Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Higgins’ focus on economics

He seeks to unseat Ann Day in GOP primary; no Democrats running in foothills district

Joe Higgins is challenging incumbent Republican District 1 Supervisor Ann Day in the party’s September primary election.

Higgins, a self-described “entrepreneur,” has run several small businesses and is the chairman of the Tucson Small Business Commission.

The district includes the area north of the Rillito River including portions of Marana, Oro Valley, Tortolita and Catalina.

“I’m going to focus a lot on economic development,” Higgins said. “I don’t think the issues important to myself or the small business community are being represented.”

Higgins said the county failed to plan for the future when it was reaping additional tax revenues from record housing values over the past several years – and now is scrimping to make ends meet during the current economic slowdown.

“It should have been looked at as a one-time windfall,” Higgins said, and put into capital improvements such as roads.

“Instead, we saw 22 percent growth” county spending in the last two years, with little being set aside for tough economic times, he said.

Higgins said he is worried that University Physicians Healthcare Hospital at Kino may never get turned around financially. Instead of continuing to subsidize the operation of the hospital and related services, the county should consider giving that money to other area hospitals to induce them to take in more uninsured patients – the main reason for Kino’s continued economic woes, he said.

“I think we are on the verge of sinking there,” he said of the South Side hospital.

Higgins said the county may be unable to prevent the opening and operation of the planned Rosemont copper mine by the Canada-based Augusta Resources Inc. because the U.S forest Service will have the final say, according to federal law. The county had the opportunity to buy the Rosemont property with 2004 bond funds and passed on a purchase, leading to the current situation, Higgins said.

Higgins said he supports closer cooperation in the region on water issues, but wants participation expanded to include more input from area towns.

“I would like to see more people at that table,” he said.

Higgins said he would support a recount of the May 16, 2006, Regional Transportation Authority election. A lawsuit filed by Pima County Democrats to obtain electronic voting records from past county elections raised enough questions about “ballot integrity” that he supports a recount.

He also would call for changes in the Pima County Elections Division’s staffing and procedures.

“I would like to see changes in the whole process,” he said.


Joe Higgins

Age: 39

Career: Has owned and owns multiple businesses.

Community service: Board member Catholic Community Services; Tucson Regional Economic Development, small business chair; Foothills Sertoma Service Club, founder & president; Catholic Community Services Foundation, past president; Tucson Small Business Commission, chairman; Salpointe Catholic High School, board of directors

Previous elected office: None.

Top change you would make in office: Reduce services required by unincorporated Pima County.

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