Two of the four Republicans who have announced plans to seek the District 1 seat held by the retiring Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller spoke at the January meeting of the Sun City Republican Club.
Former state lawmaker Vic Williams and former county GOP chairman Bill Beard told audience members that they are conservative Republicans who will follow in Miller’s footsteps.
Miller, who was first elected in 2012, has earned a reputation as a fierce critic of County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry as well as the local media.
Oro Valley Council member Rhonda Piña and political newcomer Steve Spain have also announced plans to run in the Republican primary in District 1, which includes the Catalina Foothills as well as the Town of Oro Valley and the eastern portion of Marana. Spain has been endorsed by Miller.
Three Democrats have said they want to run for the seat: Retired school administrator Rex Scott, substitute teacher Jeff Farrell and political newcomer Brian Radford.
Beard and Williams made their pitch to voters during the Sun City Republican Club’s Jan. 21 meeting.
Williams said he believes Miller served as a watchdog for Pima County taxpayers during her time on the board and he promised to carry on that commitment if elected.
“I think the voters of this district expect that whoever takes this seat will look at government and try and find its inefficiencies and start breaking it down and looking for where we’re not spending money here in county,” he said. “That’s something I will continue to do, talking with these groups, listening to what they have to say, bringing the inefficiencies of government to them, getting on the right side of issues. When you’re on the right side of the issue and get the public involved, then you can get change.”
While many voters have their minds on national issues, Williams said that he believes there is too much waste in county government.
“One thing I’m hearing constantly from voters is that they feel the government is not really producing for them, is wasteful, and they feel that tax revenue coming out of this part of the district is not being put equitably back into the district, primarily the infrastructure,” Williams said.
Beard, who briefly worked as an aide to Miller, agreed that the two-term supervisor did a good job of exposing inefficiencies of the Pima County government. He said he had already proven himself a watchdog during his time on the county’s Election Integrity Commission.
As the former chair of the Pima County Republican Party, Beard said he knows how to ask the tough questions necessary for change.
“Whatever line of work you’re in, it doesn’t matter if you’re in the public sector or private sector, every job requires you to get the basics right first before you have a conversation about nice-to-do, feel-good, whatever,” he said. “In Pima County, we’ve had the basics backwards and my job as the taxpayers’ watchdog is to ask those tough questions of the board majority, of my fellow board members, regardless if they vote for or against something, but also the county administration.”
Beard said a top priority is increasing spending on road repair, which he regards as the top priority of voters across the political spectrum.
“The top three items, the top 10, people mention to me constantly are roads,” he said. “It’s no more complicated than that. The fundamental priorities in Pima County government have been upside down and backwards for a very long time, and the roads speak for themselves.”