Q&A with Frank Antenoriby Don on Nov. 01, 2012, under Uncategorized
Frank Antenori is running for the State Senate seat in LD10. He’s the current Majority Whip in the State Senate, a retired and decorated Green Beret and former Congressional candidate. Frank agreed to entertain a few questions from me Here are those questions and Frank’s replies:
1. Why should LD10 voters pick you?
I have clearly demonstrated the ability to bring leadership and political courage to the legislature on behalf of the residents of Southern Arizona. Taking on and solving a $3 billion deficit, while standing firm against those that wanted to spend money we didn’t have, even if it at times were members of my own party. There are times to build consensus, but there are also times we need leadership. The budget and economic crisis the state was in when I was elected was the largest per capita in the country, our unemployment was in the double digits, we were losing 20,000 jobs a month and the size of state government had nearly double in as little as six years.
Consensus is what created the mess we were in, but leadership is what got us out of it.
2. Why does the Pima County region need to have a GOP legislator in the state legislature? (For those of us who are Republicans already, we expect the state legislature to stay Republican after next Tuesday. Assuming that happens, why is it important that our own state Senator be a Republican?)
I would be the only Republican that resides in Pima County in the State Senate. Without a representative in the majority party to represent the residents of Pima County, there would be no motivation for the Maricopa County centric legislature to consider issues specific to Pima County. Since I’ve been up there I, along with other Republicans from Southern Arizona, helped protect the Poison Control Center at the U of A from being eliminated, we secured and protected funding for the Southern Arizona State Veterans Home, we ensured ADOT prioritized and funded the Marsh Station Road overpass (which will help eliminate oversized loads from having to use State Highway 83), and we brought reforms and an audit to Rio Nuevo. I also ran the bill that will now allow the Vail area to incorporate and control their own destiny.
Without someone in the Senate from Pima County, many of these favorable outcomes on key issues would have likely never been able to have occurred.
3. What are the three biggest challenges facing the LD10 area?
1. We need to continue to improve the infrastructure in Southern Arizona. Pima County needs more interstate and rail and a top notch airport to bring businesses to Southern Arizona. The “anti-growth” mentality has hurt us economically. While the state was busy adding back 80,000 jobs, Pima County only added about 800. We have to create a positive business climate in all of Arizona but especially in Southern Arizona or we will surely be left behind.
2. We have to continue to foster a pro growth pro business climate to create jobs. The best social welfare program is a job. It provides a roof over ones head, food on the table and additional opportunity. One of the highest poverty rates in the country is here in Southern Arizona. The best way to deal with that issue is to create opportunity (jobs) not more entitlements and government programs.
3. Stop the encroachment of government on people’s individual and property rights. The U.S. Constitution comes first, followed by the State Constitution.
4. What will your top three priorities in office be, if you’re elected?
1. Control Spending, fraud waste and abuse by state government agencies.
2. Revamp the complex and archaic tax code, to include eliminating special carve outs for special interest groups.
3. Protect individual liberty and property rights.
5. What should the state government be doing for southern Arizona, that it’s not currently doing?
We should be fostering a positive business climate and encouraging local governments to do so as well.
6. What can we do to attract new businesses to the Tucson area? What, if anything, is making our region unattractive to businesses that might be looking for a new home? (E.g., California-based businesses who have had enough of the Golden State’s decay and mismanagement, and are ready to hit the road for greener pastures).
As I stated before, local governments have an issue with businesses and growth. You can’t get businesses to locate to Southern AZ when our property taxes are higher, the local governments have a regulatory burden that results in a year or more to get your business open and then they continue to regulate you far more than other areas of our state. That’s why local elections matter. Getting some fresh ideas and approaches on the Board of Supervisors like Alley Miller and Tanner Bell will help. Also changing the Tucson City Charter, to a strong Mayor system and amend the city charter to limit bureaucratic red tape would go a long way to help. We also need to encourage annexation and incorporation of the heavily populated areas of the county. This helps bring in more money since the State divides state revenue passed on incorporated population. Pima County loses millions of tax dollars each year because of the large unincorporated areas in the County. As a comparison, Maricopa County is 94% incorporated and Pima County is only 63% incorporated.
Frank is my State Senator. I’ll bet it’s no surprise to both of my regular readers (Hi Mom!) that Fort Buckley is endorsing Frank for reelection. I’ve seen Frank constantly crisscrossing southeastern Arizona, during his time as a State Representative and now State Senator, meeting with constituents and addressing their needs.
I remember a story Frank told me shortly after he first went to Phoenix. I asked him what it was like being a legislator; Frank’s replies didn’t make it sound like a glamorous life. Or a restful one. Frank said he was getting on average five hours of sleep a night. His constituents were calling and e-mailing him constantly, they wanted responses…so he stayed up, answering as many as he could.
He’s viewed as an effective legislator. The fact that he was chosen to be Majority Whip attests to that. (I’m sure that some Maricopa County-area GOP senators would have liked to have been the Majority Whip).
Frank’s comments about the importance of having a Pima County legislator among Arizona’s legislative leadership are, IMO, especially important. Arizona is, in many ways, a state that revolves around metro Phoenix. Southern Arizona needs as strong a voice in the state capital as possible. Currently Frank Antenori holds one of the most powerful posts in the majority party in the State Senate. It would be a shame if Tucson lost that.
Think about that as you vote next Tuesday.