Star Opinion: Regina Romero is best choice for Tucson mayor

Star Opinion: Regina Romero is best choice for Tucson mayor

From the Tucson Election 2019: Arizona Daily Star editorial board endorsements series

The following is the opinion and analysis of the Arizona Daily Star Editorial Board.

The Star’s Editorial Board endorses candidates and ballot propositions that we conclude, after much research and discussion, are the best option.

We make endorsements because voters are busy, and we view it as a community service. We have more access to candidates than the average voter, and it is our job to pay close attention to what’s happening in our communities year-round.

The Star's news reporters don’t weigh in on the Editorial Board’s endorsements (or other opinion content), and we on the opinion side don’t weigh in on news coverage.

Advertisers do not get a voice in the Star’s endorsements, nor in our news coverage.

The Editorial Board includes: President and Publisher John D’Orlando, Star editor Jill Jorden Spitz, Opinion editor Sarah Garrecht Gassen and opinion writer Edward Celaya. Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons is not part of the board.

Read more about how and why the editorial board endorses here, and send comments or questions to Opinion Editor Sarah Gassen,

Voters not only have a political choice between candidates for mayor, but this election is also a decision between different visions of what being mayor means: Should the Tucson mayor be a CEO and chief marketer, or a leader who actively sets an agenda for the city?

Tucson needs an inclusive-minded leader with vision, energy and practicality, and this is why the Arizona Daily Star Editorial Board endorses Regina Romero for mayor.

Romero, a progressive Democrat, faces businessman Ed Ackerley, who ran as an independent after deciding a Republican couldn’t win in Tucson, and Green Party candidate Mike Cease.

Tucson is at an inflection point. With the right leadership, the city can build on the success of the reinvigorated downtown by focusing on small businesses and economic development, while never losing sight of our cultural and neighborhood values.

Romero has a thoughtful and doable agenda based on the maxim that “public infrastructure leverages private investment.”

Among her priorities:

• Boosting the city’s economic develop office with what she calls “small business navigators.”

• Investing in density and focusing on housing affordability.

• Addressing sustainability and the effects of climate change in our desert environment.

• Fixing Tucson’s roads and adding to public transportation options.

• Growing partnerships with Mexican companies and consumers.

• Retaining young people and University of Arizona graduates in Tucson.

• Supporting workforce development.

• Encouraging infill development with zoning changes, while working with neighborhoods.

Romero is in her third term representing Ward 1, which reaches the west and south sides of Tucson, on the City Council. Her time in office creates both a solid foundation and a challenge for serving as mayor.

She embraces her identity as a progressive, and notes she won the Democratic primary with more than half the vote.

The mayor’s job, however, requires a level of diplomacy and cooperation, including with the Republican-heavy Legislature, that representing a ward does not.

We think Romero is up to the task and is Tucson voters’ best option for mayor.

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