Name: Bruce Bracker

Residence: How long? Tubac, 30 years

Education/licenses/certifications/military: High school diploma, trained to be a professional Chef

Recent employment: County 

Supervisor District 3, Santa Cruz County AZ; 30 years at Bracker’s Department Store until shutdown in 2018; Chef for 8 years

Community organizations:

EPA Local Advisory Committee, Member

International Boundary and Water Commission’s Southeastern Arizona Advisory Council, Member

Arizona Border Counties Coalition, Representative of Santa Cruz 

County

Greater Nogales Santa Cruz 

County Port Authority, Past Chairman, Board Member and current Treasurer  

Downtown Merchants Association, Past President

Nogales Community Development, Founding Member

Nogales Lions Club, Past President and current active member

Nogales Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Citizens Academy, Graduate

Santa Cruz County Workforce 

Investment Board, Member

Nogales /Santa Cruz County 

Chamber of Commerce, Member

Theodore Gebler Trust/Associated Charities of Nogales, President 

Ambos Nogales Partnership Plan

Previous public office/service:

Santa Cruz County Board of 

Supervisors 2017-Current

Q & A

Why are you running for this seat on the Board of Supervisors?

Family tradition and personal commitment drives me to find ways to make life better for the residents of our community. It is important to work with employers to make sure they have the tools they need to grow and make long-term investments in our community. That is why I continue to advocate for the interests of Santa Cruz County residents with the mine that is being developed in Patagonia. We are working with them to keep the haul trucks out of the Patagonia town center. We are also advocating for trucks that rely on alternative fuel to reduce emissions and for funding improvements for our schools, parks and community facilities. We want them to explore every possible opportunity to hire and buy locally. I also am a fervent advocate for the promotion of our eco-tourism. We must continue to fight for innovative economic development tools like the Cold Room at the Mariposa Port of entry that will help keep our County competitive with Texas and California, for more efficient government, for better roads, for better parks and for more multi-use pathways.

What unique qualities do you bring to the Board of Supervisors?

I bring decades of experience building relationships with community organizations and nonprofits. I have been able to leverage networks and relationships to help bring such results as the modernization of Mariposa Road (SR-189) and the cure-in-place of the International Outflow Interceptor. I co-founded the Arizona Border Counties Coalition (ABCC), an affiliation of the four Arizona border counties to advance economic development opportunities along the US-Mexico border.The skills I learned over the last 30 years and the challenges I faced as a small business owner for 30 years have helped me better appreciate the needs of my constituents.

What are the two biggest challenges the County faces and how do you plan to address them?

The most immediate challenge is the effect that COVID-19 has had on our County. We advocated with the office of the Governor for the ability to mandate face coverings. In addition, Santa Cruz County is securing grants to bring additional testing to our community to help deal with the spread of this virus. We will be contacting representatives from six business sectors and the public to determine what the business needs will be over the next three years. Our second biggest challenge is a financial one. Rural Arizona has not recovered from the financial crisis in 2008 and the state legislature continues to shift costs to the counties. We must remain vigilant to prevent the legislature from shifting any additional expenses. All elected officials and county department heads need to continue to evaluate if there are any additional efficiencies that we can realize. We must not lose sight that our long-term viability is based on supporting local job creation and business growth to expand our tax base. 

What do you think the County’s biggest environmental challenges are, and how do you think the County should address them?

Conservation easements, solid waste and recycling, and air and water quality are the biggest environmental challenges facing the county. The county has been exploring options to develop long-term solutions for landfill service. Recycling has been a challenge in our community, a challenge that is compounded with the drop in demand for recyclables. The COVID-19 Pandemic has delayed a county pilot program for recyclable products. For some of the recyclables such as glass, we are looking for local ways to reuse. Conservation easements are an excellent tool to preserve our most treasured assets and open space. Through local advocacy and ADEQ enforcement both ground water contamination and air particulate issues are being monitored. We also work closely with ADEQ on international wastewater issues that affect the Santa Cruz River. Recently the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) and ADEQ announced that $39 million that will be invested in making major repairs to the International Outflow Interceptor (IOI), a sewer line that connects Nogales Sonora to the International Waste Water treatment Plant at Rio Rico. These repairs will offer a cure-in-place for the IOI. We are also in contact with ADEQ and the Environment and Water Resources Committee of the Arizona-Mexico Commission in order to keep apprised of binational efforts to protect the environment. Finally, we are working to bring Hudbay and the Nature Conservancy together to address Hudbay’s plan for upper Sonoita Creek.

What would you do to improve the County’s internet infrastructure?

In a special meeting on June 15 the Board of Supervisors in collaboration

with the County Superintendent of Schools, approved a contract to identify all the “middle mile” high speed internet fiber throughout the county in a study that will serve as a key building block to improving our broadband capacity. In addition, we are looking at some of the grant opportunities from the state and federal governments in helping to narrow the digital divide, some of which have already been submitted. These grants will help connect underserved parts of our community to assist in distance learning for K-12 schools, adult education and telemedicine. The result will be a robust high-speed internet connectivity throughout the county. 

In the past two years there have been calls from residents in the Eastern part of the county to secede and join Cochise County. What would you do as supervisor to address concerns in the Eastern part of the district?

The call to secede from Santa Cruz and to join Cochise County has been led by a vocal minority who were upset by the closure of the Justice of the Peace Court in Sonoita. After detailed analysis, it would have been financially imprudent not to close down the facilities. This goes back to the commitment, as a Supervisor, to be prepared to make the tough decisions for the long term good and sustainability for the County. The savings from that closure now totals just under $300,000.00 dollars. If we had not made these difficult decisions, the recession that we are facing because of the pandemic would have meant that far more County services would have been curtailed. The push for the secession of that portion of the county to Cochise County, in my opinion, is an irresponsible one, as there has been little analysis as to the implications this could have on both counties. Regardless of the opposition and countless personal attacks, we have not strayed from the course of fighting to make improvements in the East County.  I have worked with the wineries and the Rodeo and Fairgrounds to address their needs and to advocate on their behalf. Since my first year in office, the Rodeo and Fairgrounds, has received a cash contribution of $25,000.00 each year for the past three years. The county has supported them with maintenance needs including the work crew from the state correctional institution. In working with the wineries, it was determined that there was a need for new way-finding signage to provide a more tourist and user-friendly environment. The first phase of this project was completed this past spring with signage placed on Elgin and Upper Elgin Roads. I worked with the Deputy County Manager/Public Works Director to advance road projects and improved maintenance. As a result, the county has completed over 28 miles of chip seal on roads in the Sonoita/Elgin area including extensive work on Elgin Road. After the 2017 fire in Sonoita, the county added water capacity in the maintenance yard with a quick fill tank and by rehabilitating the pond and installing a pump to fill firefighting equipment.