Trent Humphries, father of three young children and a self-employed small businessman, has considered a run for state office since last fall.
“The state’s just in bad shape,” said Humphries, 35, a Republican candidate for the House from District 26. “We need people to make decisive actions.”
In late May, Humphries filed 710 signatures with the Secretary of State’s office, and qualified as a candidate.
Two seats in the district are before the voters. Rep. Pete Hershberger is term-limited, and is in fact running for the Arizona Senate. Democrat Nancy Young-Wright was appointed to the seat held by Rep. Lena Saradnik, who resigned for health reasons. Young-Wright is running, as is another Democrat, Don Jorgensen.
Vic Williams and Marilyn Zurell join Humphries in the Republican field.
“This seat, in the past, has been traditionally Republican,” said Humphries, who lives near Oracle and Orange Grove roads in unincorporated Pima County.
“If somebody else I would have felt comfortable with” was running, “I would have stepped down gladly. It’s a huge sacrifice for my family and I, and for my business.”
Humphries says it’s not an easy time to run for the Legislature. But he is compelled to do so.
Arizona is “sitting on a precipice,” he said. “You can complain, gripe or moan, or you can do something about it. It may be too much. You’ve got to have tried.”
“You have to be a true believer,” he said. “With the budget crisis the way it is, you’re just looking for punishment.”
He believes the Legislature is “not serious” about solving the state’s deficit.
“The state deserves better than gimmicks and tricks,” he said. It needs spending cuts, he believes.
“Pretty much everything has to be on the table,” Humphries said. It’d be most difficult for him to make cuts in education. Everything else is up for scrutiny. “I have no grandchildren. I have still retained the ability to say ‘no.’”
A legislator must go to Phoenix, “cut things and make people angry,” Humphries said. “It’s going to have to happen, and you’re going to have to take your lumps for it.”
He believes that, “if you want something done efficiently, and cost-effectively, government’s the last people you want involved. Government never really reduces the cost of everything. They just hide it better. They use gimmicks to hide the overall cost, and someone’s going to end up paying it.”
Humphries further believes an “entrenched mentality” exists among those who run for state government, and it leaves Southern Arizona issues without solutions. The region has lost a voice in state government, he believes. And its business base has been “constricted and constricted and constricted” through taxation and regulation. Tucson has “Raytheon, Intuit and not much else. Stuff stays in Phoenix.”
People might think Humphries is too young for the office.
“When you are young and inexperienced, you have to do things three times better to be just as good,” Humphries said. “People are looking for somebody they can actually believe. I intend to be honest with my dealings. If I make a mistake, I intend to acknowledge it. I’m not looking to start a political career. I want to do the service, come home and be with my family.
“There’s nobody you’re going to elect who has the answer to everything,” Humphries said. “If things continue going the way they’re going, and I didn’t do something about it, I’d have a problem with that.”
When he announced his candidacy, Humphries and supporters picked up trash along a freeway. “That’s the kind of stuff we need to do,” he said. “I think I can bring people together. I’m not so fully entrenched that I can’t talk to other people.”
WHO: Republican candidate, House District 26, encompassing Oro Valley, Marana east of I-10, Catalina, SaddleBrooke and unincorporated areas.
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree, English, Brigham Young University.
FAMILY: Married to Jennifer. They have three children, ages 6, 4 and five months.
WORK: Humphries owns and operates his own computer business, Blasted Contraptions Computers.
QUOTE: “I get more phone calls out of the phone book because of that name,” said Humphries, whose business specializes in technology for the legal profession.
|On the trail
Candidate Trent Humphries talks about:
• Health care — “We’re losing our doctors in southern Arizona. They graduate, get on a plane and leave, and they’re not coming back.” With the state’s “legal climate, we can’t get doctors to stay here. Special interests would like to see no limitation whatsoever on lawsuits.” Humphries believes that climate hurts Arizona’s ability to keep quality physicians.
Humphries held one health care forum in the Northwest, and plans another on June 17.
• Taxes — Humphries is “not a tax-raiser.” He quotes the economist Milton Friedman, who said “tax cuts are always the moral choice, because there is a chance it could be spent in a selfless manner.” From Humphries’ perspective, “there’s no chance with government.”
“I want to see a little fiscal restraint,” Humphries said. “If we start punishing businesses, we will not be able to grow our way out of it.”
• Energy — “We have the country’s largest nuclear plant, Palo Verde,” Humphries said. He advocates expansion of nuclear energy production, and transmission capacity, in Arizona. Then, as solar power grows, “the transmission infrastructure is in place.”
• Illegal immigration — “I am a supporter of the employer sanctions law.”
• Initiatives — “I am not a fan of the voter initiative process. It’s just way overused. It seems to me every year, our government starts to more closely resemble the governments of California, and that’s a problem to me.” Humphries once lived in Russia. “I’ve seen where the creeping of government eventually leads you. It’s not pretty.”
• Education — “I have a special place in my heart for education,” Humphries said. “It would take a lot to cut there.” Still, he wonders if the state should pay the costs for all-day kindergarten. He is “a firm advocate” of school local control, and “a firm supporter” of open enrollment.