With incumbent Governor Jane Hull reaching the end of her term, the field for Arizona's head of state is wide open.
Well, it was wide open until it filled with a herd of hopefuls.
There are 10 hats in the governor's ring: Democrats Alfredo Gutierrez, Janet Napolitano, Mike Newcomb, and Mark Osterloh; Independent Richard Mahoney; Libertarians Gary Fallon and Barry Hess; and Republicans Betsey Bayless, Matt Salmon and Carol Springer.
As the state's chief executive officer, the governor transacts most executive business with state government officers. Duties include convening the legislature in special sessions, communicating to the legislature at every session the condition of the state and making recommendations as needed. The governor is commander-in-chief of the State National Guard and has the authority to appoint state Supreme Court justices and judges for the state Court of Appeals and trial courts.
The governor serves the state for a four-year term.
Party affiliation: Republican
Years in Arizona: Arizona native
Betsey Bayless is currently Arizona's Secretary of State and a former member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
Announcing her candidacy, Bayless said, "Educating Arizona's children will be my top priority. When I become governor, my first act will be to propose legislation to give every child in Arizona the opportunity to attend full-day kindergarten."
She said she believes by providing full-day kindergarten, it will ensure that every child can read no later than the third grade.
"Education is the only issue that touches every other issue and, while this bold proposal will require shifting of priorities, the benefits will last for generations," she said. The challenge will be to determine what will change if money is added to the public school system, she said.
"Arizona owes its students and its taxpayers an effective educational system. The future health of the economy depends upon it. Our quality of life depends upon having well-educated citizens who can face new challenges, solve problems and apply their skills as productive members of society," Bayless said, detailing her "Educating for Excellence" plan.
She proposes that the first task is to ensure there is a fair, reliable and valid measure of how students are performing compared to the adopted Arizona Academic Standards.
The next step is to create a "report card" program on schools to determine how well each school is teaching the state's children.
Addressing the state's economy, Bayless said, "The present fiscal crisis before our state presents an opportunity to re-define government at its foundation. After Maricopa County was in fiscal crisis, I was called upon to become the chairman of the board of supervisors of the sixth largest county in America. Using basic conservative principles that less is more and keeping our eye on the main mission of government, we cut our budget by making special interests pay for their own pork and devoted our scarce resources to the fundamental county responsibilities of fighting crime and providing health care. If you need surgery, you want a surgeon who has experience. I have demonstrated the ability to surgically tackle tough issues and turn them into victories for the people of this state," Bayless said in her announcement speech.
Party affiliation: Libertarian
Years in Arizona: 20
Fallon is running for governor to stop the flood of new laws endlessly being imposed on Arizonans.
"Unfortunately, the state legislature supports socialism over freedom." Fallon said on his website.
He said a state governor is not supposed to have law-making power, the greatest responsibility of the governor is to exercise veto power on bad legislation.
"As governor, I will be your one-man watchdog on the legislature," Fallon said.
He went on to list the things for which he will use the veto power:
Require the legislature to eliminate one tax, either income or sales, and abolish the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Tourism, which he considers the first step to end Arizona's corporate welfare program, before signing the state budget.
Hold up the general budget until no state appropriations are being allocated to facilities that perform abortions.
Eliminate any government agency that is due to expire through the sunset clause but is renewed by the legislature.
Protect the rights of parents who choose to home school or send their children to non-government public schools.
Oppose any bill that perpetuates the bureaucratic-heavy, government-run school monopoly.
Protect the rights of Arizonans who choose to bear arms from legislation concocted by victim-disarmament radicals.
Stop any bill that increases the size, power and cost of government unless it is to restore the rights of individuals who unjustly lost their rights by the effects of government action.
Fallon also promises to pardon drug offenders who were convicted for the use or possession of drugs, so long as there were no violent crimes or crimes against property involved; and political prisoners who are falsely accused on trumped-up government charges, such as the Viper Militia victims and abortion protesters.
Party affiliation: Democrat
Years in Arizona: 56
Although he currently resides in Phoenix, Alfredo Gutierrez was born and grew up in Gila County.
And while he's been out of government for 16 years, Gutierrez can rightfully boast a wealth of political experience. A former state senator and lobbyist, his colleagues praise his rare ability to build coalitions and the fact that he has never forgotten his roots among the working people.
Gutierrez believes the three biggest problems faced by the state are a vacuum of leadership and dearth of vision, an educational infrastructure that has been allowed to deteriorate, and the abandonment of rural Arizona.
To encourage economic development in rural Arizona, Gutierrez believes education needs to be equalized throughout the state.
"An elementary teacher in Douglas, Arizona, makes $7,500 less than a similar teacher in Paradise Valley," he said.
To overcome the state's budget crisis, Gutierrez believes that corporate tax and other loopholes must be closed.
But the candidate also claims to understand the needs of business.
"I have personally dealt with the specific challenges of a successful small business," he said.
If elected, Gutierrez promises financial reform.
"I want to leave as a legacy a fair and equitable revenue system supporting a budget that addresses the needs of all of Arizona's most vulnerable citizens and its environment and bolsters an economy based on a fair wage and a fair return on investment," he said.
