Guest Columns

July 30, 2014

Taking care of our transportation needs, Arizona Daily Star (July 30, 2014)

Tucson voters did the right thing when they passed the streets bond in 2012, putting $20 million a year toward road recovery over five years.

Now the city is doing its part — restoring roads as promised, according to schedule, with citizen oversight. You can read the Bond Oversight Commission’s first annual report here.

One thing it notes is this: The $100 million streets bond of 2012 “really needs to be just the beginning” to address Tucson’s transportation needs.

Dedicated 85 percent to arterial and collector streets — which we prioritized because they get the most use — the bond leaves just 15 percent for residential streets. And Tucson has more than 1,200 miles of residential streets that are in poor or very poor condition.

I have two proposals that can help.

First, I’m going to ask my colleagues on the City Council to put another five-year streets bond on the ballot in 2015, starting when the current one expires. By doing this, there’s no tax increase. If the new bond passes, our taxes stay the same but we get five more years of much-needed road restoration.

Second, we need to go to voters with a new RTA plan well before the current plan expires in 2026. As before, we’ll have communitywide conversations about our transportation needs. I believe the consensus will be that we need to direct more resources to pavement preservation, transit operations and maintenance. Again, no tax increase. We use the existing tax rate to address our transportation needs. (Read entire column)

June 30, 2014

Tucson’s new southwest water technology cluster: Supporting business while solving our problems, Inside Tucson Business (June 27, 2014)

Decades ago, Tucson’s aerospace and defense industry cluster formed around two major assets – Davis- Monthan Air Force Base and Raytheon. In the years since, those industries have brought billions in investment and thousands of jobs to our region.

Today, the University of Arizona, Tucson Water, Pima County Wastewater and local entrepreneurs are forming a new industry cluster in Tucson – the Southwest Water Technology Cluster. (Read entire column)

 

September 26, 2013

Affordable Care Act Begins Oct. 1, Tucson Weekly (Sept. 26, 2013)

Open enrollment begins Oct. 1 for the Health Insurance Marketplace, part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ACA or Obamacare. Whether you were for or against the legislation, it’s here, it’s the law of the land, and here’s what you need to know.

Young adults were some of the first beneficiaries of the ACA, which made it possible for them to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26 regardless of whether they’re in school or where they live. Already, this provision has helped more than 3 million young adults get coverage. (Read entire column)

August 14, 2013

Students Need Your Help to Improve Reading Skills, Arizona Daily Star (Aug. 11, 2013)

Reading affects everything else. It’s fundamental to success in school and the workplace.

As early as third grade, reading proficiency is a strong predictor of academic success. Three-quarters of children who read poorly in third grade continue to read poorly in high school. Additionally, they are four times more likely to drop out or fail to graduate from high school on time.

On the other hand, children who read well report that they enjoy reading and read for fun almost every day. This starts with a caring adult taking time to read with a child. Even babies benefit from being read to — it’s never too early to start.

I’ve committed to help recruit 500 volunteer reading coaches to help Tucson children — and adults — who struggle with reading. (Read entire column)

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