Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller’s retirement from the county’s first district has tasked voters in Marana, Oro Valley, Casa Adobes, the Catalina Foothills and other north-side areas with picking a new supervisor for the first time since 2012.
The Arizona Daily Star surveyed the six candidates in the Aug. 4 primaries — Republicans Rhonda Pina, Bill Beard, Vic Williams and Steven Spain and Democrats Rex Scott and Brian Radford — about their priorities, should they be elected to represent the historically-Republican seat.
Here are their answers, some of which have been edited for length:
Beard, 58, former chair of the Pima County GOP: “As the taxpayers do not trust county government to fulfill it’s promises the board must reestablish that trust by reallocating a larger portion on the general fund to road repair. I would start with an additional 10% from the general fund to show the taxpayers that we can follow through on actual road maintenance.”
Pina, 56, Oro Valley councilwoman: “I believe our infrastructure challenges can and must be solved through regional cooperation and through the well-trusted Regional Transportation Authority. We do not need new taxes to fix our roads, but we do have to work constructively to reauthorize a new RTA plan.”
Scott, 56, former public school educator and Athens, Ohio, councilman: “The current Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted the PAYGO program in late 2019, which will bring (roads in poor condition) back up to par within 10 years. I will ensure that the annual reviews of the PAYGO program focus on the most critically needed repairs and that a well-monitored preventive maintenance program is part of the plan so that our roads do not fall back into disrepair.”
Spain, 38, IT and hotel operations management professional: “The county budget wastes roughly two-thirds of the gas tax funds the state forwards to us. It’s long past time to stop the county’s multi-million dollar waste each year, and to spend responsibly, improving our roads and our quality of life.”
Pina: “Pima County must do more to attract new businesses and grow our current businesses. One thing that is abundantly clear in a post COVID-19 world, is that the United States must bring back manufacturing to North America. Pima County is in a prime position to benefit from this type of economic development. It is also estimated that many of our small businesses will not survive the current environment. We must think outside the box to figure out ways for our innovators, entrepreneurs, and small businesses to flourish.”
Radford, 50, retired corrections officer: “With Arizona being a border state, and therefore a gateway to Mexico and Latin America, I would encourage participation and support for building bridges economically to grow trade and manufacturing within the maquiladoras as well as other sister city relationships with our counterparts in Mexico and Latin America.”
Scott: “Economic development in Pima County will not be able to advance if we lack either the necessary infrastructure or a trained workforce. Public health and safety and excellent roads are the underpinnings of our infrastructure, as well as all the other services the county provides to enhance the quality of life of its residents. Workforce development includes not just K-12, career/technical and higher education, but also job training (or retraining) efforts and greater access to quality early childhood education for all our children, regardless of family income.”
Spain: “I believe people and businesses in Pima County can own the recovery and show the rest of the country how to ply American ingenuity to bring some of our supply chain back home and conduct business better, faster, cheaper, and cleaner. The county should reduce its burden on individuals and businesses, should minimize itself to allow the recovery to occur. The county should use means within its legal authority to incentivize tangible, real job growth and creation; but the key is to step aside and be equitable, not to pick losers and losers (because the county has a track record of not picking winners).”
Williams, 57, former Arizona House representative: “Create a business-friendly environment that welcomes employers to our region. Bring key development areas within our county for suitable industry serving citizens’ needs and the business community.”
Public Safety and Public Health
Beard: “Support the sheriff by fully funding the promised step raises to the deputies; the second part of this is to quit micro-managing the sheriff’s department. Stonegarden funding is a prime example. The sheriff is a duly elected county official and can be held accountable by the voters. Accepting Stonegarden funding for a decade plus and only when Donald Trump is elected do they want to make a political theater production not relevant to the county.”
Pina: “Public safety and public health go hand and hand. Our front-line workers have been working day in and day out to protect our communities’ safety. I commend them for the job they are doing. I believe our public health department and public safety personnel have done a good job protecting everyone during this crisis. When it came time to reopen our economy, I called for a carrot approach instead of a stick approach to help small businesses reopen and better protect public health”
Scott: “The pandemic has become the most significant issue of this campaign and our recovery from it will be the focus of the work of county government for the next several years. I have a page on my website that describes how I will use my over 23 years of public sector leadership experience to help to lead those efforts.”
Radford: “With the current COVID-19 pandemic persisting, many are concerned with health care and personal safety issues to include wearing a face mask and the added issue of children returning to school. To raise awareness and protect the health of the public, I would encourage the continued following of the CDC guidelines and guidance of medical staff in any developing decision making process. We all must take precautions for ourselves and others to ensure that we recover and are able to build back as soon and as safely as possible.”
Williams: “Prioritize law enforcement needs to provide a safe and secure environment for citizens throughout Pima County. Ensure infrastructure spending for roads from our general fund pay-as-you-go program and HURF dollars are not misspent.”
Taxes and Cronyism
Beard: “Whether it’s Worldview, Golden Pins Bowling, Single Source contracts that only seem to target a handful of companies the taxpayer sees a system that benefits the few at their expense. County government is responsible for fulfilling the mandates of state law. Their job is not to pick winners and losers.”
Spain: “We need to reduce the burden for the benefit of everyone who lives and works in Pima County. I want to work with the unincorporated communities (especially in District 1) to wrest power from Pima County and set themselves up with more local control; that will have the effect of driving down taxes (possibly immediately, possibly over time).”
Williams: “Work tirelessly to shine a light on and break up cronyism and corruption. Ensure all who seek to create businesses in Pima County do so from a fair and level playing field that does not favor a privileged few.”
Contact reporter Justin Sayers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4192. Twitter: @_JustinSayers. Facebook: JustinSSayers.
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