Scramblewatch Q&A: Sharon Collins on Higher Ed

Sharon Collins is one of four GOP candidates running for Legislative District 30 House of Representatives. We asked her some questions on higher education.

Should the state provide more funding for universities?

I didn’t like what they did with the bricks and mortar this year but I’m a big supporter of education. People are disappointed with our education system.

Should the Board of Regents increase tuition for in-state students?

No, because that money doesn’t go back into the classroom. The professors are only required to teach four hours a day and I don’t think that’s right.

Should the Board of Regents increase tuition for out-of-state students?

No, it’s the same thing.

Should tuition money be used to provide financial aid for low-income students?

Yes.

Was it a good idea for the Legislature to allow the Board of Regents to borrow more than a billion dollars for capital projects, with the expectation that the bonds could be paid back through lottery proceeds?

No.

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Republican Sharon Collins on Crime

Republican Sharon Collins, who is one four candidates in the GOP primary for two open Arizona House of Representatives seats in Legislative District 30, answers a few questions on crime policies.

Should we increase state funding for prison construction?

I’ve heard that they (the Legislature) are spending a lot of money on prison construction. So, I would have to look at the cost versus building new prisons. No one wants a prison in their background so, that’s probably the biggest question. I would have to look at the cost of out-of-state versus building a new one.

Should we have more contracts with private prisons?

That’s what we’re doing now with the outside prisons. I think I would have to look at the cost savings versus building a new prison.

Should we spend more on program that provide prisoners with vocational education while they are behind bars?

Someone who is in a prison just sitting around watching TV or going out in the courtyard doing exercises should have access to a library and a computer, unless Continue reading

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Republican Sharon Collins on the Environment

Sharon Collins is one of four Republican candidates running for a seat in Legislative District 30 House of Representatives. We asked her some questions on environmental policy.

Do you support allowing some state trust land to be set aside for conservation without payment to the trust?

I don’t support it because it takes away the funding for the schools-that was set aside for education.

Should the state set fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks sold in Arizona?

We should have standards but they shouldn’t go over the federal standards like they did in California.

Should the state increase gasoline taxes to pay for more highway construction?

I’d say no. I don’t like taxes in general but money is to be used for things we can’t do for ourselves and transportation is one of those things.

Should the state require new schools to incorporate renewable-energy features such as solar panels if it will increase construction costs?

I would have to look at that. My husband is in construction and he’s working on the Rio Nuevo project downtown. They are trying to be very energy efficient but the problem is that it’s too expensive.

Should the state continue to provide tax credits for solar installation?

I think that’s OK.

Should the state enact environmental rules that are more strict then federal regulations?

No.

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Republican Sharon Collins on the State Budget

Republican candidate Sharon Collins is running for a House of Representatives seat in Legislative District 30 . We asked her if state spending is too high, too low, or just right in the following areas:

Education

We need to prioritize the money. Technology is where I would distribute more of it. We’ve got to get into the 21st century.

English Language Learning Programs

The problem is that we are mandated by law. The Legislature just passed a law that we have $40 million we have to spend. The Superintendent is taking that to court because he says the school districts have federal mandated money and if they could use that money, then we could offset and give them less. He suggested maybe $20 million.

Emergency preparedness

I don’t think that’s a problem. The National Guard is our armed force. The governor has the authority to lay out the National Guard if she declares an emergency. If the county had a problem, you have to go A through E to get some emergency funding. Then the governor would go to the feds.

Environment

Stick with me because of the Rosemont Mine situation is in my district. When I ran for mayor of Tucson, we had the water wars. I was on the side that the CAP water should go to the mines and Continue reading

Follow the Money: Cash Drop in Antenori/Sposito/ Gowan/Collins Four-Way GOP Primary

Doug Sposito

Republican Doug Sposito has triggered a flow of campaign funding in Legislative District 30, where four Republicans are competing for two House seats in the Sept. 2 primary.

Sposito, who is one of four Republicans running for the two House seat in Legislative District 30 that are being vacated by Reps. Marian McClure and Jonathan Paton, filed a “trigger” report last week revealing that he had spent more than $25,500 on his campaign.

