s rights, my re-election to the State House matters.

In my first term, I introduced bills that would have offered an affordable healthcare option to individuals and would have provided more oversight to the operation of charter schools in our state.  I offered amendments to the budget that would have increased teacher pay raises and decreased class sizes.  I voted against terrible bills that stripped away a woman’s right to make decisions about her own health.

I’m not giving up.

As your state representative, I will continue to advocate for what’s best for all Arizonans.  But I need your help now.  Donate here.

Early ballots will be mailed in just a few weeks, and I am almost out of yard signs, bumper stickers and t-shirts.  We've already knocked on so many doors we need to reorder our campaign flyers.  With added resources, we will be able to boost our videos on social media.

Donate what you can today and know we are doing all we can to win my race in Legislative District 28.  Arizona’s families are counting on us – and I am counting on you!   

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Thank you for your continued support!

Kelli Butler

State Representative, District 28

(602) 509-2790

 

P.S.   Please visit our campaign office at 10401 N. 32nd Street, Phoenix - east side of 32nd Street, just south of Shea Blvd. We're open Monday - Friday from 10am to 7pm; Saturday from 8:30am to 3:30pm; Sunday from 11-4pm. Stop by and pick up a sign - get one before they're all gone!

Father's Day GLIRP

Happy Father’s Day!

I have a wonderful, loving father who is thoughtful, kind and gives great advice. Years ago, he decided to create a motto to share with his kids and grandkids – all his best advice in one place. He calls it GLIRP. Clearly, not the most elegant acronym, but some very good life lessons:

G – Don’t be GREEDY

L – LOVE and be Loved

I – Always have INTEGRITY

R – Live the Golden RULE

P – Find and Pursue your PASSION

And, I am so grateful for having had an incredible father-in-law, Ben’s dad, Nelson. Nelson passed away just last year from lung cancer and we are still heartbroken. He was an avid hunter and outdoorsman, and when we went on family camping trips, he always spent time cleaning up trash – his motto was to leave a place better than you found it. He certainly did. 

I’m hoping you have a dad in your life you look up to and whose advice you treasure.  And I’m hoping we can all have a little more GLIRP and spend more time trying to make the world a better place.

 All the best to dads and the kids who love them -

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Change is coming!

Today is Teacher Appreciation Day, and a good day to reflect on the remarkable teachers in our lives who influenced us and perhaps encouraged us to pursue our life’s path.

And for many of us, this is also a day to reflect on the impact of the teacher-led #RedForEd movement that took hold all across our state, and influenced final budget decisions at the Capitol last week. Wow! It was an emotional experience – and the teachers’ presence in the galleries and on the lawn made it obvious to all that the Governor’s original proposal of a 1 percent pay increase for teachers was woefully inadequate.

No one knows for sure whether the teachers will receive the 20 percent increase by 2020 that the Governor now promises, but the additional 8 percent we’ve been told is in next year’s budget could be a good start. However, we know the state is not allocating enough money to give all teachers the promised increase. We know support staff and some campus specialists were not included in the funding plan.

And now that the Legislature has adjourned, my first term as your State Representative nears its end. I have learned a great deal. I hope you know that I have consistently supported public education and will continue to work to increase state support of our schools to pre-recession levels. I am committed to working to ensure smaller class sizes, sufficient funding for building maintenance and pay raises for support staff as well as for teachers.

I offered an amendment, in fact, during last week’s budget debates to cap class sizes to 25 students per teacher, but it was shouted down quickly on a partisan voice vote. I offered a second amendment, to protect our children’s health insurance program, KidsCare, if federal support levels change, but that amendment also failed on a party-line vote.

But change is coming. I’m convinced. Because of the #RedForEd movement, there is a better understanding by many of the inability of our current budget to provide the resources needed to support our children, improve our workforce and strengthen our economy.

