Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.
KINGMAN – State Rep. Gina Cobb received accolades from Mohave County Supervisors Monday for her work on the state budget and securing $100,000 in funding for a study on the Hualapai Basin aquifers, but took a shot from an audience member for voting against amendments to the #RedforEd education funding.
During call to the public for comments, state Senate candidate J’aime Morgaine followed up on comments by board Chairman Gary Watson that Cobb did the “heavy lifting” to get the budget passed.
“On #RedforEd, there was no heavy lifting done here in Mohave County,” Morgaine said, adding that Cobb voted against all five amendments in the education funding.
Morgaine also questioned Mohave County supervisors’ decision to pay $250,000 for 15 acres of land in the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District to gain legal standing in its fight against the transfer of water rights to the Central Arizona Project.
“All it takes is one straw to suck the aquifer dry,” she said. “We need to find other solutions than paying $250,000 for 15 acres.”
Given a chance for rebuttal, Cobb stepped to the podium and told the board the first thing she accomplished was getting the money for the water study. She also got $11.3 million shifted from juvenile detention back to the counties, along with lottery money and a few other items.
She voted for a 2.5 percent increase for hospital providers, including covering the extra cost for doctors at critical care units and reducing hospitals’ portion of paying for unfunded health care.
“We were really able to accomplish a lot more than in past sessions,” Cobb said.
The focus was on education, but there were other areas, she added.
“We’ve been working on this (budget) since early February, and if you look at what was approved, it’s very similar to what we had,” she said.
There were some areas of #RedforEd that did not set well with Cobb, like an amendment that would limit class size to 25 students.
“What do you do when you hit 25? Do you throw the rest of the kids out?” Cobb said in a follow-up interview with the Daily Miner.
Another amendment she didn’t like was not allowing any tax cuts until Arizona gets back to 2008 student spending levels.
“Again, how do you write an amendment for no tax cuts until we get to that point? Now you’re tying the hands of Legislators,” she said. “These are demands by #RedforEd, but you can’t demand these things. This has to be done by law.”
She also voted against an amendment that would remove a trigger that automatically freezes the number of kids enrolled in kids care if the federal government doesn’t fund the program at 100 percent.
In her finishing comments, Cobb supported the Board of Supervisors for buying the MVIDD property.
“We need to keep the assaults coming from all different directions,” Cobb said, adding that she has contacted the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to look into a conflict of interest between Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District and the Central Arizona Project.