Residence: Sonoita, since 2008
Education/licenses/certifications/military: Attended Ohio State University and Columbus Business School but hold no degrees. Taken courses in business management, accounting, procurement, leadership and communication.
Recent Employment: Retired in 2007 after selling a successful haircare company that I helped found. Started a business/brand/marketing consulting company. Co-owner and a part-time operator of Sonoita Propane, LLC.
Community organizations/activities: Elgin Club, Santa Cruz County Fair and Rodeo Assn. I have also served on the Friends of the Patagonia
Library Board and volunteered for the Sonoita Elgin Fire District.
Previous Public Office/Service: None
Q & A
Why are you running for this seat on the Board of Supervisors?
District 3 of Santa Cruz County is home to one of the most beautiful and diverse areas of the State, but it’s also one that is fraught with complicated problems and issues – and that was before the Covid-19 pandemic. The current lack of transparency with which county officials, supervisors, and management operate is inappropriate and contrary to the very words public process. It’s counterproductive to problem solving and diminishes trust in office. It appears that county officials have lost the concept that they are public servants whose salaries are generated by taxpayers. I believe our constituents deserve better and that my proven track record and business expertise can will help navigate the stormy waters that lie ahead.
What unique qualities would you bring to the Board of Supervisors?
As an executive vice president in the corporate world, I’ve had to deliver top line growth and bottom-line profit for owners and shareholders. I had to have the vision to know how, when, and where to manifest that growth, and from there, be able to develop the strategic plans that provided the path to all those waiting to execute them. I monitored budgets to make sure we delivered the profit we promised. Vision, planning, and communicating are not concepts our county officials seem to gravitate towards. My expertise could make a substantial difference in how we operate. Oh, and did I mention that I’m female? I’m a wife, mother and grandmother.
What are the two biggest challenges the County faces and how do you plan to address them? The shelter-in-place, traveler restrictions, and quarantines have crushed the economy and are killing small businesses across the state. Santa Cruz County will be greatly affected if state and federal monies dry up. Had Governor Ducey not dropped $2.9 million into the county already, we would no doubt be in dire straits. If elected, I will lead a concerted effort to reach out to help existing businesses stay afloat and will put a true effort on economic development. We must also acknowledge that industry diversity is paramount to county growth. We cannot rely too heavily on the border for our economic expansion. The hardest part of that challenge will be to grow our county economy without harming our natural resources. The other critical issue facing our future is Public Health and Safety. Santa Cruz County was ill prepared to deal with this pandemic and still has no County Health Board as mandated by ARS 36-183. If elected I will fight to have funds redirected to a County Health Board, with a physician at its helm. We must be prepared to fight future pandemics while acknowledging that, as a border county, we face more challenges than most. We must protect our citizens and all essential border crossers.
What do you think the County’s biggest environmental challenges are, and how do you think the County should address them? Water conservation/water pollution and wildfire mitigation are two of my biggest environmental concerns for Santa Cruz county. Our county is mostly dependent on groundwater, especially the Santa Cruz River. It’s why we must protect our ground water and also stay vigilant with the repairs and maintenance of the IOI. A source for continual pollution when breached by storms or mechanical failures, it could be a public health risk of immeasurable proportion if not protected. Wildfire mitigation can be a life, and property, saving decision. We need a task force in the county to provide education to our constituents, and to liaison with the fire departments and wildlife groups. There is money available for a program like this via Wildfire/Hazardous Fuels grants, which are available to fire departments, local governments and educational institutions.
What would you do to improve the County’s internet infrastructure?
Broadband access is more important than ever due to shelter-in-place and social distancing. Remote learning, telemedicine, video conferencing, and of course entertainment, all depend on it. This county has a unique challenge with regards to topography and cell towers. Our other challenge is that cell towers are a love/hate situation with regards to constituents. Everybody wants and demands better service, but ONLY if it’s not in their sight line. Doing nothing about this is not the answer. Businesses gravitate to other regions with greater broadband infrastructure, capacity, and resiliency. This situation will continue to impede our growth. This is another area where lack of vision, planning and communication affects our county. There are monies available. The ACA (Arizona Commerce Authority) provided 3 million dollars in grants in 2020 to help rural Arizona communities of less than 150,000 residents improve broadband service. The monies went to non-profits focused on economic development and for-profit companies in the telecommunication industry. Planning awards went to counties and cities, while development awards went to corporations. We need leaders with the foresight to see the challenges in advance, and the impetus to change – before change is needed..
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?
District 3 is unique, and challenging, in that it is the most widespread and diverse district in the county, covering everything from border produce in Rio Rico, to riparian areas in Patagonia, and agritourism and wine country in Sonoita-Elgin. The eastern part of the county has felt disenfranchised and abused by county officials, supervisors and managers for years. Paved roads, trash pick-up, street lights, etc., all the things you take for granted in other areas as being provided in exchange for real estate taxes are non-existent here in the East County. Is it any wonder that when our County Supervisors and County Manager decided to close the Sonoita Courthouse with the promise to save $200k per year, that it felt like the last straw? We still aren’t seeing that kind of savings. Also, it didn’t help when the District 3 County Supervisor that voted to close the courthouse for the savings, also petitioned the County Supervisors to give the Port Authority, where he serves on the board as Treasurer, $250k to build cold storage facilities on the border. Save money here in the East County to give it away there. My goal is to be a Uniter. To listen to all constituents of District 3 and let them know that their voice matters. If it’s real estate tax adjustments that are needed, then my job as a representative would be to turn over every rock to find it. And if a suggestion is made by a county manager to close down a service to save money, then my job as a representative is to reach out to those affected and get their input before these decisions are arbitrarily made. Had the county performed a sufficient cost benefit analysis on the closure of the Sonoita courthouse and provided the info to the residents of the east county before they made their decision to close it, I don’t think we would be where we are today.