Former Flagstaff City Councilmember and current Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans announced Saturday her intentions to run for one of the two seats representing Legislative District 6 in the Arizona House of Representatives.
Evans, who is a member of the Democratic Party, said she has been seriously considering running for the past six to nine months. But longer than that, Evans said she has watched the legislature in action, especially in regards to how state action has affected localities.
“There is a disconnect between our state representatives and local municipalities. We believe in self responsibility and personal responsibility but we also know that we are stronger together,” Evans said. “That is the Arizona I grew up in and the Arizona I see every day across northern Arizona. What I see down in the Capitol is not that.”
What she does see is legislatures putting political party and personal friendships before their constituents and solving issues, Evans said.
Evans specifically mentioned moments in which local action on the parts of cities across the state have been directly superseded, writing in a statement, “whether it be vacation rentals, plastic pollution or vaping regulations, whenever a corporation feels threatened by rural initiatives they run to their friends in Phoenix and politicians promptly pass a law taking away local power.”
And Evans said in her role in the Greater Arizona Mayor Association, she has heard similar sentiments from other mayors and residents of other cities and towns across northern Arizona.
Evens said she believes a lot of this disconnect is because many state representatives do not have experience in local government before they go to the Capitol and thus don’t understand the issues on the ground.
As such, Evans said one of her priorities is bringing the local perspective back to the Capitol and provide clarity to the legislature as to what the role of the state is versus the role of the local government.
Evans said other priorities are funding for education, water conservation, encouraging small businesses and better distributing transportation money to every part of the state.
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Looking at where most transportation dollars go, Evans said most of the money goes to Maricopa and Pima counties, and that is a problem.
On education, Evans said it is not acceptable that the state ranks near the bottom of school spending.
“I believe the majority of people in this district feel like I do,” Evans said.
Evans is a third-generation Arizonan who has served as vice president of Mission Services for Goodwill Industries of Northern Arizona and Executive Director of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association of Flagstaff, Inc.
In 2008, Evans became a city councilmember, and then became mayor of Flagstaff in 2016.
Evans will be competing for the two seats representing LD6 with Art Babbott, the current chair of the Coconino County Board of Supervisors, and incumbent Rep. Walt Blackman, R-Snowflake.
The one open seat is the result of Rep. Bob Thorpe terming out of his spot in the state House and deciding to run for a seat in the state Senate.
LD6 encompasses the cities of Flagstaff, Holbrook, Sedona and Payson and crosses over Coconino, Navajo, Yavapai and Gila counties.