Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

ACC race: Kennedy says business experience helps her put customers first

Has served 12 years in state Legislature

PHOENIX – Democrat Sandra Kennedy said her experience as a restaurant owner focusing on customers would inform her decisions in regulating utilities and other businesses as a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission.

“You can’t just pass on costs to your consumers,” said Kennedy, whose Kennedy Restaurants LLC operates a Phoenix-area Denny’s franchise. “You really have to find a way of bettering your business.”

Kennedy served six years in the Arizona House of Representatives beginning in 1987 and then six years in the state Senate.

“I understand how to work across the aisle to get things done,” she said.

Kennedy said her experience as a mother and a member of the Phoenix Union High School District board from 1990-94 would make her a valuable member of the commission.

“I understand the ins and outs of protecting my children, so I want to protect the consumer,” she said.

Kennedy, a Phoenix resident, is running for one the commission’s three open seats in tandem with Democrats Sam George and Paul Newman, forming what they call the “solar team.” The candidates say Arizona is too reliant on coal-fired power plants and should do more to harness its abundant sunshine.

“I’m excited about the possibilities; it means that community centers and schools can get in on the solar revolution,” she said.

Kennedy said she supports the Corporation Commission’s requirement that utilities get 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. In written responses to a questionnaire from Cronkite News Service, she said alternative energy sources will mean sustainable economic opportunities for Arizona.

“It takes a renewables requirement to get these green jobs going,” she said. “When we look at all the other states that have a renewable standard, it is the standard that spurred companies to make the investment.”

Kennedy said Arizona Public Service might not be building a large solar power plant outside Gila Bend without the requirement.

“Government has to set a clear policy and direction in this matter, so that industry and investors can be comfortable making long-term investments and decisions,” she said.

Republican candidates for the commission have said nuclear power should be explored as part of a diversified energy portfolio to meet the demands of a fast-growing state. Kennedy noted what she called misconceptions about nuclear, including the idea that it is pollution-free.

She pointed to a fine levied against the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station for exceeding limits on particulate emissions.

“Nuclear uses too much water, costs too much and also does cause air pollution,” she said.



Party: Democrat

Residence: Phoenix

Professional experience: Owner of Kennedy Restaurants LLC, operator of a Phoenix-area Denny’s restaurant

Public Service: Arizona House of Representatives, 1987-1992; state Senate, 1993-99; Phoenix Union High School District board, 1990-94.

Education: Majored in accounting and business administration at Arizona State University


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