Three to Get Ready: A Look at the Legislative District 26 House Race

Trent Humphries

Originally published Aug. 28 in the Tucson Weekly

Republican Trent Humphries was flushed and dripping sweat as he rang a doorbell in the Del Webb neighborhood in northeast Tucson in mid-July. The man who answered wasn’t interested.

“I’m watching the All-Star Game,” the resident complained. “What do you want?”

It wasn’t the warmest greeting that Humphries experienced as he walked door-to-door in an effort to promote his campaign for a House seat in Legislative District 26, which stretches from Saddlebrooke through Oro Valley and across the Catalina Foothills.

But canvassing precincts is one of the old-fashioned ways that Humphries and his fellow LD26 Republicans–Vic Williams and Marilyn Zerull–have been introducing themselves to voters.

Vic Williams

All three are political rookies with little name ID coming into the campaign. Humphries, who owns a computer-repair company, was better known as “Framer,” his nom de guerre on a local blog he began penning during the 2006 election season. Williams retired to Tucson after selling off a successful warehouse-supply business and took up politics as a hobby, helping out with various party functions and organizing a GOP cigar club. Zerull has been a party activist for many years, as well as a volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America.

Even though Republicans have a registration advantage in LD 26, there are no GOP incumbents in the race. One of the House members, Republican Pete Hershberger, is running in the district’s GOP Senate primary against Al Melvin. The other House member is a Democrat, Nancy Young Wright, who is seeking election to the seat after finishing up the term of Lena Saradnik, who stepped down after suffering a stroke.

The split representation makes Legislative District 26 one of Arizona’s rare swing districts. That means Democrats hope to hang on to the seat they have and win the second seat in November as part of their effort to flip at least four seats statewide and gain a majority in the 60-member House of Representatives.

The three Republicans in the upcoming primary, on the other hand, want to see the GOP reclaim dominance in the district.

Humphries, who has been funded by $12,921 in Clean Elections funds, has embraced some innovative campaign strategies in the race. He’s hosted forums on key issues in the district, including health care and law enforcement. His emphasis on keeping the state out of Continue reading

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ScrambleWatch Q&A: Republican Trent Humphries on Education

Trent Humphries is one of three Republicans running for a seat in Legislative District 26 House of Representatives GOP primary that voters will decide on Sept. 2. We asked him some questions about education policy.

Should the AIMS test remain a requirement for graduation?

No, by the time graduation comes around, the horse has already left the barn. We need to be tracking that from the minute they start the first grade and on as well as work to address any deficiencies before graduation day.

Do you favor any changes to the AIMS test?

We need something like the MAPS test to get the metrics we need. The AIMS test doesn’t really bring us the numbers we need to make sound decisions.

Do you support state-funded vouchers for private or religious schools?

No, not at this time, just because there is a lot of push back from the private school system, so until that can be resolved, I’m pretty happy with the current charter school system.

Does the state need to spend more on school construction and should we borrow to pay for that construction?

I think we need to look at that on a case-by-case basis. I would like to see us work Continue reading

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Republican Trent Humphries on Higher Education

Republican candidate Trent Humphries is one of the three GOP candidates running for two seats in the Legislative District 26 House of Representatives primary that voters will decide on Sept. 2. We asked him some questions on higher education.

Should the state provide more funding for universities?

I would want to see a break down of what exactly is needed. For instance if its for replacing buildings and things like that then yea definately but not without a specific plan in place for exactly where that money was going. Generally higher education is a good investment.

Should the Board of Regents increase tuition for in-state and/or out-of-state students?

Again, if we’re going to increase tuition, I want to see a specific plan-ya know you have to think about the student and provide them with the reasons why we plan to increase it. Because if all its for is administration costs, then I don’t think its fair to ask the students to pay it. If that’s the case, then I think the universities need to buck up and find better results but if there is going to be an advantage to students why there are added tuition costs then yea.

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

I think there is some value in securing some of your education through the sweat of your brow. I did and I think there is some advantage to that. However, it is hard for some people to get into college and, yes, I think we should help them.

Do you support the Board of Regents’ proposal to borrow more than a billion dollars for capital projects?

You know, I would like to see them put that off for a year or two. I think we need to divert spending elswhere. If there is something that is critical and could really effect education at the university level, then of course.

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Republican Trent Humphries on Taxes

Republican candidate Trent Humphries is one of three candidates in the Legislative District 26 House of Representatives GOP primary. We asked him some questions about taxes.

Do you support the repeal of the state property tax?

Yes. If we’re going to get out of the funk we’re in, businesses are going to have to step in. Anything we can do to free them up where they can make up that difference is great. Like I said at the (recent Clean Elections) debate, the last thing we want to do is whatever kills the golden goose.

Since it will cost the state $250 million, what should the state cut to make up for that difference?

Well one thing I’d like to see is having the same sunset provision for state spending as we do for tax cuts. We could also put a freeze on all budgets-maybe not on all things, for instance education, but the majority we could freeze. Bottom line, we need to put emphasis on making wise spending choices.

Do you support borrowing for school construction?

It seems really short-sighted to me. I mean there may be times where it is needed, however there needs to be an aggressive payback schedule. People have told me we can’t build without borrowing so we just continue to borrow and borrow and borrow and we build up this wall of debt. That’s obviously not a wise strategy. There may be a time when borrowing might be necessary to contain a project for instance, but it should be rare and it should be planned for as far the exact break down.

Would you vote for the TIME initiative, which increases the sales tax by a penny per dollar to fund highway, rail and local transportation projects?

I hate that initiative! Even setting aside the dodgy way it was written and the way the signatures were paid for, in Southern Arizona we should really look at it hard because we know the profits from that sales tax probably won’t be spent in our area. It just smells like Rio Nuevo to me, in which you have a board free from legislative oversight that makes all the spending decisions but doesn’t ever spell out exactly what that money is used for. It puts you in a position to get a lot of money that doesn’t effect the constituents with no accountability for that money.

Legislative Candidate Trent Humphries Hosts Public Forum

Republican Trent Humphries has been hosting healthcare forums as part of his campaign for an Legislative District 26 House seat. This weekend, he shifts gears to public safety with panel that will include local law enforcement officers and Mike Andrews, assistant director of Homeland Security in the Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement.

Also in attendance: Republican Brad Roach, a former Pima County prosecutor who is now running for Pima County attorney against incumbent Democrat Barbara LaWall.

Panelists will discuss local crime rates and the audience will be able to weigh in on smuggling, assault, car theft and other safety and security issues affecting Southern Arizona.

The Crime, Border Security and Safety Forum will be at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 6, at the Pima County Public Works Conference Room C, 201 N. Stone. Free parking is available at the Pima County Public Works parking garage.

Debate Throwdown: Hershberger Vs. Melvin

Rep. Peter HershbergerGet a look at the two wings of the GOP fighting for the future when social conservative Al Melvin debates Country-Club Republican Pete Hershberger at tomorrow night’s Clean Elections Legislative District 26 forum. Hershberger, who is now representing LD26 in the House, wants to move to the upper chamber; Melvin, who knocked out incumbent Sen. Toni Hellon in the 2006 GOP primary, wants to represent the pure GOP platform in Phoenix.

The fun starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 2, at the Nanini Library, 7300 N. Shannon Road.

House candidates Trent Humphries, Marilyn Zerull and Vic Williams are also invited to join the forum.