Sep 27, 2012 10:24 AM by John Overall
TUCSON - Pima County Supervisor Ramon Valadez has been representing District Two for more than eight years. But for the first time he's facing competition in the general election.
Valadez is a 44 year old Democrat. He works for Southwest Ambulance and Rural/Metro. Valadez was appointed to his County Supervisor post in 2003. He won the election 2004 and was re-elected in 2008. Prior to that, Valadez was a State Legislator.
James Kelley, 51, is the Republican challenger in this race.
Kelley is a transportation specialist for Renzenberger Incorporated and a former G.O.P Chairman for Legislative District 29.
News-4 Tucson asked both candidates about the issues.
Ramon Valadez puts the economy and jobs are at the top of his priority list.
"Well, I think a big part of what we need to work on, as we work on today, has to do to with economic development and jobs. Bottom line is, we are still in an economic downturn," Valadez said.
Valdez added, "We've been putting together an economic development plan for the last several years. Some of which, we are starting to see some of that fruition through the relocation of Accelerate and other companies in our community. We're talking about the Aerospace and Defense Corridor, transportation to and from our employment centers, the Veterans One Stop, the Business One Stop. So all these concepts we've been talking about for the last several years and now starting to come into fruition."
James Kelley believes one way to boost the economy and create local jobs is to embrace Arizona's mining history.
"Well obviously our manufacturing of copper in the United States needs to increase because that is where the manufacturing is, overseas. That's where the smelting is, overseas. Do you have a problem? Why not go talk to China about their environmental concerns, go talk to India about their environmental concerns," said Kelley.
Kelley believes it's possible to utilize our natural resources without destroying the environment.
"You know, we've killed business. Instead of looking for solutions to continue or business, we've given up and put all these regulations on and said 'Stop! Well where did it go?' It went to countries that don't have those regulations," Kelley said.
Both candidates also put transportation near the top of their priority lists.
News-4 Tucson asked Valadez what his plans are to improve the roads in Pima County. What's the plan to fix our roads?
"We recognized that earlier this year and for the first time, we're actually putting general funding dollars into repairing roads. The truth of the matter is, we've got some roads that can't be repaired, they need to be replaced. So that's gone forward. In this current fiscal year we actually increased the amount of general funding dollars to again continue that project, but realistically, we need to look at a realistic approach for the entire community," Valadez said.
Kelley believes the rocky roads are just one part of a bigger transportation problem in Pima County.
"Transportation builds business. Transportation builds prosperous economies, always has, always will. I don't care if it's trucking, or training, or airplanes. All three are big issues for our county. Whether it being creating an air-tropolis at the Tucson International Airport, which I will concentrate on. Which has been ignored for many, many years, particularly by this incompetent board. It's about getting the roads paved. It's about looking for solutions and the political will of saying, this will be done. Whether it be trains, light-rail, whatever, it's going to take to create the transportation infrastructure that builds in economic prosperity," said Kelley.