The common thread in Jacque Steiner’s volunteer and professional work was her selfless passion for making a difference in children’s lives. She was instrumental in many legislative, budgetary and operational advancements for Arizona’s children, tackling such complex issues as child abuse and neglect, foster care, adolescent issues, juvenile justice reform and overall budget and policy issues in the children and family service delivery system.
Jacque began her 49 years in Phoenix as an English teacher for the Phoenix Union High School District from 1952-1956, after which she served as President of the Junior League from 1969-1970. In the seventies, Jacque began to expand her service by volunteering with the mentally handicapped, serving on the board of Directors of the Valley of the Sun United Way and serving as Vice Chair of the 4 C’s Committee, an advisory committee to the Governor examining child care issues. To further promote her cause, Jacque became an Arizona State Representative from 1976-1980, after which she became an Arizona State Senator from 1981-1990. During her time in the legislature, Jacque chaired the House Resources Committee and the Senate Commerce and Labor and Education Committees. While in the Senate, she also served as a member of the Judiciary, Appropriations and Rules Committees.
In 1988, Steiner co-founded the Children’s Action Alliance, a non-profit research, education and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting the well-being of Arizona’s children and families. She served on the CAA Board from 1988 to 2003 where her leadership and long-term vision allowed CAA to become an important community voice for children in the state. The organization continues to advocate for children’s health, early care and education, child abuse and neglect, family income and tax reform for families. In her honor, the CAA created the Jacque Steiner Public Leadership Award for Children, to be awarded annually to public officials who have improved the lives and life chances of Arizona’s children.
Steiner also served on the Board of Directors of Girl Scouts—Arizona Cactus-Pine Council from 1991 to 2003 and as President for seven years. She raised the stature of the organization in the community, giving generously of her philanthropic resources and engaging in the challenging, grassroots work necessary to seek input from 26,000 girls and 8,600 adult volunteers in a jurisdiction encompassing two thirds of Arizona. Jacque’s Girl Scout service touched the lives of thousands of girls, building their leadership, self-confidence and social skills to avoid the damaged lives she witnessed through her work in the state legislature.
She received over fifteen recognitions and awards including the Valley Leadership Woman of the Year Award, Children’s Action Alliance Horace Steel Child Advocacy Award and the National Association of Child Advocates Volunteer Child Advocate Award. One her colleagues said of her “it was due to Jacque’s tireless efforts on behalf of Arizona’s abused, neglected and ‘throwaway’ kids (who have no voice) that critical public policy changes have taken place…This labor of love has resulted in profound changes in the lives and life chances of thousands of Arizona’s children whose lives have been significantly influenced by her.”