City/Town Born: Lexington, NE
Siblings: Two sisters, living in New Mexico and Kansas
Significant Other and Children: Sherel is my wife, and we have four grown children (one is married to a Marana police officer), and six grandchildren
Education: Bachelor of Education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney
Job History: Third culture religious work for 16 years, including eight years in West Africa. Investment management and advisement for 24 years.
Volunteer Experience: Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Gospel Rescue Mission (preparing a meal and serving once a month)
How long have you lived in Marana, and what circumstances brought you to the town?
Started my investment practice in Marana in 1996 while living in Pima County. Moved to Marana in 2001. I liked the town values, the management of their town and budget, and wanted to live closer to my business location.
What do you appreciate about the community?
Marana is a diverse and relaxed community. Many young families have found affordable housing here, great park and recreational amenities, and excellent schools that help them provide a healthy family lifestyle. Also, we have a large and active adult community that enjoys the outdoors together along with many retired people who enjoy the local restaurants, hiking, and excellent year-round weather. The town’s emphasis on working with developers to create welcoming areas to live, and our commitment to bringing businesses to town make Marana a great place to live.
Why are you running for another term on council?
My background and experiences outside of public office, coupled with my nine years of involvement with the town Council, equip me to continue delivering excellent service to the town. This is what I hope to continue doing.
My experiences in overseas third world work have shown me the importance of strong yet responsive government to help create and bring together affordable, welcoming, and enjoyable communities. My experience owning and managing a local business has given me insight into budgeting and capable staff management which I use in working with town staff to ensure financial transparency and efficiency. My educational background allows me to be an advocate for Marana’s excellent school system, and also advocate for bringing satellite locations for higher education.
Why should residents vote for you?
The roads are well-maintained, the police and public safety staff are adequately funded and highly respected throughout the community, our parks and recreational amenities are beautiful and accessible, and open areas are protected and made available for people to enjoy. Town staff is friendly and easily reached. Local businesses find it easy to get answers, and entrepreneurs find it easy to start and run successful businesses within the town.
All these things depend on a capable and responsive town government, and I have worked to pass policies that have produced excellent results for the town. A vote for me is a vote to continue these kinds of results.
What goals do you hope to accomplish in your next term?
My goal has continually been to help bring a higher education facility to the town. This remains an objective.
But there are constant threats to the maintenance of a simple and enjoyable life living, even if it takes a while to bring an institution of higher learning here. Budgetary constraints, pressure from outside groups and disruptions due to non-town events including county, state and national events, are always present to obstruct our basic tasks. My overreaching desire this next term is to continue to do well the following: maintain our public roads, provide for the public safety and deliver amenities such as parks and trails which enable people to recreate and enjoy our Sonoran desert location to its fullest.
What are Marana’s greatest strengths and how would you maintain them?
Our location along the Interstate 10 corridor gives Marana great access to flow-through traffic which provides revenue to the Town through motels, restaurants and shops. We have excellent roads, public safety personnel, and parks and recreational areas. The way to preserve these is through council policy-making that supports these efforts.
We also have great housing areas, and adequate land to build on, supported by council policies that work with housing developers to ensure sensitivity to wildlife and drainage corridors while providing affordable housing.
What are Marana’s weaknesses and how would you alter and/or improve them?
Marana needs to attract business to its community in order to support local growth and add to Pima County’s economic viability. I have promoted and supported policies that make working with the Town easy for businesses, including a team approach to approving plans with the town. I will maintain a focus on streamlining measures that support responsible and healthy growth.
If reelected, what steps would you take to maintain or improve the town’s financial position?
Marana has excellent finance staff and capable management. It is my job to monitor their work and comment when necessary in order to maintain financial stability and transparency. I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing in that regard.
How would you foster economic development and job growth within the community, and what kind of jobs do you think Marana needs?
The job of the town council is to craft policies which guide town staff in doing their jobs. I have sought to provide a firm but welcoming atmosphere to the building and business communities that makes doing business with the Town as easy as possible. We want to make Marana a great place to start, or maintain, a business. Our economic development department actively reaches out to business to explain the benefits of working within the Town of Marana, and we also participate with local area groups such as Sun Corridor Inc. as well as national forums to promote Marana as a great place to do business.
How do you plan to involve residents in the decision making process in the town?
Our website publishes updates on a variety of projects the town is involved in, and invites their participation and comments. In addition, meetings are regularly scheduled with local citizen groups and HOA’s when matters of a broad community interest are at stake. Calls to the public at our council meetings are another opportunity for citizens to let the council know how they feel on a matter of interest to them, and all our public meetings are live-streamed and archived for watching and review.
Marana is interested in a variety of large capital projects, how should they be funded?
There are many ways capital projects can be funded: General fund use, grants from state and federal entities, sales of bonds and sales tax revenues are a few of the resources available to us. Often, several methods are used together. The choice of how to fund capital projects is always made on a case by case basis.
What are your views on Marana annexing additional land?
Annexation of additional land into the town is weighed according to the intended use of the property, if any encumbrances are attached to it, what value it can offer to the community, and how much the annexation will cost the town versus what benefit or revenue it may provide. I view each of these submissions separately and seek to keep an open mind.
Residents in northern Marana have often complained about a lack of nearby grocery stores and high quality restaurants, what can the council do to develop those missing resources?
The council is limited in what they can do, but we seek to reach out to grocery chains to explain the benefits of doing business with us, as well as offering fast-tracking of any submitted plans for development in the north. Restaurants are being built in the north now, and the addition of additional eating places will always be dependent on entrepreneurs and other business people wishing to launch eating establishments there. With the recent additions of Jack in the Box, Bisbee Breakfast Club and a McDonald’s restaurant, I believe the door is open to showing other restaurant owners the exciting possibilities of setting up shop in the northern part of Marana.
How can the town council balance local water resources with the development of new housing?
Each planned subdivision is required to show that their development has adequate water resources. Marana is fortunate to sit atop an abundant water aquifer, and has access to CAP water as well as established relationships with other water utilities like Tucson Water and Metro Water. We are aware of the continuing necessity to provide access to quality water, and my work as a councilman has allowed me to be involved in the crafting of several policies which preserve and add to the town’s water portfolio.
What strategies can the town use to maintain its open space and small town characteristics while also fostering commercial development?
Along with other council members, I have worked with leaders from local environmental groups including the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, and with farmers and ranchers in Marana’s northern area to make sure we don’t neglect our roots as a farming, ranching and beautiful desert region. The larger we become the harder it will be to maintain small town characteristics, but I seek to be responsive to residents and encourage that same attitude among our staff. I believe Marana can continue to be both environmentally friendly, family and business friendly and accommodate new growth if we keep the principles of responsiveness to our environment and to our residents at the top of our priorities.
If you received a $1 million grant for use anywhere in Marana, what would you fund?
I’m a financial planner by profession. The addition of $1 million would deserve careful consideration as to where it needs to be placed. One possibility is to pay it against any of the town’s current debt.