The Verde Valley hasn’t had a representative in the legislature for a very long time; not since the Republican Party purged Tom O’Hallorhan as a RINO (Republican In Name Only) because he understood the value of improving public education.
This election cycle may be our best opportunity in more than four years to change the tenor of the legislature by electing highly qualified and dedicated candidates. Three of the best appeared together on Democratic Perspective.
They are Angela LeFevre and Doug Ballard, who are running as a team for the two House seats in the new LD-6 district, and Tom Chabin who is running for the State Senate from LD-6. Each brings a unique set of skills and strengths to the campaign.
Angela earned a degree in Economics and International Relations. She has worked as a teacher and as a senior manager for a Fortune 500 company. She also started her own small business. So she has a broad-based understanding of what it will take to improve Arizona’s economy and its struggling education system.
Doug was previously Director of Planning and Development for the City of Chandler where he successfully worked to attract industry giants like Intel and Motorola, bringing thousands of jobs to Arizona. He now lives in Parks, near Flagstaff.
Tom has served in the Arizona House of Representatives since 2007. Since moving to Arizona in 1972, he has been a small business owner, president to his parish, member of the school PTO and other committees, a volunteer for the Coconino County Planning and Zoning Commission, even as a Little League coach. In 1992, he was elected to the Coconino Board of Supervisors, which he served for 8 years.
To clarify the changes in the legislative districts, we turned to Angela. “There are two seats in LD-6. There are 30 districts in Arizona and LD-6 is the result of redistricting,” she said. “The biggest difference is the Verde Valley and Sedona. Redistricting moved us from LD-1 where we used to be, and that was dominated by Prescott, so all those who were representing us were basically from Prescott. The new district of LD-6 includes Coconino County, except for the Navajo Nation. It also includes Gila County down to Tonto Basin and Navajo County as far as Holbrook.”
Putting the size of district in perspective, it is roughly the size of Vermont with Flagstaff and the Verde Valley as the largest population centers in the district.
“I’m excited to run, because I do see an opportunity to be the voice for all of the Verde Valley, including Sedona,” said Angela. “I want to talk to everyone so I can listen and understand the issues of the area,” she continued. “It’s great that we’re in a competitive district, which means every vote will count.”
Turning to Doug, we asked him to talk more about his qualifications. “When I was in Chandler, we attracted the biggest economic locates in the history of Arizona, most specifically Intel,” he said. “I was honored to work on those. Obviously I worked on many small business issues, many medium-sized business issues, on office development – more than 6 million sq. ft. of office development and over 8 million sq. ft. of high-tech development. Collectively they represented approximately $10 billion to Arizona.”
When asked why he decided to run, Doug replied, “It’s all about jobs and it’s all about the economy. I for one have gotten pretty tired of the hyper-partisanship down in the legislature and all of the divisive bills and divisive issues that have been brought forward; regulating women’s access to contraception; guns in schools, and all of these types of things that don’t get to the basic issues of what we need in this state to turn things around.”
“Another thing I might add is education,” Doug continued. “You can’t build a strong economy on weak education. Time and again the legislature has voted to gut our educational system – $400 million worth of cuts last year alone. I’m paraphrasing, but Craig Barrett who I know and worked with (he was the CEO of Intel) has said that Arizona will not see another high-tech locate based upon the direction it’s going relative to education. It’s so important, if we’re going to compete on a national and international stage, we have to get our act together on education.”
Turning to Tom, we asked about his 5 years in the legislature as a member of the House of Representatives. “I’ve been witness to these silly bills and the silly ideas that turn into law,” he said.
Asked how he survives down there, Tom responded, “You’d be surprised how often I get that question. Someone will approach me and say, ‘I’m a Republican, but guns on campus? Mining uranium in the Grand Canyon? How do you work with people who want to take over all the federal parks and sell them off?’ Well, I just tell them there has to be a voice there of reason and moderation.”
As for the selling off of our national parks, Tom explained, “My opponent, Chester Crandall, from Heber-Overgaard, passed a referral to the voters that would establish sovereignty over all federal lands, sovereignty over military bases, sovereignty over the Grand Canyon National Park, sovereignty over our national forests. That’s going to be on the ballot. That sounds pretty radical doesn’t it? More radical, it would undo two amendments to our state Constitution that were a condition from Congress for statehood. It’s like unstitching the Arizona star from the American flag.”
Asked if the silliness is also wasting our money, Tom stated, “For certain, here we have our legislature suing the Independent Redistricting Commission over the legislative maps which were adopted and in place. We as taxpayers are not only paying for the lawsuit against the Redistricting Commission, we as taxpayers are paying to defend the Independent Redistricting Commission.”
He continued, “Doug and Angela’s opponent, Representative Brenda Barton, was an advocate for giving Russell Pearce $267,000 because he lost his recall election. Russell Pearce would have put that money into his pocket. Ms. Barton actually spoke in favor of that.”
To learn more about the candidates, including what they consider the most important issues, please listen to the entire interview and visit their websites: