The two candidates for the Mohave County Board of Supervisors District 5 seat spoke to members of the Colorado River Tea Party Patriots on Saturday.
Both are Republicans: District 5 Sup. Lois Wakimoto, of Mohave Valley, was appointed to the seat in September after Steve Moss resigned to accept appointment to the Superior Court as a judge; Ron Gould, of Yucca, is a former state senator representing State Legislative District 3, and served on the Lake Havasu City Council previously. He was among the applicants for the seat to which Wakimoto was appointed.
Wakimoto and Gould delivered statements about how they view the job before answering questions posed by people in attendance.
Gould entered politics about 30 years ago while still living in Orange County, Calif., and was elected as a GOP committeeman. He was an Arizona State Senator from 2005-2013. He said he is against tax increases and said he has never voted for one. He said he believes the United States and Arizona need to be tough on immigration and be more diligent making sure people are U.S. citizens. That would include ensuring that only U.S. citizens vote in Arizona’s elections.
Wakimoto spent years working in the agriculture industry. Water issues were pivotal in changing her mind about wanting to serve longer than her appointment provided. Her background in agriculture, she said, has provided knowledge about water and water rights issues and she saw how “the future of Mohave County is at stake.” Mohave Valley and Fort Mohave are positioned to become suburbs for people working in Needles as that California community grows, she said.
Gould said he wouldn’t vote to increase taxes. The county supervisors should look at what the county is required to do and determine what’s needed to cover those baseline functions only so no tax raises or added forms of taxation occur.
Wakimoto noted that the county having to finance retirement pensions is a significant portion of the budget. Paying long-term interest on financing to cover employee pensions might not be as smart as authorizing additional revenues.
One person asked about the RedforEd movement and another wondered whether it’s viable to get “illegal families out of the school district.”
Wakimoto said there were ways to enhance local education that don’t require raising taxes that would allow for more money to be used to pay teachers. Forming committees in which members find money to pay for school supplies is just one way. Pay raises for Arizona’s teachers were “a long time coming,” she said. She also pointed out that county supervisors have no control over immigration policies or the nation’s border with Mexico.
Gould said that the RedforEd movement was organized to “get more Democrats elected.” Starting teachers were getting adequately paid and securing the border with Mexico would ensure undocumented families aren’t getting their children into local schools, he said. While the supervisors don’t make immigration policy, they can ensure that local law enforcement reports undocumented people to the federal government.
Wakimoto explained that she would have voted to provide Dot Foods with financial incentive to come to the county. She wasn’t in office when the supervisors approved allocating $500,000 in economic development funding to the food distribution company to build a plant in the county. The facility will grow and provide even more jobs and economic benefits to the area, she said.
Gould said he was against government providing incentives to businesses. “How do you pay the next person? How is this fair?” he asked. Such arrangements create potential for an atmosphere of corruption. A grant would be OK compared to a cash payment, he said.
Gould said law enforcement and the condition of roads are high priorities. People working in county law enforcement need to be paid enough to stay in those jobs instead of moving on to departments that can offer them more money. County roads are in very bad shape and budgeting should be better directed toward their maintenance and construction.
Wakimoto cited securing enough water rights to fulfill needs over the coming decades as crucial. The condition of roads is also important to people. Veterans’ issues are an important local concern. The affects of opioid addiction in all aspects of life in the county is a high-priority concern. Economic development is “huge.”
Arizona’s primary election is on Aug. 28. The registration deadline to vote in the primary is July 30.