Candidates David Garcia, Doug Ducey, Angel Torres Vie For Arizona Governor
Green Party candidate Angel Torres and Democrat David Garcia are both trying to unseat Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, as the incumbent seeks a second term in office.
Torres says he’s bringing his experiences from the airline industry to the race to represent working people. At a Citizens Clean Elections debate in September, Torres said it was a perspective that’s been lost in the discussion about politics.
“I’m a union member," Torres said. "And the way that we’ve been able to improve our standard of living is because of our union contracts. So what I want to do as governor is I want to be able to help create worker-owned businesses, get more people organized into the union of their choice.”
The power of collective action was evident this summer as teachers walked out of the classroom and descended upon the state Capitol to demand higher wages.
Democrat candidate and ASU education professor Garcia is hoping to capitalize on the #RedForEd movement. Garcia says he entered the race to take on what he calls an education crisis in the state.
“At the end of Doug Ducey’s administration, 75,000 teachers walked out because we are still one of the last in the country in education," Garcia said. "They were demanding more and they did not get what they were demanding.”
Ducey says he was handed a significant deficit at the beginning of his administration. And Ducey has criticized Garcia for promising increases without establishing a source of revenue.
“David isn’t talking at all about his plan," Ducey said. "How is he going to fund the programs that he wants to move forward? He wanted to double income taxes for people in the state of Arizona — that’s no longer on the ballot — he still is talking through all of the things that he wants to do but he has no funding plan.”
Proposition 207 would have raised taxes on income of more than $250,000 annually. However the Arizona Supreme Court removed Proposition 207 from the ballot in August over wording in the ballot petitions.
In response to the teacher strike, Ducey announced plans to increase education spending.
“The amount of dollars that will be going into teacher pay will be an increase of 20 percent in total," Ducey said. "The state’s in the resource business — the superintendents and principals are gonna stay in the personnel business.”
Following in the footsteps of President Donald Trump, who recently stumped in Mesa for the governor, Ducey has campaigned on a message of strong borders and touted a border strike force he established in 2015.
“Our message to drug cartels and human traffickers is loud and clear," Ducey said. "The people of Arizona have had enough. We will find you. We will stop you and we will bring you to justice.”
But Garcia has in turn criticized the strike force as a political ploy and accused the current administration of failing basic security needs.
“The border sheriffs are asking for the Department of Public Safety to patrol the highways 24/7 — that is our basic responsibility and the answer is it is not being done right now,” Garcia said.
In an interview with freespeech TV, Garcia called the border “an asset to Arizona” and said his administration would treat it that way.
Both Ducey and Garcia have said they are committed to Arizona’s energy future.
But in a debate hosted by Arizona Public Media, Garcia said he thought the state should become a solar superpower.
“It has not come about because we have particular energy companies locally who are not investing as much as they need to in everyday Arizonans and for that to happen, we need leadership that is going to make it a priority,” Garcia said.
Ducey has criticized Garcia for supporting Proposition 127, which would mandate an increase in the amount of solar energy produced in the state. Ducey says he supports an all-of-the-above energy policy.
“I want to see solar. I want to see wind. I want to see innovation and technologies come to Arizona," Ducey said. "But my first concern is for the Arizonans that are on a fixed income.”
For voters who still have an early ballot, the recommended deadline to mail them in has passed. But the ballots can still be dropped off at polling sites up through Tuesday’s election.