As a longtime resident of Pima County, I have always wondered why despite our beautiful landscape and lovely weather here, we have consistently failed to achieve the same level of economic success as Maricopa County. During a recent interview with James Kelly, candidate for Pima County Supervisor District 2, I came to the conclusion that the answer lies in the political ties that bind and restrain us from our true potential. For the 19 years that I have lived in Pima County, our local government has been dominated by Democrats, largely due to the massive influx of residents from the liberal states of New York, New Jersey and California. Oddly these residents have proceeded to establish in Pima County the very politics and policies which caused many of them to flee their high- tax high-regulation states. Said policies have had a crushing cumulative effect on the prosperity of Pima County which Mr. Kelly very ably summed up for me. Mr. Kelley, an intensely energetic, sincere and well organized gentleman, observed that the top three issues for Pima County are “transportation infrastructure, business friendly atmosphere, and jobs.”
As a candidate of common sense Mr. Kelley realizes that our roads are “the arteries of commerce that feed our economy in Pima County”. Unfortunately our vitally important roads are in terrible shape because of all the entrenched government waste and fraud that has taken place and need to be restored in a fiscally responsible manner. Mr. Kelley also realizes that to maximize our transportation tax dollars “our airport must expand its lift capacity and increase direct flights to and from economic centers, [and] our ports of transfer for goods must include a comprehensive rail plan that includes Mexico.”
The second, but no less important, issue is that to attract the jobs we need to prosper and expand our tax base, Pima County needs larger employers with medium to high paying jobs to have the confidence to move here. “We must change our attitudes towards business and stop chasing manufacturing and large players away,” says Mr. Kelly, but “our present [Pima County] board [of supervisors] is happy with minimum wage tourism industries or just above minimum [wage] call centers that are heavily subsidized by the government.” Mr. Kelly proposes stricter code enforcement to bring our older businesses up to code and modern standards thus improving the sadly lacking aesthetics of our business districts which will make larger companies more amenable to moving here. He plans for the county to help our older businesses with this effort which will be a temporary expense versus those expensive and ongoing subsides for the low paying jobs which provide us with no return on investment in the form of an expanding tax base.
Lastly as Mr. Kelley points out, “Politicians do not create jobs unless they are empire building within their own purviews.” This is especially true of the entrenched Pima County government which has infamously held up the licensing of the Rosemont Copper Mine to appease the liberal environmentalists who consistently vote them back into office. Pima County government must rise above this and move to create a politics-neutral climate for entrepreneurial success. As Mr. Kelly puts it, “Our job is to ensure equal opportunity not equal outcome. We must stop picking the winners and losers with cronyism and nepotism. We need to take the brakes off a number of projects and let them proceed. This creates jobs.”
Mr. Kelley pledges to make certain that the systems of Pima County are fair within the county approval process. He further pledges to “enforce code violations and increase inspectors while at the same time creating a customer friendly atmosphere that helps small business modernize for the 21st century. We will help them identify what works and doesn’t and provide resources at low cost to help them.”
To break the political ties that bind Pima County and keep us from our growth and success potential, we must break the long streak of liberal political dominance in Pima County and vote for sound principles of economic prosperity. This election cycle we must vote in favor of new opportunities and those like James Kelley who are willing to work hard to welcome and promote those opportunities.