My work – our work -- on behalf of Arizona’s children and families is not finished. I appreciate your support in the past and look forward to your help with what surely will be a robust campaign this summer and fall.

Here’s what you can do to help:

We have just opened an office at 10401 N. 32nd St (east side of 32nd Street, just south of Shea Blvd). We’ll be canvassing from the office at 9 am this Saturday, May 12th.  Please let me know if you can join us!

 

Kelli Butler

State Representative, District 28

(602) 926-5156

kbutler@azleg.gov

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Change

We think of the word, change, most often as a verb, and it usually means to make different or to become different, or perhaps to replace.

But the word is also a noun, and it can mean the act of changing, such as an alteration, or a transformation, or a substitution. 

Many of us look to the November elections to change the direction of our state.  In Arizona, we are hopeful that the RedforEd and March For Our Lives events are the beginning of needed change and that the activism we see by teachers and young people will lead to election results that bring a balance of power to our state legislature. 

My re-election to the State House of Representatives is critical.  But we need to do more.  Changing just two seats in the State Senate, or five in the House will change leadership, committee assignments and legislative priorities.  And that will be transformative for our state.  

If you have already donated or volunteered in support of my campaign, I am grateful.  If you would consider donating again or making your first donation now, I would appreciate it.  March 31 is an important deadline for fundraising.  Numbers matter and I would like to report that I have donations from as many supporters as possible.  

Donate whatever you can today. Look for that “change” in your drawer or your coat pockets and put it to good use, changing the direction of our state come November. 

Thank you for your support!

Kelli Butler

State Representative, District 28

Trust

Friends -

This week at the Capitol, we voted to reauthorize Prop 301, the 0.6-cent sales tax for education. Extending Prop 301 means schools will be able to maintain current funding levels instead of falling off another fiscal cliff.

I supported the bill, because I know our schools are in crisis. Prop 301 was set to expire in 2021 and our schools need to be able to plan. 

However, there is serious concern because after 2021, the legislature will be able to alter the sales tax amount or redirect the funds. Because the original Prop 301 was a ballot initiative, it was voter-protected - the legislature couldn’t change the amount, or use the funds for different programs. Now, with this reauthorization by the legislature, instead of by the voters, those protections are gone.

So now it’s a question of trust.  

Do you trust the current majority party to continue to dedicate Prop 301 funds to public education, or do you share my concerns that the legislature might cut funds, or sweep or redirect funds to other purposes? And just as importantly, do you trust the current majority to take the additional steps necessary to address our teacher shortage crisis and to prioritize funding for long-neglected building maintenance and repairs?  

Make no mistake - even with this Prop 301 reauthorization in place, we remain at the bottom nationally, and our elementary teachers are still the lowest paid in the nation. Our public schools receive a billion dollars less per year than they did before the recession. Current funding levels aren’t nearly enough and Prop 301 reauthorization does nothing to change that.  

Reauthorizing Prop 301 funds is a tiny step away from what was a looming fiscal cliff. But we’ve opened the door to future, harmful changes unless we elect leaders who will protect the amount and distribution of those funds.

As your Representative, I truly prioritize public schools, students and teachers. I understand that the status quo is not good enough and that real, long-term solutions are required.

The coming November elections are critical. If you share my concerns and my priorities, I hope you will do what you can to help with my re-election campaign:

Thank you for your continued support!

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Kelli Butler
State Representative, District 28
(602) 926-5156
kbutler@azleg.gov

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Buckle up

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National healthcare policy has been a frightening rollercoaster lately. Unfortunately, it's not over yet. 

Affordable Care Act - REPEAL WITHOUT REPLACE

For months we’ve seen Congress introduce ACA reform bills that would take healthcare from hundreds of thousands in Arizona, cause tens of thousands to lose their jobs and threaten our state’s entire healthcare system. 

