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District 16 - Polytechnic area

Legislative District 16 includes ASU's Polytechnic campus, making its races something for Poly students to watch


The Arizona State 16th District, which includes parts of Mesa and Gilbert, Arizona, will be voting for one state Senator and two state House Representatives. Here are the stances of the candidates on important issues in Arizona: 

District 16 State Senate 

David "Dave" Farnsworth (Republican)

Farnsworth has served in his current position as state senator for the 16th Legislative District since his appointment on Sept. 11, 2013.

Farnsworth is the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and currently serves as a member on the Government Committee and Commerce and Public Safety Committee. 

In the August 2018 primary, Farnsworth earned a little more than 75 percent of the reported votes over retired Army Chief Warrant Officer Michael Hernandez to earn the Republican nomination for the District 16 State Senate seat. 

David Farnsworth has described himself as an entrepreneur, having owned Farnsworth Auto Sales, Farnsworth Auto Recycling and Farnsworth Distributing. He is currently the owner of Farnsworth and Associates, a real estate investment agency. 

Farnsworth is also a member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, and holds what he refers to as Conservative Republican views.

Immigration: David Farnsworth said he is committed to protecting Arizona’s border with Mexico. 

Education: Farnsworth said he is in favor of school choice and feels that parents should have the ability to choose the type education they want for their children. 

Reproductive Rights: Farnsworth is pro-life and wants to "defend the right to life and protect the unborn who cannot protect themselves." 

Healthcare: Farnsworth lists Obamacare as an example of an expensive program that he feels threatens children’s prosperity. 

Economic Policy: Farnsworth frequently cites his experience as an entrepreneur when referring to his policy of eliminating unnecessary taxes and burdensome regulations. He said he is in support of a free market and no increase in taxes. 

Gun Control: Farnsworth said he supports the Second Amendment. He has received an 'A' rating from the NRA, marking him as a pro-gun candidate. Farnsworth often sides with the NRA on key votes. 

Benjamin "Ben" Carmitchel (Democrat)


Benjamin Carmitchel, running for State Senate in District 16, poses for a photo.

Carmitchel is the CEO of the company Datarecovery.com, Inc., graduated with a degree in Electronics from Southern Illinois University and is certified to teach in the state of Arizona. He said his years of working as a substitute teacher in schools across the state is the reason why his platform is heavily focused on education reform. 

Throughout his campaign, Carmitchel has claimed to have refused money from any and all PACs, instead funding his campaign through individual donations. He ran unopposed in the primary to receive the democratic nomination.

Education: Carmitchel is against the expansion of school vouchers and Proposition 305. He wants to pay teachers a fair wage and said he wants to fund public schools through "permanent revenue allocations" instead of raising taxes.

Economy: Carmitchel opposes Proposition 126, which would prevent the creation of new taxes on services, and wishes to invest in green, modern infrastructure which he also claims will create jobs in Arizona. 

Carmitchel also said that big corporations should be paying more taxes to avoid increasing taxes on small businesses. 

Gun Control: Carmitchel has received a 'C' rating from the NRA, meaning that he has a mixed record when it comes to voting on gun related issues and it is possible that he may support some restrictive action.

District 16 State House of Representative

Two seats are open for State the District 16 House seat.

Kelly Townsend (Republican)


Rep. Kelly Townsend, currently representing District 16, is running for reelection.

Townsend was first elected in 2012, and has been serving in her position since. Currently, she is the Majority Whip in the Arizona State House of Representatives, and serves as a member on the Rules Committee. She earned just over 33 percent of the votes in the primary, the most of the five republican candidates.

Townsend served in the Navy as an Aviation Structural Mechanic for four years. After, she worked in healthcare as a birth doula, supporting mothers through their pregnancy and postpartum adjustment. She graduated from ASU with a BA in human communications and a Master’s degree in infant and family practice. 

Immigration: Townsend is in favor of a strong border. 

Reproductive Rights: Townsend is pro-life. 

Economy: Townsend said she wants to protect small businesses and promote more jobs and an improved economy. She describes herself as fiscally conservative. 

