I came to Tucson, Arizona, in 1984 after meeting my soul mate, Ann Touché, at Regis University. Not only did I fall in love with Ann, for she is the perfect woman for me, since moving here, I have fallen in love with the Sonoran desert. On our first visit to the Old Pueblo, I knew that this was the place I wanted to settle down and raise a family, and leave Chicago for good. Arizona sunlight is brighter than the fading glow of any success I could have held without her.
I have been reflecting on the friends, family,progress and achievements in the community that I have been a part of for more than 30 years. I personally consider some of the highlights to be:
• the institution of the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, a classic compromise between development and the environment;
• the rebuilding of the community of Summerhaven on Mount Lemmon after the tragic fire of 2003. I have come to admire County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry and his staff of their ability during the Aspen Fire;
• the recent completion of a new private hospital in Green Valley;
• the conversion of Pima Animal Control from a depository where unwanted pets were usually destroyed to Pima Animal Care which is close to being a no-kill shelter;
• and finally the simple fact that Pima County is the only county in Arizona that has no direct sales tax.
Pima County is a unique place because it combines southwest history and culture with technology and innovation. I have witnessed Pima County take on the challenge of accommodating a fast growing population while holding on to its distinctive cultural integrity. I am proud to be involved with strengthening ties with our neighbor, Mexico, and helping to build bridges and not walls. Pima County has partnered with organizations and companies like the University of Arizona, Raytheon and Davis Monthan Air Force Base. We are taking steps to ensure the youth we educate stay in Tucson. We bring innovative business and technology here without compromising the integrity of our natural resources.
Pima County will always hold a special place in my heart also because this is where Ann and I have raised three wonderful children.
Like a beautiful vista from our desert scenery, my wife, Ann has been the desert oasis of my political career. My wife, Ann, is a saintly woman who deserves the reverence that I hold her. God is sacred next to my own heart and our inner life as one in the Catholic faith makes Ann and I solid and unbreakable.
I am also grateful for the support of our three beautiful, healthy and happy children: Maria, Shane and Carlitos. Our children were too young to remember when I started but they have banded together now and hope to see my promise to travel with Southern Methodist University, Carlitos’ football team, to every game next season a reality. Even though I have been courted to run for higher office, you only have one chance to raise your children and I firmly believe that there is no higher calling than to be a devoted and ever-present father. I have never regretted making that decision. Pima County is and will always be home to them and to our family.
No one has had more fun than I have as a politician. My parents, who were also public servants- my father worked in the City of Chicago Fleet Department and my mother was a Cook County nurse serving the homebound and indigent her entire career- have inspired me well.
During my five terms as a Pima County Supervisor, I have done my best to reflect the views of a majority of my constituents. I have trusted the people and, in turn, they have put trust in me. This is your district seat and I have always served faithfully my county and my church. These things will endure after I retire and after I fade from memory. I have met an incredible number of great people and have been justifiably proud to represent them. I have long enjoyed being a Pima County Supervisor and I considered it a full time job and have held no other. I hope that good comes from my service. I take justifiable pride in the 20 years I willingly give to Pima County. At age 54, it is time to serve in other ways. “As Spirit moves you, you must go forward.”
I will continue to serve Pima County and the public interest, but I will not be a candidate for re-election in 2016.
I am glad you are here. I was once told to never start a fight with someone who buys their ink by the barrel. This will be the last chance for two weeks to interview me before I go on a religious pilgrimage to Israel starting this weekend. The roots of Catholic and Jewish faiths go back thousands of years intertwined at the bosom of Abraham. I’ve waited a lifetime since my Catholic school boy days to experience the Holy land. I remain at heart the same Catholic schoolboy who wanted to do good and to be one of the three things when he grew up: a priest, a policeman or a politician.”
District 4 voter registration: