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Governor's Race: Arizona's gubernatorial election, part IV


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 IV.

View part I part II and part III.

Name: Terry Goddard

Party: Democrat

Age: 63

Current city: Phoenix

Number of years in Arizona: 63

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard sat in a chair at his Phoenix campaign headquarters, a small two-story house. He just returned from a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C., where he talked about the issues regarding Mexican drug cartels.

Reason for running:

He was born and raised in Tucson and has a “long-term love affair with the state.”

“I’m very angry about what I see happening to our state, to its educational institutions, to its heritage and to its hope for the future,” Goddard said.

He said he wants to lead Arizona back to success.

Although he is the only Democrat running, he said others were interested.

“We all agreed that, rather than have a…family fight of the Democratic Party, we would hunker down, work together and focus on what’s the best for Arizona,” Goddard said.

He said he thinks he has a good chance of winning despite recent polls showing Gov. Jan Brewer in the lead.

“Just a few months ago I was ahead,” Goddard said.

Immigration and border security are not the only issues — jobs and “keeping our state afloat” are also important, he said.

“I’m committed to building Arizona, not tearing it apart,” Goddard said.

Past experience:

Goddard thinks his past experiences as a naval officer, private practice attorney, activist and mayor of Phoenix would help him as governor.

“I’ve got a lot of practical knowledge about what it takes to make cities and neighborhoods work, to make an economy prosper and to provide basic law enforcement,” Goddard said.

He graduated from Harvard University in 1969 with a bachelor’s in American history and from ASU’s law school in 1976.

Both of his grandfathers and his father went to Harvard, he said. His father, Samuel P. Goddard, was Arizona’s governor from 1965 to 1967.

Stance on education:

Goddard supported Proposition 100.

If the proposition hadn’t passed, he said campuses would have closed.

“Education has been the ATM for a state that is essentially wallowing in debt,” Goddard said.

Many people thought the proposition would keep education safe, though he said Brewer is looking to cut additional education programs.

Reforming the tax code, he said, by not taxing food and emergency medical services, could solve the problem.

The Arizona Constitution states people “should have access to higher education and it should be as nearly free as possible,” though the current Legislature has shifted the burden to “individual enrollment fees.”

The universities need to be supported for their research, which can create jobs, he said.

In order to make higher education more affordable, tuition shouldn’t be increasing.

“We have to stop balancing the state budget on the backs of university students,” Goddard said. An “aggressive scholarship program” should also be established, he said.

Arizona’s K-12 system is the “worst funded in the nation.”

“We can’t expect any results if we refuse to invest,” Goddard said.

Stance on immigration:

Goddard urged Brewer to veto Senate Bill 1070.

“I thought they could do a much better job, without tearing our state apart, of fighting against border crime,” Goddard said.

He said he couldn’t directly comment on the possibility of racial profiling in the new law because of his position as attorney general and the federal lawsuit.

“I think racial profiling depends upon the actions of individual officers, and I have great respect for the men and women who serve in law enforcement in this state, so I know they’ll do their best,” Goddard said.

Border crime and security is one of the main focuses of his office, he said.

“I was very frustrated to see a legislative action that I think many people thought would address the problem of crime on the border, but actually it doesn’t,” Goddard said.

The law is a “huge unfunded mandate” that forces local law enforcement to spend time learning and enforcing new rules, he said.

Goddard believes the new law might discourage Latinos to call police for certain issues because they won’t want a hassle.

The economy has also been harmed by the new law, he said, because of the boycotts and canceled conventions.

“I hear every day of people who have simply changed their travel plans either because of 1070 or because of the governor’s irresponsible statements about beheadings and murders in the desert,” Goddard said, adding that the statements are untrue, yet she still hasn’t retracted them.

The law was created to “win a Republican primary,” he said.

“Anyone who cared about the future of Arizona could not have signed that bill,” Goddard said.

He plans on tackling the border security issues by continuing to target human smugglers by disrupting their operations.