Sposito is raising funds from private contributors; under the Clean Elections rules, that means his publicly funded GOP opponents, Sharon Collins and David Gowan, have also received roughly $4,500 in matching funds on top of the $19,382 that they got initially received from Clean Elections.

Frank Antenori

Left out in the big cash giveaway is the fourth Republican in the race, Frank Antenori, who decided to raise money from private contributors rather than use public funds.

Antenori, a former Green Beret who made his debut on Southern Arizona’s political stage two years ago in the five-way GOP primary to replace retiring congressman Jim Kolbe, is mad as hell about Sposito’s sudden spending spree. He complains that his GOP opponent has sold out after holding a fundraiser in Phoenix.

“He’s obviously sold out to special interests groups, most of which are from Phoenix,” says Antenori. “And the most disappointing thing is that I had thought that Mr. Sposito had principles and it’s obvious now that he doesn’t. He sold those principles to the highest bidder.”

Sposito, who had raised $6,064 as of May 31, says most of his newfound dollars came right from his own checkbook. The Sonoita-area homebuilder has lent his campaign $12,000.

“I haven’t sold my soul to anybody,” says Sposito, who lost a bid for the Legislative District 30 seat in 2004. “It’s unfortunate if Frank has decided to go negative in this campaign. It had been a good, honest run for office for all of us.”

Sposito adds that the Phoenix fundraiser only netted him somewhere around $2,500.

“Phoenix was a pretty dry well,” says Sposito, who adds that fundraising in general “has been going well” and he’s “confident that individual contributions will come in” so he’ll be able to repay the money he has loaned his campaign.

Antenori, who says he’s raised about $15K for the campaign, stood by his comments after hearing that Sposito had lent his campaign the money.

“Now he’s on the defensive, which tells me he has something to hide,” says Antenori, who adds that he’s raised almost of all his money in Southern Arizona. “At least the people giving me money can vote for me.”

But Antenori concedes that Randy Graf, the Republican lawmaker who represented District 30 for one term between 2002 and 2004, wrote a letter to Maricopa lobbyists asking for contributions to the Antenori campaign—a pitch that pretty much went nowhere.

“The people who called me back, I told them where I stood on the issues and they decided not to give me money,” he says.

Antenori suggests some Republican businessmen are backing Sposito because Continue reading

Today’s Political Action: Candidates Square Off in Debates!

Two big events for those of you who are not going to out to Tucson Electric Park for the very last buck-beer night, seeing as how we’ve lost our Triple-A Sidewinders to Reno after this season.

The Democratic candidates in Legislative District 27—Reps. Phil Lopes and Olivia Cajero Bedford and challenger John Kromko—will meet on KUAT-TV’s Arizona Illustrated at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 6. Moderators will be Arizona Illustrated anchor Bill Buckmaster and Tucson Weekly senior writer Jim Nintzel. The program repeats at 12:30 and 5:30 a.m. Friday, July 25.

If you’re craving live action, you can catch the four GOP candidates running for two House seats in Legislative District 30—Sharon Collins, Frank Antenori, Doug Sposito and David Gowan—at a Clean Elections debate at 7 p.m. at the PCC District Office, 4905 E. Broadway.

Spotlight on Republican Doug Sposito: House, LD30

Republican candidate Doug Sposito wants to bring the GOP back to its business roots.

A homebuilder and fourth-generation Arizonan who lives on his family ranch in Sonoita, Sposito says Arizona’s budget crisis prompted him to run for the open House of Representatives seats in Legislative District 30, where both incumbents are moving on. Rep. Jonathan Paton is aiming for LD30 Senate seat being vacated by Tim Bee, while Rep. Marian McClure is seeking a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission.

“We need more people who understand where money comes from and how money works,” Sposito told ScrambleWatch at a recent Cup Cafe interview.

Sposito says he knew when he was 4 years old that he wanted to Continue reading

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Republican Sharon Collins on Taxes

Republican Sharon Collins is one of four candidates in the Legislative District 30 House of Representatives GOP primary. We asked her a few questions about taxes.

