Oct 4, 2012 8:00 PM by John Overall
TUCSON - News 4 Tucson is on the campaign trail, taking a look at the race for Pima County Board of Supervisors in District 5.
The incumbent is Richard Elias. The 53-year-old Democrat has been in office since 2002.
His Republican challenger is 59-year-old Fernando Gonzales, owner of a local janitorial business.
Both candidates say jobs are the top priority. Pima County isn't considered to be very business friendly, Gonzales says, and he blames the current board for allowing that reputation to grow. "When 75,000 jobs are created in Arizona, 69,000 are created in the Maricopa County area, and only 800 are created here, then something's wrong. Something's not working," Gonzales said.
Elias disagrees. He says Pima County's job market is improving, pointing to the unemployment rate of 7.7% in July, down from 9.2% in July of last year.
"Well I think we need to continue on in the areas that we started. Working with optics companies as well as some of the bio-tech companies like Accentuate and the stuff that we've done up in Oro Valley has been very good too," Elias said.
Both candidates believe recruiting new companies to Pima County and convincing existing businesses to stay will be a lot easier if our roads are repaired.
Elias says he and the other Supervisors are already working on that project. "Well in the last few months we've already put more than $20 million back in our roads right here in Pima County. And we intend to do more in this calendar year as well. And we're even looking at ways we can take some dollars from our current budget, and use some certificates of participation to further that money,"said Elias.
Gonzales believes the current board hasn't done enough. "We've gotten money to fix our roads. In April this last year the administrator, Chuck Huckleberry, mentioned that 60 percent of our major roads need fixing or need reconstruction. That means that they have been neglected, " said Gonzales.