Come election day, Tucson voters will decide who will be the next Legislative District 10 representative in the State House of Representatives.
There are three candidates in the race: Republican Todd Clodfelter, Democrat Kirsten Engel, and incumbent Democrat Stefanie Mach.
Stefanie Mach is seeking her third term as the LD10 representative. She cites her experience and voting record are two key things she brings to the ticket.
Todd Clodfelter explained he's a small business owner and Tucsonan for 45 years. He's gunning for his first term in the State House, and believes he can bring a balancing voice to the ticket.
Kirsten Engel is a law professor at the University of Arizona. Like Clodfelter, she's seeking a first term in the State House. She believes her legal background differentiates her from the other candidates on the ballot.
One of this year's key ballot items is Prop. 205, which would legalize the use and regulation of recreational marijuana in Arizona. All of the candidates are okay with the idea of legalizing marijuana, but they won't all be voting in favor of the proposition.
"The bill is poorly written. And I think it's going to create more problems than benefit," Clodfelter said. "I think it's not necessarily a bad initiative, but the wording of the initiative is poorly done."
"It's not ideal," Engel said. "But I think we are actually better off with legalizing marijuana than keeping it illegal as it is now."
"It's a drug that's never killed anyone," Mach said. "And certainly, it'll be regulated the same way alcohol and other products that are just as dangerous for kids."
Another widely debated ballot item is Prop. 206. This proposition would raise minimum wage across the state to $12/hour by 2020. Mach and Engel will both be voting in favor of this proposition.
"People need to be valued for the work that they've put forward," Mach said. "And it's a progression, the way that this proposition is put forward."
"The minimum wage as it is today is really not a living wage," Engel said. "So, I think we do have to look at increasing it."
Clodfelter, on the other hand, will be voting against this proposition.
"Minimum wage is generally entry point labor. It's not to be used as an income, a lifelong income, you're supposed to advance from that."
The three candidates, all from different backgrounds, see both the state and the legislative district a little bit differently. But as for the key issues they want to work towards are similar. Education, the number one priority for Engel and Mach, industry and commerce for Clodfelter.
"Investing in education is going to be my top priority," Engel said. "And also trying to push our economy in a more environmentally sustainable direction."
"Education is the backbone of the middle class," Mach said. "It's the opportunity that having an education affords a person and the community."
"Industry and commerce is number one, because if we can expand our employment base and our industry base, we can expand our tax base," Clodfelter said. "Which means we have more revenue coming in."
Full, extended interviews with the candidates are posted below.