State Representative Maria Syms has called Arizona her home for more than 16 years. The mother of three young children, she cares deeply about making Arizona better for current and future generations.
Her career as an Assistant Attorney General, Assistant United States Attorney, Paradise Valley Town Councilwoman, and now a State Representative, demonstrates her hard work and advocacy for opportunities that will make Arizona a leader in job growth, education and security for our families now and in the future.
Syms currently serves on the Commerce, Health and Public/Safety Judiciary Committees and her legislative focus is on growing our Arizona economy, increasing educational opportunities for all Arizona children and protecting our most vulnerable. She is a strong fiscal conservative who is an advocate for hardworking Arizona taxpayers and supports a pro-growth business agenda.
As a first term legislator, Syms hit the ground running, introducing bills the Governor signed into law that will help victims of sexual abuse and assault, lower prescription drug costs for hardworking Arizonans, provide support to veterans seeking to transition to the civilian workforce, and protect small businesses from predatory lawyers pursuing frivolous lawsuits, to name a few.
She is also one of the strongest Republican advocates for increased funding for public school education and voted for a 20% raise for teachers over the next two years as part of a historic $1.5 billion investment in education.
Syms is very proud of her work on behalf of our most vulnerable. Her signature legislation that requires testing of the backlog of over 6,000 rape kits gives dignity and justice to women and makes our communities safer. Through her efforts with law enforcement and multiple stakeholders, Arizona is clearing the backlog and prosecuting cold cases.
Syms also continues to push for state legislation and policies to promote small business and job growth, encourage the free market and keep more money in the pockets of hardworking Arizona families. She consistently stands against government "tax because we can" policies and wasteful spending.
Syms encourages more transparency and accountability in how elected representatives spend your money. She has a widely held reputation as a strong fiscal conservative and friend of the taxpayer. Syms is proud of her recent success in enacting legislation that lowers prescription drug costs for consumers by creating pricing transparency.
As a mom, she is especially passionate about improving the quality of public school education. The daughter of an Italian immigrant, Syms personally understands that a good education is the great equalizer in our country and is the key to opportunity for our next generation. Having served on a local school board and as a mother of young children, she is personally committed to maximizing the resources in Arizona classrooms so that educators and students have the best opportunity to succeed.
Syms voted for the expansion tax credits for public school lunch and health programs as well as funding for gifted education programs. In addition, as a former preschool board member, Syms understands future academic success is directly linked to early opportunity. That is why she supports First Things First early childhood development programs and full day kindergarten.
Syms has successfully pushed for teacher salary raises and more funding for full day kindergarten for children most in need.
A dedicated public servant, Syms recognizes that economic and educational opportunities have little value without the peace of mind that comes with a safe and secure community. Throughout her career, she has been a champion of public safety, victims' rights and defending the most vulnerable both at the state and local level.
As an Assistant Attorney General, Syms worked with Arizona sheriffs on border security, drug smuggling and human trafficking. She continues to be one of the strongest voices for law enforcement in the legislature.
Syms was raised in a small town on Long Island and learned much of her work ethic and values growing up in her family's barber shop – the hub of community activity. Her father grew up in post-war poverty in Italy and came to this country to achieve his American dream. Her mother was a dedicated teacher, who taught her the value of education in helping others and improving the community.
Syms graduated from Smith College and American University law school in Washington, D.C., and she served as a Staff Attorney and Law Clerk to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit where she had the opportunity to work for now Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, along with other fine jurists.
In her early years of private legal practice, she represented clients ranging from small businesses to multinational corporations.
Syms also served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Justice Department, Adjunct Professor of Law at ASU Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law, and holds a Master in Public Administration from Harvard.
Syms has been married for 18 years to physician Mark Syms, who inspires her with his lifelong commitment to healing others. They love and adore their three smart, dynamic and fun children, Matthew, Meredith and Marinna along with their dog Maizie.