The Star endorses Kent Solberg and Macario Saldate for the state House in District 27, which comprises the west and southwest sides of Tucson.

Solberg, owner of Kent's Tools on East Grant Road for 32 years, represents the Green Party. Saldate, a retired UA professor, is a Democrat.

Solberg says his top priorities are jobs, the economy and education. He believes the best opportunities for new industries and jobs are in renewable energy technologies. He's willing to give tax credits to those businesses and to put state money into university research on energy. He'd also give tax breaks deferring their payments for two to five years to small businesses that hire workers.

When the economy improves, Solberg would put a "great deal" of the revenue into education, starting with paying teachers more and on programs that help children up to third grade get off to a strong start.

The other four candidates in the race, including Saldate, offer few specifics of what they'd do in office. At this point in the campaign, candidates should have done enough homework to speak in detail about how state government operates and what they'd change.

We endorse Saldate because he understands that Arizona's economic future is grim unless we improve the quality of education.

Lack of funding is part of the problem with schools, but not all, Saldate says. He says Arizona needs to improve the quality of its teaching ranks and involve parents more in schools.

Saldate served on the Pima Community College governing board from 1972 to 1979. He was founding director of both the Mexican American Studies & Research Center and of bilingual education programs at the UA.

He's critical of the state's many sales tax exemptions, which he calls loopholes. He also says the state needs to draw a pathway to where it wants to go and then align its resources behind that. He repeatedly says he'd work to build coalitions.

On the Senate side, Olivia Cajero Bedford, a Democrat, is unopposed.

The Star recommends voters select Kent Solberg and Macario Saldate for the state House in District 27.

Arizona Daily Star