I want to hear from you about what County government can do for you. Send me a message on my mailing list page or leave a voicemail by tapping the red button at the lower right.
Here are my top issues at this moment.
- Health during the Coronavirus Epidemic
- The Pima County Department of Health is doing a remarkable job during the coronavirus crisis. They’ve established a hotline. For general information about COVID-19, including news, testing, prevention, and cleaning guidelines, call 2-1-1 from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily. And they have a COVID-19 Resources page with links to many other sources of information and help. See also my Help Available page for links to other specialized lists.
- Water is our most endangered and most precious natural resource. We must do everything possible to protect a sustainable supply of clean water for future generations. Pima County already has measures and plans for water use, water quality, and drought. We can do more. Example: Incentives for domestic rainwater reclamation.
- Rosemont Mine
- The Rosemont Mine would be an environmental disaster. It would pollute our water, foul our air, and destroy sensitive habitats. Pima County must use every available creative means to delay it and ultimately to prevent it. We can provide good jobs without destroying our land, air, and water. (See Economic Development, below.)
- One of the most effective ways to ensure a healthy local economy and strong community is to have superior, affordable education available to all.
- I favor County investment in early childhood education, which has been shown to return such investment many times over by stimulating local economic growth and reducing crime, among other benefits.
- The County can find ways to make higher education more affordable by supporting the Pima Community College system and by helping to create local citizen banks to mitigate crippling student debt.
- Economic development without tax giveaways
- I favor strong County investment in local businesses to provide local jobs and local infrastructure. When we spend tens of millions of dollars to pay outside companies to locate here, we often recoup our investment, however we have no control over their success or failure. If the company folds or decides to move elsewhere, we lose our investment.
Expanding the tax base by bringing in taxpaying companies and individuals is one way to grow. Another way, not sufficiently explored, is to redirect money being spent by government and by private industry so it remains in our community. Let’s change County procurement policies to patronize more local businesses, and let’s lobby other institutions like the UofA and local hospitals to do the same. We could redirect millions of dollars per year into the local economy and create new jobs at the same time.
- Our roads need repairing and rebuilding: Let’s invest in local construction companies to build up our roads and our communities. The PAYGO plan recently approved by the Board is projected to bring our roads up to acceptable conditions by 2030. We can do more to ensure our roads and other public infrastructure are safe and durable. Let’s find additional revenue sources without overburdening county taxpayers.
- We need clean water: Let’s use County public health and safety authority to ensure that everyone refrains from polluting our waterways, regardless of the Trump Administration’s attempts to eliminate regulations.
- We need affordable housing: Let’s subsidize local builders and provide robust protection for tenants’ rights.
- We need to develop sustainable energy sources and improve energy efficiency: Let’s subsidize local companies to install solar power and wind power. Let’s subsidize homeowners and businesses to retrofit for energy efficiency.
- Workers’ Rights, Union Rights
- We must protect the right of workers to organize. This begins with Pima County as an employer, working collaboratively with employees’ unions and treating its workers fairly. The County also regulates workplace safety, and it can lobby the state legislature to raise the minimum wage and to repeal Right to Work.
- Criminal Justice Reform
- Arizona has 41,964 people in prison. We can reduce that number. Imprisonment damages communities by separating families and destroying lives. Our system of mass incarceration does not serve public safety.
We must begin by electing a County Attorney in 2020 who’s committed to genuine, effective criminal justice reform without compromising public safety. We can decrease our prison population by almost 10,000 statewide by implementing common-sense policies around drug offenses, like reducing time served by 50% and instituting alternatives that send drug possession offenders for treatment, not imprisonment.
Next, the Board of Supervisors must take a more active role in shaping criminal justice policy. When I’m elected to the Board, I promise to lead the way toward broad and open collaboration between the Supervisors and the elected department heads like the County Attorney. The current ultra-compartmentalized system has to end.
See this blog post for more details.
- The County government can’t change federal immigration policy, but it can help to mitigate some of the worst effects in our communities.
- Pima County Sheriff’s deputies should not be working for US Border Patrol. We need them to fight local crime, not to enforce federal immigration policy. There are 4500 Border Patrol agents in the Tucson sector and fewer than 300 deputies available for field work. That’s why I’ve consistently advocated against the County accepting federal grants, like Stonegarden and GIITEM, that require deputies to work under Border Patrol direction to enforce immigration policy. Our communities are safer when residents trust local law enforcement not to call ICE or CBP while investigating local crime.
- Sanctuary: I strongly supported Prop 205, the initiative to make Tucson a sanctuary city, for the same reasons stated about the Sheriff’s Department. Special interest groups raised and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to scare voters into defeating the initiative.
- Strong County government
- We’re told repeatedly that the Board of Supervisors has little real power except over the County budget, and that even with the budget the Board’s power is very limited. This myth persists because Republicans and moderate Democrats on the current Board have ceded their authority, They’ve ceded policy-making authority to the County Administrator and to the “row officers” (elected department heads, like the County Attorney and the Sheriff). Further, current Democrats on the Board tend to work separately, each in their own silo. It doesn’t have to be that way. The Board can reclaim its supervisory role. Democratic Supervisors can speak with a unified voice. When I’m elected, I’ll help make that happen.