White House visit gives E.V. lawmaker new inspiration
State Sen. David Schapira, D-Tempe, spent one afternoon last week at the White House with the Young Elected Officials Network.
The event gave Schapira, also a Tempe Union High School District board member, an opportunity to talk with President Barack Obama.
“I had a chance to talk to the president about education and the Arizona fires,” Schapira said via phone on June 17, the day of the meeting. “He expressed support for our folks in Arizona working hard to put out the flames. He mentioned he’s going to continue to do everything he can do to help us.”
Schapira spoke with the Tribune from the White House immediately following the event,
Schapira is the Arizona Senate minority leader and has been a member of the Young Elected Officials Network, a project of People For the American Way Foundation, since he was first elected in 2006 to the State House. He was 26 at that time, according to the Arizona State Senate’s Democratic Caucus website. Now 31, he is the youngest member of the State Senate.
Schapira is a former school teacher and a member of the Senate education committee. Regarding education, Schapira said he hopes to take what the president and others said back to Arizona to “fight on behalf of students and make sure we are working at a local level to make our schools the best they can be.”
He’s hoping to fend off more cuts to public education. Arizona cut aid to the universities by $198 million for the upcoming fiscal year, and sliced K-12 education by $183 million.
His visit to the White House, “reinvigorates me to go back home,” Schapira said, “and fight the good fight to make sure students are learning at the best of their ability.”