About 50 LD9 residents and Democratic Party regulars attended the Clean Elections primary debate on June 28 with candidates Dr. Randy Friese, Matt Kopec, and me. (The hour-long event was taped by the Clean Elections Commission.)
The debate had an interesting format– much better, in my opinion, that some of those free-ranging presidential debates where each candidate was asked a different question, making it difficult to compare candidates. The format was: one-minute intros, a set of questions that everyone answered (two minutes each), a set of questions written by audience members and addressed to specific candidates or to anyone (one minute each), and one-minute wrap-ups. (Our audience was very involved and submitted many good questions.)
The debate gave me an opportunity to explain my sustainable economic development ideas and talk about my background and other ideas. Here is the excerpt about economic development (29:33 mark):
Economic reform is a big part of my platform. Everything in my platform either raises money or saves money to pay for the things we want like quality education, a solid infrastructure, and good-paying jobs. Public banking is a big part of it, but it’s not the whole part. I really believe that we have suffered under the failed economic policies of trickle down economics and austerity. So, we have largesse for the 1% and austerity for the 99%.
With the idea of public banking, we could bring all or part of our tax dollars back from Wall Street and invest it on Main Street.
The Angel Tax Credit is a good idea. I agreed with the Technology Council on that, but I said in the long term we could totally fund the economic start-ups down here in Southern Arizona and we could help small businesses with low-cost loans that are made by our community banks and underwritten by the state funds [With the state funds guaranteeing the loan, the community bank doesn’t need collateral– like a building– to secure the loan.]
This would be a way to have an economically sustainable system where we’re bringing in a little bit of money with those loans, and we’re loaning it back out again. So, you can see where this is a way to vastly diversify our economic base in Arizona and particularly in Southern Arizona. We’re too dependent upon certain industries. Our future is in technology and the biosciences.
We have a lot of smart people down here in Tucson. I always say we have all of these scientists and artists and musicians and creative business people. We could be the Athens of the West, instead of the Dusty Pueblo, if we played to our strengths and built up the Local First small businesses and built up the Tech Park start-up businesses. And that’s our future, as far as I’m concerned.
Here are some other high points in the video. (This is not a complete list of debate topics. Watch the whole video below.)
16:23 – Paycheck fairness, Equal Rights Amendment, and minimum wage
35:30 – Marijuana legalization
39:28 – Climate change
43 – Abortion
47 – Wall Street
32:20 and 51 – Skills and qualifications for office