The latest proposal introduced by Senators Graham and Cassidy appears to be losing momentum, due in part to opposition by Senator John McCain, who has criticized the lack of transparency in the process. In Arizona, Graham-Cassidy is expected to reduce healthcare funding by $1.7 billion in 2020, eliminate Medicaid expansion for low-income adults, make insurance more expensive and remove protections requiring coverage for pre-existing conditions. 

Unfortunately, and inexplicably, Governor Ducey expressed strong support for the bill, even before the impact to Arizona's healthcare system and economy was known. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “beginning in 2027, Cassidy-Graham would be virtually identical to a repeal-without-replace bill" due to the phase out of all federal Medicaid funding.


Children’s Health Insurance Program - KidsCare AT RISK

She_can't_achieve_her_dreams_if_she's_not_healthy_(5).jpgFunding for the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), called “KidsCare” in Arizona, must be reauthorized by Congress before it expires on September 30. KidsCare offers health coverage for children of low-income families who are working and earning too much to qualify for Medicaid coverage, but whose income is too low to afford insurance through marketplace exchanges. KidsCare is a proven, cost-effective program that incentivizes parents to work, while allowing their children access to healthcare during their critical childhood years. 

If the program is reauthorized, but with reduced funding, KidsCare still faces grave threats. During the 2018 budget process, there was a last-minute provision added that will freeze enrollment in our KidsCare program if federal funding levels drop. Families who earn enough will move out of the program, and no new families will be able to sign up. Arizona has been down this misguided path before; beginning in 2009, enrollment was frozen for five years, and Arizona became the third worst state for uninsured children in the nation.  

Along with a bipartisan coalition of State Representatives, I am urging our congressional delegation to reauthorize funding at current levels. Without reauthorization, federal funding for KidsCare will end, and over 23,000 Arizona children will lose their healthcare. 


WHAT TO DO?

Contact Senators Flake and McCain:

  1. Thank Senator John McCain for his stated opposition to Graham-Cassidy (602) 952-2410
  2. Ask Senator Jeff Flake to oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill and vote NO if it comes to a vote  (602) 840-1891
  3. Ask them BOTH to seek reauthorization of full funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program before the Sept. 30 deadline

Contact Governor Ducey:

  1. Remind Governor Ducey that Graham-Cassidy will take healthcare from thousands and cause serious harm to our economy and healthcare system;
  2. Ask him to advocate for Arizona children by seeking reauthorization of full funding for CHIP/KidsCare  
  3. Governor Doug Ducey: (602) 542-4331 or (520) 628-6580

We need this rollercoaster to end. I will continue to work for reforms that protect healthcare while improving access and affordability of care.  
Please join me at my next Coffee and Conversation, Saturday, October 7 from 9:30-11am at the Mesquite Library, 4525 Paradise Village Pkwy N, Phoenix, AZ 85032. Christine Marsh, State Senate candidate and 2016 Arizona Teacher of the Year will be my guest. Click here to RSVP.

Thank you,
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Kelli Butler
State Representative, District 28
(602) 926-5156
kbutler@azleg.gov

It's a waiting game

Whatever happens with healthcare deliberations in Washington, we know there will be serious, dangerous implications for Arizona.
 
Yes, the current Affordable Care Act needs modifications. We all want reforms, including more affordable premium costs and more choices in the insurance marketplace. But surely we don’t want to return to the day when insurers denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, set lifetime limits, and kicked children off parents’ insurance too soon.   

In Arizona, one out of five, or nearly two million people, are covered by Medicaid. Our system works well and is praised as a national model of efficiency. However, the proposed federal cuts to Medicaid would shift payment responsibility, and massive financial risk, to the states. As a member of the House Health Committee, I know the proposed measures will undermine our current healthcare system, damage our economy and gamble with the health of millions of people, including children and seniors.

