Four candidates for two seats in the Arizona Legislature from House District 26 had to answer the fundamental question at the Clean Elections debate last month at Flowing Wells High School.
Why vote for them?
“I ask for your vote essentially to improve the quality of life in Southern Arizona,” said Democrat Don Jorgensen. He talked about the current struggles of many residents, and said he “understands the issues” as a small businessman raising a family.
“I know this community, and I have a track record of service,” Jorgensen said. “I know how to get things.” He emphasized “quality and affordable health care for all Arizonans,” and a belief in “accountability” for legislators.
“My background, my experience, and where I stand on the issues,” said Republican Vic Williams, who pointed to personal experience within the Pima County Republican Party leadership and in operating a business.
“I would bring that practical business experience to the State Legislature,” Williams said. He would work to ensure “we have fiscal responsibility in this state as we work to balance the budget.”
Democratic Rep. Nancy Young Wright said she is “best known as a mom activist,” working for parks and recreation, the protection of wildlife corridors and education through service on the Amphitheater school board.
“I have a history of working for the underdog, and taking on the good old boys if I have to,” said Young Wright, who was appointed to the House following the resignation of Rep. Lena Saradnik.
“I think I can make a difference,” said Republican Marilyn Zerull. She and her family came to Arizona 16 years ago. “We love Arizona, and we recognize we have problems here.”
Zerull spoke of three areas of concern – balancing the state budget “without raising taxes. That’s my goal;” controlling illegal immigration, and pursuing high-quality education.
“Our education is not bad, but it’s not great either,” she said. “We can make a lot of improvements.”
The hopefuls in District 26, covering much of the Northwest, reiterated points in closing remarks.
“I am not a career politician,” Zerull said. “This is my first time to apply. I can make a difference, and make the tough decisions.”
Zerull vows to be a “stronger voice for Southern Arizona. I would bring stability to government, and I am willing to work hard with everybody. Good ideas are good ideas no matter where they come from.” She supports smaller government, tax relief, personal property rights and personal responsibility.
“You can trust me to keep my word,” Young Wright said. “I will fight really hard for the environment, health care, education,” all the while looking at “root causes” of Arizona’s problems. “It takes time, and it’s a hard thing to do.”
“The last two budget sessions have been abhorrent,” Williams said. “We need to get back to some basic fiscal responsibilities.
“I will ensure, and fight for us all here in Southern Arizona, that we equitably balance the budget,” and that people outside greater Phoenix “are not unduly burdened.”
“We have to understand we’re going to need to work and cooperate with others on the other side of the aisle,” Williams said.
“You are the folks who will decide Arizona’s future,” Jorgensen said. “I have a track record for getting things done.”
“I’m going to work for you, but that’s only half the story. I will listen to you. I’m committed to listening to all good ideas.” He supports quality public education, a diverse economy, clean energy and a sustained environment. “I will be your voice for Southern Arizona. I’d be honored by your vote.”
Zerull, Young Wright and Jorgensen are all participating “Clean Elections” candidates. Williams is a traditionally funded candidate.