Ahwatukee Foothills residents have the chance to quiz close to 20 Republican candidates vying for various local, state and national offices this weekend.
Candidates for governor, Congress, Maricopa County attorney, state superintendent, Arizona Corporation Commission and more will be on hand Saturday to answer three hours of questions from the public. In most cases, the candidates themselves will be there to be quizzed by the public, although a few candidates may send someone from their campaign instead.
Legislative District 20 GOP Chairman Anthony Miller believes Republicans will have a good chance this year because there’s a lot of concern in the direction the country is headed under current leadership.
“People are out of work, we have a national debt that’s spiraling, we just had a yearlong takeover of our health-care system that we don’t know how it will play out for years to come,” Miller said. “I think there are a lot of concerns among the typical American voter.”
He encourages any member of the public to come ready with questions for candidates, whether they’re registered as Republicans, Democrats, Independents or anything else.
“You have the candidate right in front of you. There are no scripts,” Miller said. “The public is getting up to ask questions and voice concerns they have.”
Gubernatorial candidates Dean Martin, Buz Mills and Matthew Jette are expected to attend. The three candidates are competing against each other and Gov. Jan Brewer for their party’s nomination in August.
Martin has served as Arizona’s treasurer since 2006. He previously spent six years as a state senator, serving as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee during his tenure.
Martin’s service has been recognized with several awards, including three Freedom of Information awards, a national Hero of the Taxpayer Award and was recognized by the Business Journal as a top community leader in 2004, according to his bio.
Mills has spent most of his career as an entrepreneur and businessman. Two businesses he highlights are an emergency communications company, where he helped design systems and employed hundreds of people, and a firearms and self-defense training facility.
Mills focuses on his history as a businessman and a conservative and touts low taxes and fewer regulations as a way to help the private sector grow and create jobs.
Jette holds a doctorate in public policy. He has worked as a community organizer in Montana and an educator at public schools and the university level.
Jette lists some of his top campaign issues as building a stronger economy by prioritizing education, investing in infrastructure and reforming healthcare and immigration.
Several other candidates at the forum should already be familiar to Ahwatukee residents, since many of them participated in a Congressional District 5 candidate forum that the LD 20 Republicans organized a few weeks ago. Chris Salvino, David Schweikert, Mark Spinks and Jim Ward will all be on hand Saturday to explain why they should face off against Democratic Rep. Harry Mitchell in November.
Other candidates expected to attend include U.S. Senate candidates John McCain and Jim Deakin; Corporation Commission candidates Brenda Burns, Gary Pierce and Barry Wong; State Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate John Huppenthal; county attorney candidate Bill Montgomery; state treasurer candidate Thayer Verschoor; state House candidates Bob Robson and Christopher Tolino; Justice of the Peace candidate Michael Munoz; and Kyrene Constable candidate Brandon Schmoll.
The forum starts at 10 a.m. June 19 at Mountain View Lutheran Church, 11002 S 48th St. For more information on the forum or legislative district 20 meetings, which will feature a number of local candidates in the coming months, visit www.LD20GOP.com.