Republican House District 26 candidate Vic Williams believes his party needs to rediscover its values.
“I’m dissatisfied with where our Republican Party has gone the last four to five years,” Williams said. “We have taken on the mantle of borrow and spend,” as compared with “being fiscal conservatives. A lot of our Republican constituents want us to get back to basic fundamentals.”
Williams, a former Pima County Republican Party treasurer, is emphasizing education and border security in his run with Marilyn Zerull and Trent Humphries for two party nominations on the Sept. 2 ballot.
“Public education, and fighting to improve the quality of public education, is absolutely paramount,” Williams said. “And the approach to illegal immigration. Those are the two issues I hear about.
“The federal government is not interested in doing anything substantive” about immigration, Williams said. “It’s imperative Arizona continue to lead the nation in implementing and enforcing illegal immigration laws.”
Proposition 200 “decreased the ability of illegals to get access to services.” The employer sanctions law has had further effect. Williams disagrees with Gov. Janet Napolitano’s veto of a criminal prosecution bill. “It would have paid for itself, alleviating pressures on medical, educational and law enforcement services.
“Arizona provides services well beyond what’s reasonable to illegals,” Williams said. “Someone has to take a stand, and try to do something that’s right.”
Williams is “an advocate for quality public education as a Republican.” He wants to be sure Arizona has “quality teachers that are well-paid,” with “teaching positions that are sought-after.” He wants Arizona to be “a place where teachers want to move.
“We don’t have the kind of funding other states have,” Williams said. “Education starts more with teachers, and the quality of teachers, and class size, than it does with infrastructure.”
The candidate believes “public education and economic development go hand in hand, and are interdependent.” He wants government to work on diversifying the Southern Arizona economy.
“Our economy is so dependent on housing starts,” Williams said. “That’s coming home to roost. When we have a decrease in real estate, the whole state goes cattywhampus. Other states are less susceptible to these peaks and valleys.
“We need to start looking at practical economic development programs. What assets do we have?” He points to higher-end biotechnology, the prospect of optics assembly in association with the University of Arizona, and Arizona’s border with California for “third-party logistics, warehousing and fulfillment services.
“We may have two or three parts of a multi-part puzzle already in hand.”
Southern Arizona’s three largest employers — Raytheon, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the University of Arizona — “are predicated on government spending,” Williams said.
“I don’t see enough private sector enterprise,” Williams said. “I support quality economic growth that will provide good jobs and prosperity.”
The region needs long-term infrastructure investment “before the growth gets there.” Transportation systems must be improved to allow traffic flow. When infrastructure is lagging, quality of life declines, and “it’s only a matter of times” companies begin to leave.
He considers himself a consensus-builder who wants to work with all Southern Arizona legislators to represent the region in Phoenix. He would pursue “proper” funding for the University of Arizona, improved medical care, and “make sure state government doesn’t overburden local governments.”