It is summer, I know. There are many distractions, both here and in Washington. But this is so important and we need to be paying attention.  Here’s what you can do to help:

Call both Sen. McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake; tell them to support healthcare proposals that provide affordable coverage for more, not fewer Arizonans:

Sen. McCain:  (202) 224-2235 or (602) 952-2410
Sen. Flake:  (202) 224-4521 or (602) 840-1891

And if you’re in town, stop by for Coffee and Conversation this Saturday, July 29, from 9-10 am at the Devonshire Senior Center, located at 2802 E. Devonshire Avenue, Phoenix.  Christine Marsh, who has announced her candidacy for LD28 State Senate, will join me.  

Thank you for your support!  

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Four weeks. Two committees. One thousand bills.

Four weeks.  Two committees.  One thousand bills.

Although the workload is demanding, I am invigorated by my work as your state representative.  I serve on both the House Banking and Insurance Committee and the House Health Committee, and I am pleased that my first bill, HB2422, has been assigned to the House Health Committee.  If enacted, this bill would provide pregnant women on AHCCCS with dental care, improving both the health of the mother and her unborn child.  In fact, the Arizona Republic's Editorial board recently wrote about my efforts to promote oral health.

I am also working with members of my Democratic caucus on a series of bills that would reallocate and prioritize spending to provide a 4 percent raise for teachers statewide in 2018.  Although we have seen little work on the Governor’s budget proposal, we know that his promised raise for teachers of 2 percent over five years is horribly inadequate.  Worse, Republican legislators have introduced bills that could expand vouchers and eliminate $211 million in desegregation funding, taking even more money from our public schools.  Scottsdale Unified would lose over $7 million with the loss of desegregation funds.  

I remain determined to do what I can to raise awareness of the needs of our public schools.  My first commitment as a legislator is the restoration of funds to public education.  That is why I ran for office.  There are ongoing opportunities to discuss our priorities as a state and these discussions will become increasingly important when we begin the budget approval process.  I will always speak up on behalf of Arizona’s teachers and students and I hope you will, too.  Here’s how you can help:

•  Contact your state legislators and ask them to vote against any expansion of the Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (vouchers) and any reduction in desegregation funding. 

•  Plan now to attend my Constituent Coffee on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 9:30-11am to discuss how we can all be most effective in influencing the decisions made at the Capitol.  Bring your neighbors and friends.  We will gather at the North Mountain Brewing Company at 522 E. Dunlap.  

Thank you as always for your support.  It means a great deal to me.  Please contact me with any questions or for more information on a particular bill or issue.  

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Kelli Butler

State Representative, Legislative District 28

What's this Single Shot thing anyway?


Early voting began this morning! Ballots are being mailed and early voting centers across the state are open!

We have come so far in the past year! For months now I have been knocking doors, introducing myself and my vision for Arizona, and talking with voters about the issues important to us all. 

This isn’t about me though, it’s about all of us - all of you. I am so humbled and inspired to see hundreds of volunteers, giving thousands of hours, knocking tens of thousands of doors, to help elect me to the State House. The faith and trust you’ve placed in me motivates me every day. We’re not done yet! The next phase is the most critical to our victory in November.

As voting begins, I want to stress the importance of the Single Shot Strategy for my House race. 

In Arizona, two representatives serve each legislative district. By choosing to vote only for me, and not using your second vote, it helps your vote go farther. The Single Shot Strategy has proven effective in allowing us to overcome the Democratic voter registration deficit in the past. It enables us to virtually ensure that at least one Democrat is elected to the State House — the only way the moderate values of our district are represented in a balanced way.

Please share the Single Shot Strategy with others, as it is vital to my campaign’s success.

If you vote by mail, please look for your ballot in the coming days.
If you’re voting in person at an Early Voting Center, click here to find locations.

As we enter the home stretch, I want to thank you for your continued support and invite you to get involved! This is a historic election for our state and your efforts these last 27 days will help us return to a balanced legislature, where good ideas from both sides of the aisle are given a fair shot at consideration.

Thank you and Happy Voting!

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Kelli Butler