Being a small business owner can be tough. It’s often a balancing act between managing vendors, employees and customers, while staying on top of technology, accounting and growing revenue to stay prosperous. All of these time and attention demands leave little time to even consider what type of policies will help foster business growth.
Republican Rep. Heather Carter who represents north Phoenix-based Legislative District 15, recently shared insight into her political career, discussed the importance of education, health care and workforce development, and provided tips on how small businesses can effectively engage with state lawmakers.
She understands how a vibrant business environment, a top-quality education and health care system impact families, the economy and Arizona as a whole.
“Nothing prepared me for the Legislature than being a middle-school teacher,” Carter said. “And I continue to draw on my professional experience to help make me a strong legislator, for not only the citizens of District 15, but also for the entire state of Arizona.”
While Carter focuses most of her work at the Capitol on health care and education, the work that she does at the Capitol is really two entirely different worlds, she says.
“The skills, experiences and abilities that make me an effective politician, are not the same skills, abilities and experience that make me an effective policymaker,” Carter said. “To be truly effective, elected officials have to be able to navigate the politics world well while simultaneously navigating the policy world successfully.”
“Looking back to some of the big health care decisions we made last year, we were able reinstitute Kids Care, which was at no cost to the state because of the federal matching dollars,” Carter said. “I’m really proud of that.”
Carter also worked on streamlining licensing to attract and retain physicians to the state of Arizona.
“The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact offers an expedited pathway for qualified doctors who wish to practice in multiple states, increasing access to health care for patients in under-served areas,” Carter said.
Breaking down that bureaucracy and making it easier for physicians to practice here is a big game changer for Arizona, she says.
Carter also shared her passion for workforce development and discussed how growing the physician and health care talent pipeline is a critical focus area to create a stronger health policy for Arizona.
“We have a physician and health care worker shortage in terms of the entire talent pipeline,” Carter said. “It’s great that the Greater Phoenix Chamber convenes and leads many conversations around workforce development in the health care industry. Those are high-paying, high-quality jobs that add to the infrastructure of the state. We really need to address this issue around workforce development.”
A majority of the work she’ll focus on this year involves education.
“We have a crisis…and I use that word deliberately…in our workforce pipeline,” Carter said. “If we want to make sure that Arizona has high-quality education, the first step to that is to make sure is that you have an incredible teacher in front of the classroom and you have an incredible principal leading your schools, and you have an incredible superintendent leading the school system.”
Carter’s focused on looking at the education system as an entire pipeline, from early childhood education all the way to the university system.
“I’ll be introducing legislation that will address the K-12 issue,” Carter said. “I’m very interested in the new university proposal that Gov. Ducey put forward around creating a financing mechanism to take care of some of our capital needs.”
Carter’s dedication to the community and her constituents was apparent as she discussed how small business owners can most effectively engage with state lawmakers.
“As a taxpayer and a voter, find out who your representative is in your district is and reach out,” Carter said. “As small business owners, help your customers and other business owners make those connections to legislators. That’s how you can make the biggest impact.”
Carter clearly favors making government more efficient and reducing bureaucracy. She encouraged residents and business owners to visit RedTape.AZ.Gov, Gov. Ducey’s new program aimed at freeing Arizona’s businesses from the burden of harmful and outdated regulations standing in the way of economic growth and job creation.
“This new online service empowers Arizonans to make recommendations about how to update our state’s regulatory system,” Carter said. “There’s certainly a lot of red tape that can be cut.”
– Written by Jill A. Brownley, marketing and communications director, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.