Meet the candidates: Arizona's gubernatorial election, part III
In our five-week series, The State Press will highlight the candidates and their platforms. The primary election will be held Aug. 24, and early voting begins July 29. This is part III.
Candidate Buz Mills suspended his campaign Tuesday, only four days after Republican opponent Dean Martin.
Mills dropped out of the race because, according to his website, Senate Bill 1070 has mitigated all other issues, and the candidate originally ran on a platform that focused on the state’s economy.
Current Gov. Jan Brewer’s position on the law too closely resembles his own, the website stated, but on other issues, their stances were completely different,.
Mills was unable to be reached for comment.
Name: Barry Hess
Current city: Phoenix
Number of years in Arizona: 30
Reason for running:
“Because I care,” Hess said.
He wants to do everything he can to “preserve the only legacy of any value that we might leave the next generation”—individual freedom.
The Libertarian said the “political winds have turned enormously,” and third parties are gaining more support.
“If people want to vote for freedom, they’ll vote for me,” Hess said.
This is Hess’ third time running for governor.
He’s gained experience from running previous times, he said, and the reason why he hasn’t won is because the public has believed the lies of other candidates.
“Now I think the public is realizing, ‘Hey, do we have that economic security and stability that was promised?’ No,” Hess said.
In addition to being a candidate for governor, Hess has also worked as a currency investor, a job he is taking a break from.
In 1978, Hess received a bachelor’s degree in English and in-depth credits in history, political science and philosophy from Fordham University.
Stance on education:
Hess supports funding for higher education but not with the state’s money.
“There has been absolutely zero value to the full notion that every single person needs a college education,” he said.
The state is stuck with providing some funding for higher education, but there shouldn’t be an unlimited budget, he said. There should be productivity.
Funding should come from private donors or the university, he said, adding that the cost of tuition would drop “exponentially” if the government was not involved.
Extra benefits for professors, like transportation and sabbaticals, could be cut, as well as “nonsensical degrees” that don’t teach marketable skills, he said. Students aren’t getting their money’s worth at ASU.
“The bottom line is, you don’t get the gravitas, the kinds of things that you want to learn, things that will benefit you and that you can profit from later in life,” which is the benefit of education, Hess said.
There should be a competency test instead of just a diploma in order to get a job, he added.
For example, a company could hire someone who passes the competency test and then send that person to a company school for training, he said.
Hess thinks there could also be corporate sponsors for students’ education.
“I’m looking at a complete restructuring of the educational system,” he said.
Stance on immigration:
Hess is “absolutely, adamantly against SB 1070.”
It has nothing to do with immigration, migration, naturalization and border control, he said.
He believes the new law is trying to create a national ID system and link all databases and that the border could always be shut down if the government wanted that to happen.
“My plan makes it very, very enticing to every single illegal person in Arizona to make themselves known and become legal quickly,” Hess said, adding that this would not be citizenship but migration.
Citizens of other countries are drawn mainly to the socialist welfare and entitlement programs that need to be eliminated, he said.
The focus of a Libertarian is for people to be free, and people should not have to carry around papers or be afraid “as long as you didn’t harm another person, their property or their right[s],” Hess said.
Politicians divide the people up into groups in order to turn people against each other so they can referee the people and pretend to protect them, he said.
“If they didn’t split us up, they would lose their relevance,” Hess said. “They’ve got to have a monster to kill.”
This applies to immigration and other issues, he added.
Stance on economy:
Hess believes it’s necessary to cut funding for items not “mandated by the Constitution.”
He plans on eliminating the income tax.
The current economic situation is worse than the Great Depression in 1932, he said.
“Nobody wants to use the word ‘depression,’ but that is what it is,” Hess said.
He suggested one way to help people struggling in the current economy: Allow homes to produce solar energy for extra income by overproducing their own energy, which will be sold to a national grid.
Name: Larry Gist
Current city: Tempe
Number of years in Arizona: 56
Reason for running:
“I think it’s a way of expressing the frustration of our society right now,” Gist said. “Most of the voters don’t feel like they’re…getting anything from the two parties.”
The Green Party and other third parties have something to offer because they’re thinking outside of the box, Gist explained.
He was disappointed that other candidates, like Dean Martin and Buz Mills, dropped out, and that Terry Goddard has no one to challenge him.
“We need ideas,” he said. “We need real, serious people coming to the table with serious ideas.”
Candidates need to set aside politics, he said, and focus on job creation.
Gist was encouraged to run by high school students at YMCA’s Youth and Government model legislature program, where he volunteers.
“Like everyone else, I want to go in and try to make a difference,” Gist said.
Gist graduated in 1980 from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He also took many classes in the business college, but there wasn’t an option for dual degrees.
He is currently a realtor and financial consultant.
In the past, he worked for and started small businesses, the mortgage industry, sales and marketing, operation management, telecommunications and computers.
He said he was a presidential elector for Arizona when Jimmy Carter ran for president.
Stance on education:
“I’m a classroom-first person,” Gist said. “I think our priorities should be the teachers and the classroom.”
He wants to set up an advisory group in each county with teachers and parents in order to get input on possible changes and the direction of education, which he said could improve Arizona’s national ranking.
Gist is open to other funding opportunities, besides the government, for higher education.
Students should pay for some of their education to increase the value, he said.
“I think it should be as affordable as we can make it,” Gist said. “In my personal life, people value things more if they have a little bit of stake into it.”
Stance on immigration:
There is border security and then there is illegal immigration — both are separate issues, he said.
Gist believes that “we need to protect our citizens.”
He supports about 70 to 80 percent of the new immigration law — the parts that mirror federal law, he said.
Part of the law he is against is section 13-2928, which talks about “unlawful stopping to hire and pick up passengers for work,” as well as work solicitation.
The term solicit is stated as meaning “verbal or nonverbal communication by a gesture or a nod that would indicate to a reasonable person that a person is willing to be employed.”
This section of the law could lead to unnecessary arrests and suing just from people being safe while driving and slowing down, or even just nodding to another person, he said.
Another part of the law he disagrees with is section 13-2929, which talks about harboring illegal immigrants.
The section states that “it is unlawful for a person who is in violation of a criminal offense to […] conceal, harbor or shield or attempt to conceal, harbor or shield an alien from detection in any place in this state, including any building or any means of transportation, if the person knows or recklessly disregards the fact that the alien has come to, has entered or remains in the United States in violation of law.”
Gist is working with other Arizonans to get a referendum on the ballot in order to possibly overturn the recent immigration bill that was signed but doesn’t go into effect until July 29.
The Web site for the group, which supports Arizona citizens’ right to vote on important issues, is www.voteonsb1070.com.
If they are successful in getting signatures, Senate Bill 1070 will not go into effect until Nov. 2, he said, or not at all, depending on if the referendum is passed.
Stance on economy:
“We need to get back into a debit card mentality,” Gist said.
If the government has money, it can spend it, but otherwise it can’t, he said.
There needs to be sustainable job creation, including jobs with livable wages and a focus on renewable energy, he said.
The nation’s poor economy has some people feeling hopeless, he said.
“I would like to be out there blowing a horn and say, ‘There is hope. We can find a light at the end of the tunnel, we just have to think outside the box,’” Gist said.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org