The Star endorses Steve Farley and Bruce Wheeler to represent District 28 in the state House, and Paula Aboud to serve in the Senate. The trio are smart, have a raft of experience and have a track record of serving Arizonans well.

Farley and Wheeler, both Democrats, are running against Republican Ken Smalley to fill two seats. Farley, an incumbent, is responsive to constituents and does a commendable job keeping anyone who is interested up to date with his regular "Farley Report" e-mails about what's happening at the Capitol.

Farley has worked across the aisle with Republicans to try to keep drivers from text-ing, and he has received national recognition for his common- sense efforts. He is also an authority on transportation issues and has an impressive command of the state budget, a talent desperately needed in this Legislature, which already faces a gaping deficit that must be fixed before June 30.

Farley was one of the Democratic lawmakers who toured the state last session with legitimate alternatives to the draconian budget the Republican majority pushed through, which was heavy on cuts to public education, health care for kids and human services.

Farley has good ideas, he's doesn't demagogue, and he's the kind of creative, critical thinker Arizona needs to get through this crisis. He rightly touts his "knowledge of the process and knowledge of the people" - those in the Legislature and in Tucson - as assets.

We like that Farley is realistic and clear about what must be done to help Arizona. "You can't really secure the border by appearing on Fox News or CNN," he said.

Wheeler will bring experience from his eight years on the Tucson City Council, along with an understanding of how political decisions affect the prosperity of communities.

"We're up against an ideology," Wheeler said. "In the past the Republican Party understood business, and the members in this group just don't." Wheeler is retired but was director of energy management at the Tucson Airport Authority

On the Senate side, Paula Aboud, a Democrat, is facing Republican Greg Krino as well as Dave Ewoldt, an independent, and Ted Downing, a former state legislator who is running as a nonpartisan independent.

Aboud said she's proud of the common ground she's found with some conservative Republicans to work together. We appreciate that she fights the Republican majority when necessary, but, like Farley, knows how to bridge divides and come together to get work done.

Aboud took part in those Democratic budget presentations around the state, explaining what was happening and how different and better decisions could be made. The options are still available to help the budget this year, she said. "We have a lot of alternatives; don't think that we don't," she said.

We like her no-nonsense take on her job description: "My role is to shepherd bills through the Legislature and to stop bad ones."

Farley, Wheeler and Aboud all are clear-eyed about the situation facing the state. Arizona needs perceptive, hardworking and innovative people like them in the Legislature.

Arizona Daily Star