Republican Ally Miller is a newcomer to the political arena, but her name is quickly becoming known around Tucson, evident in her defeat of State Rep. Vic Williams, Mike Hellon, and Stuart McDaniel in the Republican primary election for Pima County Board of Supervisors, District 1.
She will now face Democrat Nancy Young Wright in the Nov. 6 General Election.
Wright served in the Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 26 on the education and water energy committees from 2008-2010.
Miller, whose career background is primarily in finance and accounting, acknowledges Wright is a more experienced politician, but argues that isn’t necessarily a good thing as it relates to the issues facing Pima County.
“Private sector experience will be huge in this election, and she doesn’t appear to have any of that,” she said. “She is somewhat of a career politician, but she doesn’t have a business background. Just because she has political experience doesn’t mean she will be able to change things.”
Miller, a 30-year Tucsonan, said she has watched the local business community continue to crumble, and said her top priority, if elected, would be bringing new jobs to Pima County.
“We need to improve our image as a place to do business,” said Miller. “Tucson is ranked the fifth worst place in the nation to do business.”
Much of that relates to University of Arizona students graduating and leaving, she added.
“We have one of the top entrepreneur programs at our university,” said Miller. “Why is it that Phoenix is the job incubator and not Pima County when we have all these bright minds coming out of the University of Arizona? We need to partner with these students and work with the school’s Eller business program.”
According to Miller, Oro Valley and Marana serve as business models that Pima County should follow.
“Marana and Oro Valley have great ideas to fast-track businesses through the process,” she said. “If you talk to these business owners in Pima County, everyone says it’s a nightmare. It’s taking 18 months to two years to get through the approval process for many of them. We need to speed this up, and benchmark ideas that we are using in our own backyard.”
Miller argues that Wright will only exacerbate the local economy, saying she has a reputation of being anti-business.
“She has one of the worst ratings from the Arizona Business Association, ranked 33 out of 100, which is at the bottom of the state legislature,” she said.
Miller said Wright’s opposition to Rosemont Copper Mine serves as one example.
“We are the copper state,” she said. “Our cars, our homes, they’re made using copper. Why mine in South America where there is no environmental control? If we have all the permits required to move forward, we should do so.”
Miller added that Wright, who claims to be pro-education, contradicted herself in opposing the construction of Ironwood Ridge High School.
Miller said when it comes down to it, the key to changing Pima County for the better will be her ability and willingness to work with others across party lines.