Do you support the repeal of the state property tax?

Yes. I’m a Republican. I don’t believe we have taxed ourselves into prosperity yet, so yes.

Since it will cost the state $250 million what should the state cut to make up for lost revenue?

Well, we could take out the School Facility Board. That’s the board we build our public schools with but we used to do local bonding, which works very well and I think we need to do that.

Do you support borrowing for school construction?

Yes. I like bonding for school construction, local bonding. And believe me, it’s not that easy. The whole economics of education, how to figure it out, because $7 billion is mandated already with the budget so it’s very hard to have any extra money.

Would you support the TIME initiative, which would increase the sales tax by a penny for a dollar for highway, rail and local transportation?

After looking over the T.I.M.E. initiative I have decided not to support it. There are too many variables that have little to do with transportation.

I also think it seeks to provide monies for too many ideas and the money will go to a large money pit and only special interest specific ideas will be funded.

Spotlight on Republican Frank Antenori: House, LD30

Frank Antenori remembers the moment he realized he belonged in politics.

Antenori, who signed up with the Army right out of high school in Pennsylvania, had joined some other Green Berets on a trip to Washington to testify before Congress. He looked around and realized he was a lot more in touch than the politicians he was talking to. Remembers Antenori: “When I saw the caliber of people running this country, I said: ‘Oh my God, I can do this.’ I was not impressed.”

After finishing an 20-year military career that took him to Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Iraq (among other hot spots), Antenori, 42, took a job as a programs manager with Raytheon and moved to Tucson, where he wrote a book about an Iraqi battle his unit was involved in—Roughneck Nine-One—and kept an eye on politics.

When Congressman Jim Kolbe retired in 2006, Antenori decided to make his debut on the political stage as one of five Republicans competing in the primary.

Antenori says he knew from the start he wasn’t likely to win—he ended up with less than 5 percent of the vote—but he made a lot of connections, got some Continue reading

Our First Muckraker’s Challenge: Follow The Money!

Hey there, Jimmy Olsen: Here’s your chance to play investigative reporter!

Welcome to the very first ScrambleWatch Muckraker’s Challenge: Just yesterday, candidates for state and local office, as well as the backers of ballot initiatives, filed their campaign finance reports.

We’re challenging you to comb through the numbers and dig up some dirt. Post your exposé in the comments section below.

The best entries get four tickets to a Saturday night Sidewinders game!

IN RELATED NEWS: Numbers from two of the districts in ScrambleWatch’s spotlight

In Legislative District 26, Rep. Pete Hershberger is battling Al Melvin in the GOP primary for the Senate seat. Hershberger is running a traditional campaign, while Melvin has already qualified for nearly $13,000 in Clean Elections money.

Hershberger had raised more than $58,000 for his campaign, with nearly $23,800 coming in since the start of the year. He still had more than $39,600 at the end of the reporting period, which was May 31.

That gives him a financial advantage over Melvin, although Clean Elections rules will give Melvin a dollar-for-dollar match of every dime that Hershberger spends, up to three times Melvin’s original check for $12,921.

Hershberger will need plenty of bucks to defend himself against Melvin’s message that Hershberger is out of step with the GOP platform. Melvin was able to successfully run the same kind of campaign to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Toni Hellon two years ago in the northwest-side district. Melvin went on to lose the general election by fewer than 500 votes to Democrat Charlene Pesquiera, who is not running for re-election.

Whoever comes out of the GOP primary will face a tough race against Democrat Cheryl Cage, who has already received a check for $12,921 for her primary campaign from Clean Elections.

The three Republicans and two Democrats running for House seats in LD26, which is seen as a swing district in November, are all participating in Clean Elections. The two Democrats, incumbent Rep. Nancy Young Wright and Don Jorgensen, and Republicans Trent Humphries and Marilyn Zerull have received their Clean Elections funding, while Republican Vic Williams has not yet qualified.

Over in Legislative District 30, four Republicans are Continue reading

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