TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - This election, Republicans are hoping to change the balance of power on the Pima County Board of Supervisors.
Steve Christy is the Republican candidate for District 4. The retirement of longtime Supervisor Ray Carroll left that seat vacant. Christy's opponent is Josh Reilly of the Green Party.
Steve Christy is a former car dealer who stayed active in the community through service like a term on the state transportation board.
On the continuing issue of how to repair Pima County's rough roads, he'd like to see if the community would support revising the mission of the Regional Transportation Authority. That would allow a share of the RTA sales tax to supplement declining gas tax revenue to repair roads. The RTA's current mission is to expand roads.
Christy understands as communities compete to attract new businesses it's standard to offer incentives like tax breaks but he says Pima County mishandled the Worldview deal.
That company will launch balloons to take tourists to the edge of space. It also flies military and scientific payloads. But the conservative Goldwater Institute sued, saying to deal to build Worldview a spaceport was so generous it was an illegal gift.
"If I had been on the board, I would have asked that we either go to a study session or tabled it to allow for a more in depth look at it to ensure that it follows the state constitution to make sure that it is a good deal."
Christy did not draw a Democratic opponent. His sole challenger is Josh Reilly from the Green Party. He wants to see Pima County set the minimum wage at 15 dollars an hour and rely less on property tax and sales tax to pay for county government.
He says, “I'd also like to get rid of the regressive taxation model, the way that our taxes are actually levied. I'd like to move towards having that upper one percent pay the lion's share of the taxes with a graduated income tax."
On Reilly’s income tax proposal Christy says”That is not in the purview of the County to be placing taxes on personal individuals."
Both candidates have reservations about longtime County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. Josh Reilly takes issue with the administrator making more than 300 thousand dollars a year when many people in Pima County live below the poverty line.
Steve Christy says after 20 years running a county it may be time for Huckelberry to retire and let new leaders tackle the county's problems.
He says, “If he chooses not to retire which, I think would be the best case scenario I will not vote to renew his contract and I'm certain if that majority comes to fruition that is going to be the case with the other Republicans, should they be elected."
And when Christy talks about majority, he's talking about the chance that with three seats up for election, the majority on the board could tilt from Democrat to Republican.