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Jul 31, 2014 1:52 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Republican candidates for governor meet in Tucson

TUCSON - Arizona's Republican candidates for governor met in Tucson Wednesday night.

Ken Bennet, Christine Jones, Frank Riggs, Scott Smith and Andrew Thomas attended a forum at Pima Community College. Doug Ducey declined the invitation.

In many of their television ads, the candidates focus on immigration and the border.

"There's a lot of, perhaps, almost pandering, trying to say the toughest thing that you can say, as though the state can do that," Ken Bennet said after the debate. "When in fact, I think it could easily backfire on us."

"I have called for 1,200 troops on the border in the 262 miles of the Tucson sector," Christine Jones said. "Plus technology to monitor who is coming and going. And then the fence in strategic areas."

"As a member of congress from California, vice chairman of the Republican delegation, I helped get the funding to build the double fence on California's border with Mexico," Frank Riggs said.

"If we will advance the legal trade and take advantage of that as Arizona, especially here in Southern Arizona I think we will have a more secure border," Scott Smith said.

"It involves putting 3,000 national guardsmen on the border," Andrew Thomas said. "Building a complete fence. I intend to pay for it with the welfare reform that I have alluded to."

The main issue that is continuously on voters' minds is the economy.

"What's the cost of doing business in Arizona to make sure that Arizona can attract, but also keep and grow the companies that we want to have here to provide good paying jobs?" Bennett asked.

"Just get the government out of their way," Jones said. "Streamline the tax code. Remove statutory and regulatory barriers to entry. Pave the way for them to create jobs."

"What we need to do is offer every single Arizona business the ability to fully write off all investment expenses in the same year when those investments are made," Riggs said.

"Until we start focusing on the things we do well and we elevate our educational system," Smith said, "we will not have the kind of investment and the kind of high quality job growth that is needed for our children and our grandchildren."

"A lot of jobs that are, maybe not the highest paying jobs but good jobs, are being taken by people who have come to this state and country illegally," Andrew Thomas said. "And that is a fact, and it is depressing the wages."

The Democrats have one candidate on the ballot. That is Fred Duval. He is a Tucson High School graduate and his father founded the medical school at the University of Arizona. He has held positions in the Arizona Governor's office and the White House.

The primary is August 26.

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