Name: Vic Williams
Occupation: Small Business Owner
Where do you live? 2834 W. Placita Paciente, Tucson, AZ
How long have you lived in the area? 10 years
Short description about yourself.
I left a successful business I had built to move to Tucson so I could be here to help raise my son, now 10. I know what it takes to create a business that satisfies customers, employees and suppliers, and I’ve survived the ups and downs of the economic cycles. I believe volunteering for the community is a major positive element of American life, and I have done so with my company and personally, helping the Marana Care Fair, Habitat for Humanity, Boys’ and Girls’ Club, schools, the Republican Party and more. I’ve done so by writing checks, by serving on boards and by sweat and labor.
As your state representative, I moved a bill that allowed Pima County’s emerging bioscience industry to expand, and I helped academically rigorous schools to locate and grow here. I also made hard choices that balanced the state’s budget without gimmicks for the first time in years. I believe in direct conversation with constituents, and prove it by knocking on more than 14,000 doors in the past four years. I give out my personal cell phone number – 520-390-9946 – and I answer it. I’m the only candidate who’s pledged to turn down state government pension.
Why are you running for the Pima County Board of Supervisors?
Pima County has so many things going for it yet is heading in the wrong direction. I see great but under-used resources in the county that could make us an economic recovery leader and improve the quality of life for all of us. As a legislator, I was privileged to be in the middle of helping to improve that symbiotic relationship among high-tech industry, good schools and open government. I want to continue that progress. I have a 10-year-old son in Tucson, and I want this to be a great place for him to live, work and grow our family. Pima County cannot let the opportunity to make great gains slip through its fingers, and I think my experience as an entrepreneurial business person, elected government official and community volunteer puts me in the best position to help.
What are some good things taking place in Pima County?
Pima County has an expanding bioscience and high-tech cluster, which we need to nurture and expand. It has an emerging group of academically challenging schools, which are working better and better with the growing industry above. The University of Arizona is a gem as both a draw for people and businesses and a partner with businesses. We have great people with a can-do spirit, a hearty corps of volunteer groups and workers, great weather and incredible mountain views. It has growing transportation features that could make us essentially an inland port – if the county would supplement that by taking care of its roads.
What are your three top concerns with the county right now? What would your plan of action be to fix these problems?
Roads: Citizens and businesses need better roads not only to get around but also to build a more viable and expanding economy. It’s much harder to attract businesses when they can’t get their products, services and employees in and out. Roads are our modern rivers of commerce, and Pima County has done a poor job maintaining them. I would allocate general fund dollars for road improvement and maintenance – just like cities in the region do – to make that happen. We would pay for that with more efficiency and with better use of existing bonds, which should go for long-term infrastructure rather than to make today’s life easier for bureaucrats.
Jobs: My economic development vision is to continue expanding the region’s high-tech and bioscience industries, just as I did as a legislator when I successfully ran a bill removing barriers to their expansion and to their cooperation with the university. I helped locate and expand academically rigorous local schools needed for these industries to grow, and for our children to learn and find jobs. Local leaders, including Pima County supervisors, can help recruit early innovators in those fields from Southern California by personal attention.
Transparency and efficiency: Pima County supervisors should communicate directly with constituents, rather than speak through the county administrator, as is now the case. I have knocked on more than 14,000 doors in this area so far, and I give out my personal cell phone number – 520-390-9946. When I was in the Legislature, I spent days with individual departments to see first-hand their needs, issues and processes. I’ll do the same in Pima County to find efficiencies and make sure the county’s resources are well spent.
If you are running in the Primary Election, what makes you the best candidate to move on to win the General Election?
I have experience in business, government and volunteer organizations helping to create jobs, communications and a better place to live. I’ve made tough choices as an elected official, reducing the state’s budget by $2.5 billion without budgeting gimmicks. I’m willing to stand up and support controversial measures that I believe are necessary, like SB 1070 and the previous 1 cent sales tax to get us through the recession. I get along well with people who disagree, but I fight for what I and my constituents believe is right.
More than anyone else, I believe I understand the relationship among schools, infrastructure, economic development and quality of life. I have the eye of a business owner who absolutely MUST make ends meet when I look at government functions, and I’ve proven that I’m willing and capable of doing the heavy lifting and taking the heat to get done what’s required.
No one is more available than I am, in person and on the phone. I have gone to people’s houses and to their gatherings, and they can call me on my cell phone.
What kind of new energy will you bring to a seat that’s been held by Ann Day for so many years?
I believe I’ve shown the highest level of energy needed to get things done here. I’ve done so by knocking on more than 14,000 doors in Northwest Pima County in the past four years, by speaking to and attending 1,200 plus events and meetings and by having more than 5,000 personal conversations with constituents. As your state representative, I spent day after day personally walking in the shoes of workers in state departments to figure out their needs, issues and values – which helped enormously when having to make the tough decisions about the budget. I worked with schools and high-tech firms and non-profits to move the needle on growing our economy and school performance in the county. I’ll do the same and more for Pima County.
What are some specific changes needed in this district?
Improve roads with general fund revenues so our rivers of commerce don’t fall apart and pay for that with greater efficiency and better use of bond resources – just like Oro Valley and Marana do.
Greater transparency and visibility of elected supervisors instead of relying on the county administrator to represent county government.
Reduce the regulator burden on businesses in Pima County so our economy can grow. The Board of Supervisors needs to recognize that business in not the enemy; business is us.
End making political and philosophical decisions about issues like Rosemont Mine, which has cleared all the regulatory, application and environmental requirements and still are being denied the opportunity to create jobs by a political environment that just doesn’t like what they do.
If elected, how can you work to meet the needs of your district, while also keeping the needs of the entire county as a priority?
The needs of the district ARE the needs of the county, and they include better roads, a more inviting business environment, greater openness in government and a plan to move the economy with high-wage jobs and better schools.
What are your thoughts on the ongoing dispute between Pima County and Marana regarding wastewater rights? In your opinion, what should happen moving forward?
Any municipality within Pima County that desires to have control of their wastewater treatment should have the right to do so. Moving forward, Marana should pay the fair value for their wastewater facility. If Pima County and Marana cannot come to an agreement on the value of the assists involved, than an impartial third party arbitrator should be used.
Do you feel Pima County works well with its neighbors (Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, Sahaurita)?
Pima County government has a long history of not working well with the other local governments within the county. For the past four years, as your state representative, I have worked closely with the towns of Marana, Oro Valley, and Sahaurita. I also have worked closely and effectively with Pima County government at the capitol. As your next county supervisor I will continue the effort of reaching out and be willing to work with any and all voters and every government in southern Arizona.