Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson is facing a challenge from fellow Democrat Donna Branch-Gilby in the Sept. 2 primary. In this interview with Tucson Weekly staff writer Mari Herreras, Bronson explains why she voted against turning over election databases to the Pima County Democratic Party. Learn more about the race here and look for coverage of the race in this week’s print edition of the Tucson Weekly.
Your opponent, Donna Branch-Gilby accuses you have being an obstructionist in how you voted when election integrity issues went before the board. Do you want a chance to explain why you voted against providing the election database files to the Democratic Party?
The reality is that we had the County Attorney and the Secretary of State concurred that the databases were not public records, and in order to release them we needed a court order to determine those really were public records. In January we released the records. It’s that simple. But it is a little more perplexing when we offered that same database but in a secure environment, but for some reason the Democratic Party didn’t find it satisfactory, and I still don’t understand why.
I’m all for election integrity. Who isn’t? But there remain two components we need to always things about—security and transparency. I think the recommendations we looked at on July 1 will help us move forward in balancing those issues.
Secretary of State Jan Brewer was not happy with any of the new procedures, so we also have to see what she does. But the Democratic board majority is very much committed. Even if they cost more, which they will. Democracy is very expensive.
Critics have questioned the culture of the board, describing the atmosphere as sometimes caustic. But they’ve also questioned your party affiliation saying you aren’t really a Democrat and rarely show-up for party functions. Is this just politics?
My first priority as an elected official is to serve my constituents who live and work in my district, which covers 7,400 square miles. There are many constituents I have to serve and places I have to appear that aren’t so close to the city core. But I certainly have been supportive of electing other Democrats to office. I have the support of Karen Uhlich and Nina Trasoff from the Tucson City Council and an endorsement from Governor Janet Napolitano and Terry Goddard. And certainly from Regina Romero, Senator Aboud, Rep. Lopez, and Senator Soltero. Clearly I have worked with the party.
In the end what we want to do is stop playing politics and get more Democrats elected on a local and national level.