Declaring, “I am the progressive choice to continue moving Tucson forward,” City Councilwoman Regina Romero outlined a 7-point platform in her campaign for Mayor of Tucson, vowing to improve environmental sustainability, create economic opportunity, fund city schools and build affordable workforce housing.
She opposed the initiative to make Tucson a sanctuary city and instead called for the repeal of the anti-immigrant SB1070 state law. Romero called for expanding the route of the modern streetcar and sensible gun reform legislation.
“I want to create a safe, just and sustainable city with economic opportunity for all families,” she said, speaking at the Democrats of Greater Tucson meeting. “I have a proven record of creating job growth. I can take the wheel from Mayor Rothschild without skipping a beat.”
Romero has been the Ward 1 councilwoman for 11 years, graduated from the UofA and the Harvard School of Government and is the only clean elections candidate. “Money from corporations is the problem in our political system,” she said. “Money from corporations has been electing state legislators that don’t represent working families.”
She spelled out a 7-point program for the city:
- Creating a climate resiliency action plan. “Climate change is happening now,” she said, calling for the installation of more solar power, a network of electric vehicle charging stations, neighborhood water harvesting, planing thousands of trees, rolling out electric busses, and an affordable transit system that gets people out of their cars. Currently, the Tucson fleet of vehicles has a single electric car.
- Creating a small business incentive program, providing the same breaks the city gives to big companies to small, local businesses. She would appoint small business “navigators” who would help small business owners get access to loans, relieve from regulation and “create an environment in the city departments that shows how much we value small businesses and their contribution to the economy.”
- Get more funding for school districts and teachers by partnering with the UofA and Pima Community college to increase access to higher education, “knowing that good public education creates stability for working families.” She said she would use the mayor’s bully pulpit to advocate for public education.
- Improve core services like the police and fire departments, “So when people call 911 they will get a quick response.” She called for good roads, good parks, safe bicycle and pedestrian connections. She favored the expansion of the KIDCO after-school program in Wards 2, 4, Flowing Wells and Amphi school districts.
- Pay city employees a minimum wage of $15 per hour. “We should set an example for companies in Tucson in the private sector.”
- Affordable workforce housing, that stops displacement of families from their neighborhoods. She said gentrification downtown is causing centers to lose children, streets to lose parking and small mom-and-pop stores to close. “We have to make sure that we have an urban core that is affordable to all,” she said. For example, she said the city owns several lots where 7 to 12 homes can be built. “We need to build affordable homeownership policy so that families who have owned their home for generations can live on limited income.” She would work with the Pima County Assessor to freeze taxes for low-income elderly people.
- Build infrastructure equitably, so that different parts of the city get equal investments. “When we invest in our infrastructure, it leverages private investments when we build good roads, parks, bridges, and the streetcar,” she said.
11 years of accomplishments
Since she was first elected in 2007, Romero said the city council has built the modern streetcar with a $63 million grant obtained by Rep. Raul Grijalva, built the Cushing Street bridge, led the effort to save KIDCO, led the initiative to oppose SB1070, passed a resolution to make Tucson an immigrant-friendly city, created hundreds of high wage jobs, created the Cesar Chavez holiday, and protected Tumacoc Hill as a permanent open space.
She championed the development of the west side including the Mercado St. Agustin, the Sentinel Plaza affordable housing for seniors, West End State low-income housing, and attracted the Caterpillar headquarters building. She called for the construction of the Tucson Origins Heritage Park, to celebrate 4,000 years of history, culture, and archeology.
Romero said she will work with Tucson’s state legislators to restore funding for Pima Community College, which was zeroed out by Gov. Ducey, and to restore $5-6 million in lottery funds that the state used to help cities deal with environmental problems. “The state has returned the money to Phoenix, but not Tucson. We should be getting this money to electrify our busses.”
“When I arrived in Tucson 27 years ago, I would never have imagined that the daughter of immigrants, a first-generation college-bound Chicana, that I would be announcing my candidacy for mayor. Being here today proves the amazing opportunities Tucson has given to me and my family. I want to work diligently to provide the same opportunities to future generations of Tucsonans.