The People who created the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) almost 110 years ago did so at the height of the Age of Reform and the Progressive Movement.
The Commission, designed to make sure utility companies, the rail lines, securities, and pipelines were well maintained and regulated, was meant to be an instrument of the people against avaricious corporate interests.
When writing Article 15 of the Arizona State Constitution that dealt with the creation of the commission, the drafters wanted the commissioners accountable to the people by having them run for reelection and explain to the citizens how well they protected them from the corporate interests they were elected to regulate.
Unfortunately, Dirty/Dark money Interests have made it possible for Corporate Entities (like APS) to fund the candidacies of commissioner candidates and get them elected to the Commission to serve their business interests (like approving utility rate increases) at the expense of the people.
Shea Stanfield wants to change that in 2020.
An educator, climate and conservationist activist, a member of the Cave Creek Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council, Ms. Stanfield wants to restore the original purpose of the Arizona Corporation Commission and make it the instrument of the people again.
Meeting at the Mimi’s Café at Shea and the 101. Ms. Stanfield sat down and discussed her qualifications and positions on the issues facing the Commission. The questions and her responses are below.
- Please tell the reader about yourself and at least three qualifications you have to serve on the Arizona Corporation Commission?
“My father worked for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as an epidemic investigator. My Mom was an English Teacher. We moved to Arizona in 1957 with my father’s job transfer. My Mom was also a neighborhood activist for community improvements. I learned a lot about the struggles of minority communities accompanying my dad during the summers. My Bachelor’s and Master’s in K-12 Education are from ASU. I taught in Scottsdale Unified for 40 years, beginning in art, art therapy and special education K-8 for the first half of career. From there I moved to middle school where I taught self-contained fifth and sixth graders. I worked a lot on thematic curriculum, especially on science-environmental-water issues, finishing out my career in middle school counseling. During that 40 year period, I raised two sons, worked with environmental groups to preserve the McDowell Mountains. After moving to Cave Creek, I was active with a group to preserve the historic Spur Cross Ranch, now a conservation area. During that time, I developed a reputation as an environmental activist. As a result, I was appointed a member of the Planning and Zoning Division for Cave Creek, moving to the Board of Adjustment, a quasi-judicial agency. The Planning and Zoning experience was significant because the quality of the zoning results in the quality of life in your town or city. Eventually, I served on Cave Creek City Council (2001-2005) During that time Cave Creek went from private to public water providers. I continued working.”
“With preservation and education during my time as a board member of Charter (Ridgeline Academy, formerly Ventana) and the current President, of the board, of Dynamite Montessori Private School Board.”
- What are at least two reasons you want to serve on the Corporation Commission?
“Because we have stagnated on renewable energy policy. It time for the ACC to put renewable energy on the front line of Arizona’s future. Someone has to move the ball to 50 percent by 2030. “
“ Dark money interference and monopoly corporations have corrupted the original intent of the ACC to act on behalf of the residents of Arizona. The idea you can withhold power, gas, or water to an individual to guard your profit margins is unethical behavior. It is the commission’s job to protect the residents of Arizona against this behavior.”
- In your opinion, what are two areas of strength of the Corporation Commission and please give one reason for each?
“The founding fathers created the ACC as the fourth branch of government independent of the other three branches. They have a direct responsibility to the people of the state.”
“The Founders intended the people have the say in who runs the commission that is charged in their safety, therefore, our commissioners are elected, not appointed by the governor.”
- In your opinion, what are two areas of weaknesses of the Corporation Commission and please give one reason for each?
” The involvement of outside dark money that funds the campaigns. Resulting in individuals who “work for the monopoly” rather than in the best interest of the residences. Regulators that are on the monopoly payroll will not regulate that business or corporation.”
“The ACC has the ability to be proactive on behalf of residents but they are not. They choose to protect special interests and monopolies, which have had deadly effects on our most vulnerable residents and the population as a whole.”
- Please describe your campaign infrastructure and your team’s strategy to spread your message and turn out the vote.
“I have a campaign chairman and volunteers come from the Democratic clubs around Arizona. The Democratic clubs and activist groups are the real powerhouses in getting Democrats on the ballot and elected. We use social media to communicate, postcards, tests, etc to communicate. I do have a Facebook page and website where you can sign petitions, donate five for Clean Elections and up to 170. per individual seed money. I do my best to get to as many meetings, events, fundraisers and trainings around the state where I listen to the success and challenges of residents. It’s important that they know my commitment to restoring a proactive governmental body that has their backs. Finally, we need to encourage people to vote down-ballot.”
- If elected, what are three goals you would pursue as a member of the Commission and please give one reason for each?
- “The clean energy policy: 50 percent by 2030 because our lives depend on this, otherwise we are going to get hotter and drier.
- “Attracting and encouraging business with sustainable and clean energy goals. Solar, geothermal, wind, biotech are only a few of possible renewable energy sources.”
- “Getting involved in the community with the goal of informing and updating residents on how the ACC is working on their behalf. This includes awareness of resources as streaming of hearings, open meetings, and current actions by the ACC.”
- Is there anything not covered in the first six questions you would like to address.
“Until we get a law that gets dark money out of our elections, we have to be vigilant about getting out the vote in 2020. They may try to influence the uninformed but in the end, they can’t buy the vote of an educated voter.”
“For Arizona Residents, if we get the majority, we can make positive movement toward Arizona’s clean energy future and the welfare of residents.”
“I still need 2000 signatures, by the end of March 2020. Please go to sheastanfield.com to sign the petition.”
It is time to make the Corporation Commission the instrument of the People again. It is time to have commissioners that will do the people’s business and not the interests of Dark Money monopolies.
People should consider Shea Stanfield and her goals as a Corporation Commissioner when deciding whom they want on the Commission after the November elections.