Eight candidates running for the Arizona House demonstrated big differences in their vision for Arizona at a Monday forum.
Not eight different visions, however. Rather, two visions emerged — one Republican, one Democrat.
The candidates largely toed party lines in the Tribunesponsored forum for Legislative District 17, differing slightly on issues such as immigration and education.
A few distinctions were offered by the four Democratic candidates in the district that covers Tempe and south Scottsdale.
While others listed several major issues they’d address, David Shapira said his platform has one priority: Education. The former high school teacher called for more school spending, adding that he once taught a class of 36 students in a room with 35 desks.
In the Republican debate, the four candidates supported funding for Arizona State University campuses outside Tempe. However, Dan Gransinger opposed spending on liberal arts colleges that he said give students degrees that won’t get them jobs.
Candidate Dale DeSpain said he’d like to address paid signature gathering to put initiatives on the ballot. Incumbent Rep. Laura Knaperek, R-Tempe, said she was against changes because they could bring unintended consequences.
• Democrat Sen. Ed Ablesser and Republican Chris DeRose called for Arizona to be a leader in desalinization technology by building such a plant to meet future water needs.
• The Republicans favored more abortion restrictions, much like South Dakota has done by banning the procedure in almost every circumstance.
• In a discussion of water needs, Democrat Angie Crouse criticized the state for repeatedly raiding a fund to preserve riparian areas.
• Democrat Rhett Wilson called for state money to help neighborhood crime watches do a better job.
Voters will choose two members of each party in the September primary.