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In the one Tucson City Council race featuring an incumbent, the Arizona Daily Star Editorial Board endorses Paul Cunningham to continue his work representing Ward 2.
Cunningham, a Democrat, faces off against Republican Ewart Williams and Green Party candidate William Peterson in the Nov. 5 general election.
In asking for a third four-year term, Cunningham acknowledges that his reason for running is to finish the work he’s started.
“When you start setting up those goals and you’re evaluating your time in office, you’re thinking to yourself, ‘I didn’t get this done, I didn’t get that done,’” he said, noting that Tucson spent years grappling with the economic recession. “Part of it was, in those ... first few years in office, we were just playing catch up.”
However, Cunningham is not short on new ideas, especially when it comes to transit. In a conversation with the Arizona Daily Star Editorial Board, Cunningham noted the disparity between fares the streetcar takes in and the number of rides it provides. “People aren’t paying,” he said.
His proposed solution? Taking an idea from Salt Lake City, he proposed making fares free, sort of. “I’d like to see it be paid for by the University of Arizona – just collect the full $2 million the university has a blanket (budget) line item for and make the streetcar free.”
Perhaps more than anything, Cunningham brings experience and knowledge to the position that only a seasoned politician who cares deeply for both his job and constituents can deliver. His answer on improving Tucson’s infrastructure for transportation was a master class in communicating public policy.
It’s evident Cunningham has done his homework on the issues, and he knows how to present his arguments. On top of that, his day job as a physical education teacher in Tucson Unified School District affords him the unique perspective of teacher, parent and decision maker that is vital to help the city navigate its future.
Paul Cunningham offers voters both the stability of experience, and the promise of a practical vision.