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Republican pitches hat into ring for Ward 5 council seat

Shaun McClusky describes representing the South Side on the City Council as his “sole ambition.”

“I’m not using this as a steppingstone,” he said, hinting that some members of the council intend to move on.

McClusky, 37, a Republican, said he is running for the Ward 5 council seat now held by Democrat Steve Leal, who is not seeking re-election, in part because he feels like public safety has been given an unwarranted back seat in city government.

“The most basic function of government is public security and public safety, and they haven’t provided that,” he said of the current, Democrat-dominated council.

McClusky is a former Davis-Monthan airman now working as a Realtor and property manager for Rincon Ventures, a company he helped found in 2007.

McClusky backs the citizen’s initiative being funded by the Tucson Association of Realtors that – if it makes it onto November ballots and passes – would increase the number of police officers and firefighters.

He also wants to make sure that money allocated to police is not diverted.

McClusky is especially concerned that funds intended for public safety are distributed instead to what city officials call “outside agencies” – nonprofits and other groups that provide services complementing those provided by the city, for example, crisis services.

He worries those groups look for handouts too quickly, an idea anathema to his small-businessman identity, he said.

He said easing restrictions on businesses and increasing economic development measures are high on his priority list.

McClusky is critical of the budget proposal the council is currently considering not only because he said he thinks more money should go to police and fire, but also because he’s against tax increases. As a property manager, he’s dead set against the proposed rental tax.

Calling himself a problem solver instead of a politician, McClusky promotes “an economically sensible approach.” He cites investing in geothermal energy for long-term savings and reducing city services to primary obligations, such as public safety, as examples of that.

He pledges to embody that sensibility by rejecting the vehicle and gas payments that are a council perk.

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