Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson is facing a challenge from fellow Democrat Donna Branch-Gilby in the Sept. 2 primary. The Tucson Weekly interviewed Bronson about why she’s seeking a fourth term. Learn more about the race here.
How does it feel going for your fourth term in office as a member of the Pima County Board of Supervisors?
It doesn’t feel like it’s been 12 years, but literally feels like it’s been 12 days.
The district is larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. You’re literally always on the go.
There are so many needs in the communities that comprise District 3. I’ve enjoyed working with the constituents in helping them bring good things to the community.
Ajo is a good example. It’s far from the city of Tucson and the city core. Since I’ve been elected we’ve been doing some important work for that community. We’d invite you to take a tour of the Curley School. It is an economic development project, it’s an affordable housing project, and it’s an affordable and livable workspace for artists and artisans. It is really moving the economy of Ajo.
When the mine closed the economy of Ajo was seriously threatened, as well as the lives of the residents of Ajo. It’s a cutting edge project for rural economic development. We’ve brought it about $11 million (to match private contributions of) $30 million in that project and we’re not done yet. They’ve just recent converted the old cafeteria into a museum and gift shop for the artists to sell their work, and we’ve also create a micro-business center so the artists and artisans know how to market their products. It’s not only about creating a sustainable economy. You can have to also create community.
Critics of the board of supervisors say you and your fellow supervisors do not make real policy decision, but that it’s Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry who makes the decisions. How is county policy made?
Chuck Huckelberry serves at the pleasure of the majority of the board. The boards of supervisors are very much in control. That’s why we have the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan to begin with and that’s why we’re moving forward with the sustainability initiative. These were directions given to the county administrator and he is charged with taking policies we want implemented and implementing them.
We stopped playing those zero sum games of someone wins and somebody loses. We’ve created positive relationship with the city of Tucson. We’ve moved forward in a very positive way that creates opportunities for all of us in this community and for our children.
Has Huckelberry become a scapegoat for the county’s problems?
I’m not sure we have problems. I think we have solutions. Taking pendulum politics of the past and moving forward is how we’ve decided to run the county.
How has that strategy benefited District 3?
The 2004 neighborhood investment bonds we’re used those to improve the city corridor that exists in District 3, such as the Grant Road corridor to Flowing Wells, and to the rural communities, like Arivaca.