BY LINDA BENTLEY | AUGUST 4, 2010
Heather Carter, a Democrat in disguise?
Supported Prop 100 tax increase because her job depends on it
CAVE CREEK – Cave Creek Support Our Students (CCSOS), which appears to be an unregistered political action committee (PAC) by calling itself a “political advisory council,” states on its website that it may select and support candidates if the council is unanimous.
To determine who they might support, they sent a lengthy questionnaire to all the candidates running in Legislative Districts 7 and 8.
Heather Carter, virtually unknown to Republicans in Legislative District 7, until she decided to run for office, responded.
Carter has an 8-year-old daughter who is a third-grade open enrollment student at Lone Mountain Elementary School (LMES) in the Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD), although they live in the Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD).
Responding to the questionnaire, Carter listed her credentials as: “Ed.D. in Educational Leadership M.Ed in Educational Technology Post-Bac Teaching Certification (secondary English/social studies and computers) BS in Communication – Rhetoric.”
CCSOS asked, “Do you feel that you are an advocate for public education in Arizona?” and requested specific examples of what she will do or has done to demonstrate her level of support for public education in Arizona.
Carter replied, “ABSOLUTELY! My entire professional life is dedicated to education in Arizona. I am a former seventh grade teacher in the Paradise Valley Unified School District. I am currently a Clinical Associate Professor at ASU in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. I prepare teachers and leaders for Arizona schools. I am also on the Leadership Team at the College. I am Director of Community Engagement and Special Projects. I am also on the CCUSD Superintendent’s Advisory Committee. I serve on the Lone Mountain Elementary School Site Council. I also worked very closely with the Paradise Valley Unified School District in helping them set up their Professional Development School. The list goes on and on related to my work at ASU as well.”
CCUSD taxpayers may want to question why Carter, a DVUSD resident, is serving on CCUSD Superintendent Debbi Burdick’s Advisory Committee and on the LMES Site Council.
The next question asked, “Will you work to protect public education from any further budget cuts?”
Carter responded, “Absolutely. That’s why I’m running for this office.”
Six of her 20 responses, which mostly had to do with public school funding, either directly or indirectly, began with “Absolutely” with varying degrees of punctuation and emphasis.
When Arizona Capitol Times asked candidates whether they supported or opposed the Proposition 100 sales tax increase, David Smith, a Republican candidate also running for the House in LD 7, was clear, concise and to the point with his answer: “Oppose. The state is in a recession and raising taxes hurts the recovery.”
Carter responded, “As for Prop. 100, that single vote inspired me to fast-track my goal of running for office. I was planning on doing this a few years from now, and I believe if I don’t get involved immediately, things are going to deteriorate for my own daughter and I can’t let that happen. I felt compelled to get involved now, not later. As a Republican educator, I had a very difficult decision to make. On first glance, I was against Prop. 100, but then I researched the issue and determined that we needed this ‘band aid’ fix immediately. I know what would have happened if we hadn’t passed that, both from a University and K-12 perspective. So, rather than just vote ‘yes’ and let the status quo continue to spend more than we have, which is what got us into this place in the first place, I decided I could not in good conscious (sic) vote ‘yes’ without running for office and bringing a fiscally conservative perspective to the legislature and a deep understanding of Arizona education. The majority of Arizona voters supported this temporary sales tax.”
Carter was much more succinct about Prop. 100 when she spoke at the April 13, 2010 CCUSD governing board meeting in support of closing Desert Arroyo Middle School. She said the sales tax election was a completely separate issue, stating, “My job depends on it.”
She also said, “If it does pass and we closed a middle school, we have a lot of money to do great things with.”
During the same school board meeting, Carter trotted her open enrollment third-grader up to the microphone to support the closure of Desert Arroyo Middle School.
Jaycee Carter said, “If you don’t close DAMS, students will lose Art, PE and Music,” which she said were her favorite classes. She urged the board to “make the right decision.”
Carter also spoke in favor of closing DAMS at the March 9 CCUSD governing board meeting. She stated she chose CCUSD for her daughter’s “elementary experience” and said, “If we have to cut programs at the elementary to keep DAMS open, I am completely against cutting programs.”
As a non-taxpaying open enrollment student’s parent, Carter has the option of enrolling her daughter in her own school district, DVUSD.
It’s also not clear why CCUSD Superintendent Debbi Burdick would allow any non-district parent to serve on her advisory council or on the LMES site council.
Considering Carter’s entire professional life has been dedicated to education, in addition to her Capitol Times gaff, using the word “conscious” instead of “conscience,” Carter’s use of the word “capital” when referring to the state capitol in an Arizona Republic piece did not go unnoticed by those posting comments.
Then, one of her mailers proclaimed: “Strong Arizona through strong schools and a stong (sic) economy.”
Nonetheless, Carter is backed by the Arizona Education Association (AEA), the teachers union.
The AEA’s Legislative Platform Purpose and Philosophy states, “The Association’s goal is to fulfill the promise of a democratic society by promoting the cause of quality public education, advancing the education profession, expanding the right and furthering the interests of education employees, and advocating human, civil, and economic rights for all.”
Carter, who is said to have received over $20,000 from the AEA immediately after her last campaign finance report was submitted, was making robocalls the day after early ballots were delivered, urging people to vote for her.
She won’t have to reveal the source of her campaign blitz’s funding until after most voters have cast their ballots, as the pre-primary campaign finance reports are not due until Aug. 12.
Despite a resume that’s mum on credentials not associated with public education, Carter claims to be an “entrepreneur” on her mailer, which also states, “The only candidate with firsthand experience in and knowledge of where to save taxpayer dollars.”
Despite the fact that education makes up more than 50 percent of the state’s budget, Carter has vowed not to cut education spending.
Although Carter says she has a plan, she never gets around to saying what it entails.
Carter is what several LD 7 Republicans and Tea Party activists have called a Democrat in disguise, or DID; a union-backed Trojan horse for the education community that will vote to keep taxes high, while continuing to produce poor results with minimal accountability.