Gun Control: Townsend has been endorsed by the NRA and received an "A+" rating from them, meaning she has an voting record that aligns with the NRA’s policies and has been vocal about her support and defense of the Second Amendment. 

Sharon Stinard (Democrat)

Sharon Stinard ran for the position of State District 16 Representative in 2016, but lost in the General Election to Republicans Townsend and Doug Coleman. She has a degree in business education from Minot State University, a Master’s degree in counseling from the University of Dayton, and worked at Kent State University in vocational education. Stinard taught in the classroom for 22 years and worked on the staff at Central Arizona College for 20 years. 

Her campaign is centered around the Rotary Club motto of "service above self" and her desire to improve Arizona’s public education. 

Education: Stinard is opposed to Proposition 305, and said that both for-profit and non-profit charter schools should be held to the same requirements of transparency and accountability that public schools are. Stinard wants to fund education, but without raising taxes. 

Reproductive Rights: Stinard said she will fight for women’s healthcare, maternity care and birth control coverage.

Healthcare: Stinard believes in universal access to affordable and quality healthcare. She aims for coverage of mental health care, preventive care and pre-existing conditions.

John Fillmore (Republican)

John Fillmore served in the Arizona State House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013, representing the 23rd District. During this time, he served as a member on the Appropriations Committee, the Education Committee, the Sub Appropriations on Multi-Year Budgeting Committee and as Vice-Chairman on the Employment and Regulatory Affairs Committee. 

Since then, he has run for State Representative in the 16th District in both 2014 and 2016, both times losing in the primary. 

This election, he emerged from the primary with over 22 percent of the republican vote.

Fillmore was the founder and owner of Weather Shacks in Mesa, as well as an active real estate broker in Arizona and Utah. His beliefs center around providing jobs and paying people fair wages while reducing government entitlement programs. 

Immigration: Fillmore wants stronger border protections and feels that the government is encouraging illegal immigration through its acceptance of illegal immigrants.

Education: Fillmore is against federal standards for education such as Common Core. He also said that college students are overburdened by tuition and should be able to graduate without incredible debts. 

Reproductive Rights: Fillmore is pro-life. 

Healthcare: According to Ballotpedia,  Fillmore opposed Obamacare in 2014, saying it is overly expensive and has not produced results. Fillmore prefers the private marketplace. 

Gun Control: Fillmore said people should be able to defend themselves with firearms. He has a rating of "AQ" from the NRA, meaning that while he does not have a voting record to show his stance on gun regulation, his response to the NRA questionnaire shows a pro-gun stance. 

LGBT+ Issues: Fillmore said that his stance is mainly that what people do in their private lives is up to them, but is against the "glorification" of LGBT+ identites. Fillmore has also stated that bathrooms in Arizona should be gender specific, according to Ballotpedia.

Richard Grayson (Green Party)

Despite never holding public office, Richard Grayson has run in multiple races on multiple platforms. In 2012, he ran as a write-in Americans Elect candidate to represent Arizona’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he only received 1 percent of votes in the general election. 

Information on his campaign comes from Vote 411 and Ballotpedia.

Immigration: Grayson has expressed the desire to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and to give Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients a path toward citizenship. He also supports granting amnesty to undocumented immigrants who have resided in the U.S. for an extended amount of time and have been otherwise law-abiding. Ultimately, Grayson wants to encourage immigration to the U.S. 

Education: Grayson wants to raise funds for public K-12 schools through taxes on the wealthy and corporations. He also calls for task forces of legislators to monitor school overcrowding, which he said disproportionately impacts minority students. 

Economy: Grayson said there should be a guaranteed income for those whose overall household income falls below a "livable level."

Gun Control: Grayson wants Arizona to adopted similar gun legislation that is similar to states with the low amounts of gun violence. He wants to strictly regulate gun ownership, including the number of guns and amount of ammunition one can own, and to ban concealed carry. 


 Reach the reporter at krquaran@asu.edu and follow @kiaraquaranta on Twitter. 

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