Goddard said there needs to be a “bi-national focused effort to find, try and incarcerate the cartel leaders.”

There also needs to be immigration reform, considering the country’s economy “was substantially built on the backs of immigrant labor,” he said.

The work visa system needs to be adjusted in order to accommodate the economy, he said, and the federal government has failed to do that.

Stance on economy:

“The state budget doesn’t exist in a vacuum,” Goddard said.

Because of the sales tax increase, “the major sales products are not being sold,” he said, including automobiles and new houses.

Therefore, “tax reform is critical.”

There needs to be a focus on job creation, he said, and the economy can’t depend on housing.

Some possibilities are new industries like alternative energy and biotechnology where universities can play a role, he said.

Agriculture, mining and tourism have been “Arizona’s ticket to success in the past” as well, Goddard added.

However, tourism hasn’t been doing well because there have been cuts to rest areas, state parks and the Department of Tourism in addition to boycotts from Senate Bill 1070 and fear caused by Brewer’s statements on beheadings and cartel violence, he said.

Name: Bruce Olsen

Party: Libertarian

Age: 65

Current city: Overgaard

Number of years in Arizona: 8

Reason for running:

“Our country is coming apart and our state is in terrible shape, primarily due to the border, and that issue has driven in large measure the budget to be upside down,” Olsen said.

Olsen’s met the three other Libertarian candidates and considers himself to have more experience in money, border and business issues.

With several events before the primary, he said he feels “pretty good” about his chances.

Past experience:

He has worked in aircraft, real estate and automobile sales, and he is a self-educated economist.

He served in the Navy and Air Force as well, and he is a member of the minuteman program that is trying to secure the border.

“When you make good money, you don’t spend it, you set it aside because economies go up and down,” Olsen said, regarding what he learned growing up on a farm and through sales.

In 2007, he said he helped with the creation of Arizona Senate Bill 1264, legislation that tried to stop the closure of forest roads and state trails and tracks.

Stance on education:

Universities have a role to play in science and technology, Olsen said.

Trade schools would help in the manufacturing business, he added.

Olsen believes government is the problem for the cost of education.

“If we want to reduce the cost of an education…we have to get the federal government out of it,” Olsen said, adding that the reason for recent tuition increases was due to President Barack Obama taking over the student loan program.

Universities cannot depend on taxpayers to make money, he said.

“What universities should do is go into the money-making business,” Olsen said, and without government involvement, tuition would go down overnight if the schools want to be competitive.

He was not in support of Proposition 100.

Stance on immigration:

Illegal immigrants who are “sucking up resources and not putting in a full day,” as well as those involved in drugs, rape and home invasions, need to be removed, Olsen said.

He stands in support of Senate Bill 1070, believing it mirrors federal law and doesn’t promote racial profiling.

“If the federal government’s not going to do its job, by virtue of the Constitution, the states are obligated to do the job,” he said.

Olsen added that if a nation does not have borders, it will fall apart.

A fence needs to be built in order to stop human smuggling, he said. However, the fence won’t deter the activities of drug cartels.

Stance on economy:

“Economies tend to fix themselves, regardless of what political pressures are put on them,” Olsen said, though in the current situation it will take decades.

He said sustainable agriculture can be used to create jobs.

“Instead of illegal aliens doing those jobs, Arizonans need to do those jobs,” Olsen said, though they will need to be trained.

“There are no silver bullets to fix Arizona’s economy, so we are going to have to encourage entrepreneurs [and] startups to bring manufacturing back into play,” Olsen said.

There is state land that can be converted into crops, he said, which can be used for fuel and food.

Property taxes should be removed from primary residences that have no mortgage in order for demand and prices of homes to increase.

He said he is a strict fiscal conservative and knows how to say “no” when it comes to the budget.

“We’ve just got to have some strong, mature, been-there fiscal leadership down there that understands how to make money,” Olsen said.

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