Tucson Weekly Endorsements: McClure, Wong, Newman for Arizona Corporation Commission

We are thoroughly unimpressed with Democrat Sam George, a name-changing, media-dodging political weasel if ever there were one. And his running mate, Sandra Kennedy, isn’t much better. So we’re endorsing Republicans Marian McClure and Barry Wong.

While we disagree with her on a few votes, McClure has done a great job representing Southern Arizona in the Legislature, and we believe she’ll do the same on the Corporation Commission.

Wong has already served a brief stint on the Corporation Commission and understands the issues that the ACC faces. Like McClure, he supports the commission’s alternative-energy portfolio that requires utilities to produce a portion of their power from renewable sources.

Democrat Paul Newman–who has done good work as a Cochise County supervisor–is the only Democrat in this race who deserves your vote, although he loses points for allying himself with Kennedy and George. Like the Republicans, Newman supports requiring utilities to produce more energy from renewable sources.

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ScrambleWatch Q&A: Republican Marian McClure on Renewable Energy Standards

As a part of our coverage for the Arizona Corporation Commission race, ScrambleWatch asked Republican Marian McClure about the role of the agency in setting policy about clean energy.

Is the free market the proper mechanism to promote cleaner energy or should government be involved?

I think it’s a combination of both (the market, and government involvement). I think you need to incentivize and next year I will approach some of my colleagues about incentivizing the market to in fact make more of an investment into cleaner fuel, or cleaner electricity.

What do you think of the current Renewable Energy Standard?

Well, I wouldn’t try to change the Clean Energy Portfolio at all. I don’t know that I would have voted for it originally, because I don’t like mandates. But let’s face facts, if you’ve got TEP building a power plant, SRP doing the same thing and ARP doing it, those are the three biggest power companies, and I don’t know why we would want to do anything differently.

Payday Loan Effort Bounces

Rep. Marian McClure has made it official: She has given up on Stop Payday Loans, an initiative effort she was chairing that would have curtailed the payday lending industry. McClure tells ScrambleWatch she only had about 30,000 signatures and needed more than 153,000 by July 3 to qualify for the November ballot.

Last month, Democratic state Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, who was also leading a team gathering signatures for the effort, announced she was throwing in the towel and instead focusing on defeating a competing proposal sponsored by the payday loan sharks.

That effort—known as the Payday Loan Reform Act—is likely to reach the ballot.

McClure, who has reached her term limit in the House of Representatives and is one of eight Republicans seeking a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission, says she’ll help with the effort to defeat Payday Loan Reform Act.

McClure says the payday-loan sharks could enact most of the so-called reforms in their plan without any legislation at all.

The real reason they’re pushing a ballot initiative: There’s a sunset clause that automatically repeals the legislation that allowed them to set up shop in the first place, which means they won’t be able to stay in business past 2010 with new legislative approval. And even if they manage to get the Legislature to extend or eliminate that sunset clause, they still need to get Gov. Janet Napolitano to sign the bill.

Opponents of the Payday Loan Reform Act believe they have a better chance of defeating it if there is not a competing measure on the ballot.

Stay tuned to ScrambleWatch for complete coverage of the ballot initiatives when they qualify for the ballot next month!