For Republican Judith Gomez, running for the Ward 5 seat on the City Council is about telling the truth.
“That’s the foundation of my life,” the 27-year-old mother of three said. “That’s what I teach my sons. Sometimes it’s going to be hard, but it’s about integrity.”
On the matter of truth-telling, she wants to start with the city budget, with how the city ought to manage its cash as a family does: necessities first.
“The council says they put public safety first, but I think when you study the way that they’re disbursing the money, it’s not true,” said Gomez, the wife of a Pima County Sheriff’s Department sergeant.
She says public safety is at the top of her priority list. She thinks the budget proposed for the fiscal year that begins July 1 diverts money from the city’s necessities, which she lists as public safety, smooth roads and economic development.
“They’re sending money to things that are less important than public safety,” Gomez said.
Among the recipients of money Gomez would prefer went to the Tucson Police Department are Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities and the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Honesty and family are undercurrents when Gomez speaks about seeking the council seat for Ward 5, roughly the area south of 22nd Street. Democrat Steve Leal has held the seat for 20 years but chose not to run for re-election.
Gomez describes her decision to decline admission to college as a quest for a greater challenge.
“I grew up in a broken home,” she said. “The challenge I decided to take up was to have a family and the security of a family and to have that family be healthy.”
She became a bookkeeper, a guardian of financial accountability, she says, emphasizing that she’s quick to learn.
“Just because I don’t maybe have the same things behind me that other people have, I can do this. I can learn,” she said.
Gomez hopes the Legislature won’t obliterate the funding for downtown redevelopment, but she advocates an overhaul.
“We need to build something that will bring revenue to Tucson,” she said. “Rio Nuevo was supposed to bring (progress) to Tucson, not decay, not delay.”
She says she’s opposed to a tax increase and thinks the current City Council is ducking its responsibilities by laying too much blame on the national economy.
As a solution, she offers an ear. She pledges to listen closely to Ward 5′s residents.
The other part of her solution is compromise. “You can’t find solutions by being rigid,” she said.
Shaun McClusky of the GOP is also seeking the Ward 5 seat, as is Democrat Richard Fimbres. The primary will be held in September.