Al Melvin

Submitted Photo

PHOENIX — Three-term state Sen. Al Melvin announced this afternoon he intends to run for governor this coming year.

The Republican who lives in the Saddlebrook community just north of the Pima-Pinal county line said his bid will focus on giving every school student a $9,000 voucher to attend any school, public or private, of the parent's choice. Melvin said he sees that choice as the only real solution to improving academic performance.

He also wants to enact limits on how much juries can award in civil lawsuits. But that move would require voter approval, something that has been repeatedly rejected.

Melvin joins what promises to be an increasingly crowded field for the GOP nomination.

Secretary of State Ken Bennett and Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman already have exploratory committees. And Wil Cardon also is looking at a bid.

All that presumes that there will be an open seat in 2014. Incumbent Gov. Jan Brewer has refused to rule out a bid for what would amount to be a third term, saying there is reason to believe that her first two years do not count because she was completing the term of Janet Napolitano who quit.

But Melvin said he intends to run regardless of Brewer's decision, taking a slap at her for pushing to expand the state's Medicaid program.

Melvin acknowledged he is not a household name. But he said he can make up for that by running as a publicly funded candidate which requires him to get just 5,000 $5 donations.

Read more in Tuesday's Star

Senior Editor, News, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Az.