The SaddleBrooke Republican Club featured four Republican candidates for positions on the Arizona Corporation Commission at its Feb. 12 meeting: Neil DeSanti, Kim Owens, Nick Myers, and Eric Sloan. Former State Treasurer Eileen Klein represented a current member of the Commission also up for election, Lea Márquez Peterson. The ACC has a wide portfolio, including regulation of public utilities, facilitating business creation and development, and enforcing an ethical securities marketplace. The speakers introduced themselves and gave short descriptions of their qualifications and platform, after which they met with smaller groups in order to respond to questions and offer more information about their experiences, motivations for running for office, and priorities if elected.
Candidates often stressed how their prior careers added value to a position on the commission. Eileen Klein mentioned that Commissioner Márquez Peterson’s background as a small business owner and officer in the Tucson Hispanic Chamber encouraged her to ease the backlog of applications for LLC status, thus encouraging small business development. Neil DeSanti’s focus on rate-payers included proposals for a summer moratorium on electricity cut-off and that that utility rates for seniors be frozen, contingent on a 20-year tenure in their residence and a history of prompt payment. Kim Owens, having served ten years as a rate-payer advocate to the Salt River Project Council, became alert to the danger that seemingly desirable projects, once executed, may result in unintended negative consequences. This is a special concern in the energy field where scientific discoveries and emerging technologies can make original presumptions obsolete. Nick Myers, an engineer and small business owner, has acted as an advocate for rate-payers and communities treated unfairly by utilities, particularly regarding water, an issue of great concern to Arizona residents. Eric Sloan, another small business owner, expressed his view of the Corporation Commission as a rubber stamp for the utilities, voting repeatedly for rate increases, rather than acting as an advocate for the rate-payer, a situation he intends to change if elected.
Other speakers included Sheriff Mark Lamb who gave us a welcome update. Crime was down 16% in Pinal County, the department was under budget, and officers received their first raise in eleven years. Tom Hodges of SaddleBrooke Troop Support also gave a presentation about his organization.
The SaddleBrooke Republican Club is among the largest Republican clubs in the country and has a high level of member activism. An appearance before this group is considered a virtual must by Republican candidates for state or local office, and current officeholders often speak to offer updates. Speakers also are engaged to address members on issues of concern to voters, such as border security, terrorist and ideological threats to the nation, and the future of entitlement programs. Meetings are usually held on the second Wednesday of every month at 4 p.m. in the ballroom of the MountainView Clubhouse. For more information, including upcoming meeting details, visit the SBRC website, https://saddlebrooke-republican-club.org/.