With a few days left before the Nov. 4 election, here are my recommendations.

State Legislature, LD-26: Cheryl Cage, Senate; Don Jorgensen and Nancy Young Wright, House. The three Democratic candidates are among the finest I’ve seen anywhere. In knowledge, experience and vision, they tower over their opponents.

They are all pragmatists, not ideologues. They’ll work with Democrats and Republicans to get things done, yet each has a clear set of values to tell them when compromise is acceptable and when it isn’t.

Cheryl Cage is a successful business owner who plans to focus on the interdependence of business growth, clean energy and the environment.

Al Melvin’s campaign has tried, unsuccessfully, to paint Cage as a wild-eyed radical. To those of us who know Cheryl, this is laughable. She’s a centrist Democrat. Only members of the far right wing, which has kidnapped the Arizona Republican Party, could see her as someone outside the mainstream.

Here’s Melvin’s strategy: try to distract voters from his right wing agenda by making Cage look scary. It’s straight out of Karl Rove’s playbook.

Melvin is more beholden to the Phoenix Republican establishment than Southern Arizona. His campaign is being run by Constantin Querard, a Phoenix-based consultant who is running a dozen right wing campaigns around the state – including Marilyn Zerull’s — and who glories in knocking out moderate Republicans like Pete Hershberger. Remember  how Melvin demonized Hershberger in the primaries? That should put his attacks on Cage in perspective.

Melvin needs to keep voters from looking at him too carefully. In 2006, he referred to himself as a “proud Minuteman” and said he wanted a continuous border fence from California to Texas. He doesn’t talk about that much in 2008, but he still ties the solution to most of Arizona’s problems to stopping illegal immigration — that, and giving tax dollars to private schools, religious and non-religious, in the form of vouchers.

Nancy Young Wright is serving in the State Legislature and is focused on improving public education. She was subject to a misleading attack in a letter in last week’s Explorer. When she was an Amphi School Board member, Young Wright fought against questionable land deals and no bid contracts which resulted in the recall of three other board members. The letter blames Young Wright for the problems she helped correct.

Don Jorgensen runs a health care consulting business. He wants to use his expertise in the field to bring affordable, quality health care to all Arizonans. So far, he has escaped negative attacks, but it won’t surprise me to see attacks against him before the election.

U.S. Congress, CD8: Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords has worked hard her first term. She’s voted both with and against the Democratic leadership, representing what she sees as the best interests of her district. Next term she’ll further her vision of turning Southern Arizona into “Solarcon Valley,” which will bring us jobs, money and clean energy.

The Propositions: I’m voting “no” on most propositions. But there are a few exceptions:

Yes on Prop. 201. If new home buyers are given more protection against shoddy work, developers will be more careful when they build. That’s good for the buyers and the quality of our housing stock.

Yes on Prop. 300. Increasing legislators’ salaries from $24,000 to $30,000 is a drop in the state budget. Our legislators should make more than the standard wages at Walmart.

Yes on all school bonds. Our schools are woefully under-funded. Support your local school district.

And last, but certainly not least:

President: Barack Obama. Obama will bring brilliance and change to the White House. Whatever was left of McCain’s image of independence and honor has been damaged irreparably by the way he’s conducted his campaign. Prime example: choosing Sarah Palin. Many high level Republicans are distancing themselves from McCain, and some, like Colin Powell, are endorsing Obama. Wise choice.

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