Candidate Q&A - Nancy Young Wright, candidate for Pima County Board of Supervisors, District 1 - The Explorer: Elections

Candidate Q&A - Nancy Young Wright, candidate for Pima County Board of Supervisors, District 1

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Nancy Young Wright

Posted: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 4:30 am | Updated: 2:46 pm, Wed Sep 19, 2012.

Name: Nancy Young Wright

Age: 52

Occupation: Writer; former legislator; former literacy non profit director.

Where do you live? Oro Valley

How long have you lived in the area? 29 years in Oro Valley; 31 in the Tucson area.

Short description about yourself (200 words)

I’m a fourth generation south westerner and a mother of two daughters who were born and raised in Tucson. My husband, Allen, and I have been married for 30 years.

I served in the Arizona House of Representatives representing Legislative District 26 for three years. While at the legislature, my first priority was advocating against deep cuts to Arizona’s public schools and universities.

I worked successfully across the aisle on bi-partisan bills involving foster care, local fire districts, law enforcement and animal welfare.

I served 10 years on the Amphitheater School Board. I was known for advocacy for taxpayers, students and teachers. I fought to lower administrative overhead, reduce class size, raise teacher’s pay, improve transparency and to retain art, music and PE programs.

Volunteer Service:

• Current board member, Southern Arizona Historical Society

• Former K-12 classroom, PTO, Band Booster volunteer.

• Former Co-leader, Girl Scout Troop 157; helped troop achieve “Gold Award” status.

• Former Chair, Oro Valley’s first Parks and Recreation Advisory Board; championed need for more parks, trails, and natural areas such as Honey Bee Canyon.

• Former member, Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan Steering Committee.

• Former “ARF”adoption volunteer, Pima Animal Care Center.

Education and interests:

MFA, University of Arizona, Creative Writing

BA, Journalism, New Mexico State University

I’ve been deeply committed to community service in District 1 in the areas of education, literacy, parks, trails and open space, and this has taken up a lot of my “free” time during the past 30 years. My interests include southwestern and family history, popular music history, animal rescue, desert gardening, cycling, hiking, reading, local music, art, and museums and supporting natural areas. I value the time that I am able to spend with family and friends.

Why are you running for the Pima County Board of Supervisors?

I’m running to apply my 30 years of experience in the areas of education, parks, trails, citizen advocacy, budget analysis and policy development to the needs of District One. I have a deep understanding of the region’s land use, economic, recreational, and cultural needs. I will be a strong advocate for sensible policies regarding all facets of County business and for protecting our natural lands. My broad experiences in the state legislature, on the school board, as a parks and schools advocate, and as a parent will be applied to the issues before the board. I’ve learned where the resources are in the community to consult with to get things done and I am a problem solver.

What are some good things taking place in Pima County?

Pima County is one of the most beautiful and unique places an on earth. Some of the good things include

-The expansion of our library system to help our residents during the economic downturn. We offer free internet access, business classes, support for job seekers, electronic books, and many kinds of media that have helped folks brush up their skills for employment and improve the literacy rates for themselves and their children.

-The expansion of our “Loop” system for cycling and multi-use trails. The Loop will be “55 miles of car-free paths around metropolitan Tucson for Pima County residents and visitors to enjoy on foot, bikes, skates, roller blades and horses.” It’s a great asset to our community. Tucson was recently named one of the best cities for cycling due to our investment in bike lanes and trails and our climate. These visitors bring needed revenue and energy to our area and the recreational opportunities help encourage healthy habits among our residents.

In addition, the adoption of the Economic Development Plan, the Multi-species Conservation Plan, and the Sustainability Plan are good developments.

Our County Website is a great resource for residents who want to keep abreast of what’s going on with the County. Residents can visit www.pima.gov to access reports on road repairs, economic development, and much more.

What are your three top concerns with the county right now? What would your plan of action be to fix these problems?

-We need to improve our attraction and retention of quality employers. In order to do this, I’d push to expand our partnerships with the UA in the area of Bio-tech and other Research and Development. I’d continue pushing for investment in our public school funding in our lobbying efforts with the state legislature. Businesses need an educated, skilled work force, and employees are attracted to areas that offer excellent public schools. Our youth need good job options so they don’t have to move elsewhere to make a living.

-We need to repair our roads and plan for the transportation needs of the future. I’d push to prevent the HURF and sales tax sweeps that the state legislature did. I voted against those sweeps while I was there. We need to get a discussion started about the best ways to handle the traffic that will be generated by the Arroyo Grande project in the future. 20 years goes by quickly, and the funding for the needs will need to be put into the plans soon. We need to create and fund plans to replace the roads that are beyond repair and prevent the destruction of newer ones.

We need to protect the spectacular natural resources we have in District One and the rest of the County. This category includes the promotion of parks, playing fields, bike lanes, and hiking trails. All of these things add value to our community.

What kind of new energy will you bring to a seat that’s been held by Ann Day for so many years?

I’m a hard working person who goes the extra mile to get the job done. I enjoy getting out into the community and learning the needs of the neighborhoods so I can advocate for them. I believe Supervisor Day has done a good job in this area. I cycle, I hike, I take my dogs to the park, I enjoy the arts, and I am always interested in learning about the people, the businesses, and the needs of the community. I’ll hold regular outreach meetings in each area of the district, conduct electronic town halls, and employ any other practical means to communicate with folks. I will be a full-time, accessible supervisor.

What are some specific changes needed in this district?

We don’t have enough parks. Supervisor Day recognized this lack and pushed for several additional parks during her tenure. We lack available land in some areas and the funding for the development and the maintenance is a challenge we must balance with other needs. We have the opportunity to work with the Towns of Oro Valley and Marana to provide the parks, trails and open space enhancements our residents need.

We also have a great deal of need in the area of roads repair that I have already addressed.

We have had challenges in some of our relationships with other jurisdictions. I’d like to see additional effort made towards improving these relationships for the benefit of all of us. Taxpayers lose when government jurisdictions wind up in court spending their scarce funds. With apologies to the legal community, I’d like to see us spend those funds in areas that would produce more tangible benefits to our residents.

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?

Through hands-on work that involves regular communication with the jurisdictions and groups that we share responsibilities with. We all have a stake in building a stronger Pima County. We all benefit from stronger schools, an educated, skilled workforce, youth who see a future here and good employers who find what they need to locate here and stay here.

What are your thoughts on the ongoing dispute between Pima County and Marana regarding wastewater rights? In your opinion, what should happen moving forward?

I would like to see this dispute move out of the courts and into a mediation alternative but this may not be possible at this protracted stage. It may have to continue until each side feels they have exhausted all of their legal options or until some here-to-fore untried diplomatic effort breaks through the stand off.

Do you feel Pima County works well with its neighbors (Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, and Sahuarita)?

In general, yes, I think that they do, recent history non-withstanding. I’m confident we can and will work out our differences. Our neighbors also include the Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui Tribes. I’m fortunate to have worked with people from both tribes on literary arts programs. I have an understanding of their cultures and their needs and a deep respect for them. They play a very important role in our county and our state.

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