U.S. House, District 5: Joan Greene faults COVID-19 response, touts health care as economic key

Joan Greene, a Democrat running for U.S House of Representatives in District 5, said rebuilding the economy and expanding access to health care are the greatest issues facing Arizona. (Photo courtesy of Joan Greene campaign)

Candidate name: Joan Green
Political affiliation: Democrat
Position sought: U.S. House of Representatives, District 5
City of residence: Phoenix
Age: 59
Career: Entrepreneur and founder of Greene and Associates

With the election just days away, Cronkite News is profiling candidates on the Nov. 3 ballot.

How would you rate Arizona’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

“Their response rate has been poor,” Greene said of Republican elected officials. “It rates from poor to criminal.”

Greene stated that elected officials are aware of how to slow the spread of COVID-19 and have chosen not to. She criticized incumbent Rep. Andy Biggs’ track record of discouraging the use of masks, voting against COVID-19 stimulus relief funds and his support of treatments not sanctioned by the medical community.

“We the people should be able to rely on our elected officials to tell us the truth because when we are told the truth, we can then prepare,” Greene said.

If elected, what steps would you take to mitigate the impact of this disease?

Greene underscored the importance of relying on truth, science and data to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

“The truth goes with the experts the health experts who actually specialize in this,” she said.

For Greene, mitigating COVID-19 is “about being accountable and accessible so the people understand what’s happening, so they have somebody they can call on.”

Do you have concerns regarding the security of our election?

She said she trusts county recorders and voting in Arizona because of measures taken to safeguard votes.

“I feel confident with this particular recorder,” she said, referring to Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes.

How could race relations be improved in Arizona?

Race relations are “a top-down problem and we need to clean house and we need to start from the ground up,” she said.

To improve race relations, the steps Greene would take include investigating complaints of racial discrimination and making it easier to curb racial discrimination in the workplace.

In the past, Greene said, more police training was the answer, but now that’s not enough: “There’s a certain point where you can no longer say ‘training.'”

Police should take initiative to become part of the communities they are serving by walking through them, she said.

“When you know the people, you’re less inclined to take action against them versus talking to them because you’re part of the community now.”

Greene also calls for diversity in community involvement so that more people of color can participate in government.

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What is the greatest issue Arizona residents face, and how would you address it?

Rebuilding the economy and expanded access to affordable health care are the greatest issues, Greene said.

Health care insurance should not be reliant on a job, she said, and jobs should pay a livable wage.

“I don’t think they need to be divided,” she said. “If we have a poor economy, we don’t have good health care. If we don’t have good health care, we don’t have a good economy.”

What other issues are important to you and your campaign?

Her campaign is guided by such values as common sense and compassion. Combating corruption in politics is an important issue, as is bringing the community together.

“We’ve missed all of that. We’ve missed bringing our community together. We’ve missed putting country before party,” she said.

Greene emphasized that voters should not focus on the letter when casting their ballot.

“I’m not saying just one is bad – or the other. It’s about building a community – together,” she stated.

What in your past work, political or volunteer experience makes you a better candidate to hold this office?

Greene said her lack of political experience is what makes her the better candidate, emphasizing that she’s free from the influence of a political agenda. She discussed her business experience as an additional asset to her candidacy.

“I know what it takes with our small business owners that are struggling right now,” she said. “When I started my business, I only had $500. Nobody gave me a million dollars to start off, and that’s just like everybody else.”

In addition, she said, being a part of the community makes her a better choice than her opponent. A second business she started about six years ago supports animal rescue organizations. She also highlighted her time spent as a volunteer at a food bank in Mesa and visits to veterans centers.

“I’m not hiding behind anybody. I’m actually putting my feet on the ground to find out how we can be a better community member.”

What is a personal challenge you feel you need to overcome?

Time management.

“I’m going to be here in the background: helping, providing solutions, fighting for you,” she said. “And so for me, that’s why I don’t have enough time in the day; because I want to make sure that I’m not going to leave anything on the table – that they know that I’m fighting so hard for them.”

Please share a quote or advice that you live by

Greene quoted Dr. Seuss as inspiration, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better. It’s not.”

Additionally, she chose words from William Wilberforce, a British politician: “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say that you did not know.”

“How do we fix it?” Greene asked. “How do we do it and use caring and compassion and being that person that steps up?”

Campaign website: www.joangreeneaz.com.