Investing in our children’s education not only benefits the individual child and families, but also is an investment in our state and country’s economic future. As both a parent and a grandparent, Tom knows our children’s education is one of the most important parts of their lives, and that we all want to see our kids have a better future. Education is the most critical factor for future wage earning and being able to provide for their future families. A solid education creates responsible and engaged citizens. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education is important for a knowledge-based economy. And we must remember the importance of vocational training. After decades of schools falling farther behind other countries, it is time to make education a priority again for our children in America and Arizona.
While in the legislature, Tom led a bipartisan group that passed all-day kindergarten and made substantial investments in all levels of our schools, including research facilities at our three state universities that have been an economic driver and created good-paying jobs. Due in part to O'Halleran's efforts, Arizona has, in recent years, become a leader in technological innovation throughout the country.
Among other education initiatives, Tom has fought for funding teacher salaries and to retain soft capital (money that goes toward books and computers). He worked to maintain funding for new schools and school maintenance, which helped local property tax payers not pay as high a rate as they otherwise would to maintain their schools. In the House of Representatives, he is a member of the Congressional Pre-K Caucus, and has fought for more substanstial funding to address crumbling, chronically underfunded Bureau of Indian Education schools across Arizona's First District.