Gutierrez believes that children and Arizona's incredible landscapes are its most treasured resources.
For more information, call (602) 230-8600 or go to alfredo2002.com.
Party affiliation: Libertarian
Years in Arizona: 22
"My decision to seek the Libertarian nomination for governor is really very simple; I just want my freedoms, my rights and my responsibilities back. I know enough to know that I can't have mine, until everybody else has theirs," Hess said on his website.
"If we keep electing our so-called representatives from the same inbred gene pool we cannot hope to see the conditions in our great state even begin to change. And change it must if we are to continue to call ourselves 'free'. All of the other candidates can tell you that they 'know how it's done', they've served in government before and they know how to choose their actions based on politics, rather than right and wrong."
He intends to declare war on the "war on drugs," as he believes it tramples on natural rights. He proposes to free all Arizonans who are imprisoned without having committed a crime against another citizen, their property or their rights.
Hess also said he will remove political influence from schools to enhance the quality of education and encourage competition rather than contempt.
"Competition begets excellence in education our children," Hess said.
Party affiliation: Independent
Years in Arizona: 51
Independent candidate Richard Mahoney, who served four years as secretary of state, is a fourth-generation Arizonan. His grandfather was a founder of the state, a decorated sheriff of Mohave County, and, as state senator, wrote the first minimum wage law for women. His father, a United States ambassador under John F. Kennedy, desegregated Arizona's public schools a year before the Brown v. Board of Education decision.
As secretary of state, Mahoney made significant changes in Arizona's elections laws including simplifying voter registration and enabling independents to vote in primary elections. He also successfully pushed for tougher lobbyist reporting and stringent safeguards on charitable telemarketing. At the end of the fiscal year 1992 he returned 15 percent of his budget to the state in the form of a check.
Mahoney believes the quality of life in Arizona is declining and that mediocre, self-dealing political leadership is doing nothing to reverse that decline.
"Whether measured in economic or educational contraction, shrinking health care, fiscal breakdown, chronic respiratory pollution, or boondoggle schemes like alt-fuels or alt-stadiums, the two political parties provide little more than token measures and unending dispute," he said. "The well intentioned people they propose as candidates are hogtied to powerful special interests that are Arizona's true political elite."
As governor, Mahoney promises to chart a course independent of corporate welfare and inside trading.
"The single way to reverse the decline in Arizona's quality of life is to elect new political leadership outside of the special interest auction," he said. "The challenge is to shut down corporate welfare and invest in human and economic growth."
For more information, call (602)-258-1780 or go to mahoneyforgovernor.com.
Mahoney is also planning a campaign visit to Payson at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, at the Ox Bow Saloon.
Party affiliation: Democrat
Years in Arizona: 19
Janet Napolitano, Arizona's attorney general, is considered by many political insiders as the candidate to beat in the race for governor.
Among Napolitano's top priorities as attorney general has been protecting children. Since her election in 1998, she has targeted and reduced a backlog of child dependency cases by 77 percent, providing safe homes for thousands of Arizona kids.
She also prosecuted drug traffickers who manufactured drugs in homes where children are present and implemented the Attorney General's School Hotline for children when trouble arises at school. And this year she is launching a major effort to keep the Internet safe from predators who might try to take advantage of children while they are on-line.
Before being elected attorney general, Napolitano served for over 5 years as Arizona's U.S. Attorney. In that post she helped land $65 million in federal funds to put more police on Arizona's streets, helped the state respond to the Amtrak derailment near Phoenix, and helped manage the portion of the Oklahoma City bombing investigation that focused on Timothy McVeigh's activities in Kingman.
Prior to her service as U.S. Attorney, Napolitano made headlines by successfully arguing before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that churches should be protected from governmental searches in the now famous Sanctuary case.
She came to Arizona in 1983 as a law clerk to U.S. Appeals Court Judge Mary Shroeder, and in 1989 became a partner at the Phoenix law firm of Lewis and Roca. She was named U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona by President Clinton in 1993, and was elected Arizona Attorney General in 1998.
Napolitano believes that Arizona must continue to diversify economically, and state government must pay special attention to increasing diversity in its rural areas. The major damage inflicted by recent wildfires makes that even more urgent.
For more information, call (602) 253-2500 or go to gojanet.org.
Party affiliation: Democrat
Years in Arizona: 12
Residence: Cave Creek
Mike Newcomb, a Cave Creek physician, says he is running for governor because he is concerned about Arizona's collapsing education and health care systems.
The first member of his family to go to college, Newcomb claims a special affinity for the elderly and the poor. His parents were born into poverty, but shared a deep commitment to family and a common belief in the decency and potential that all people possess.
"The decision to become a candidate is based on a belief that we must put people first," he said. "I am not a politician. I have watched as current and past leaders of our state have neglected to invest in the citizens of Arizona."
The candidate believes the state must do a better job of educating its children.
"Education was my great liberator," he said. "Education opened new horizons and made me believe that all things are possible. I believe that all people can improve if given an opportunity."
Newcomb and wife Maritza, have two children.
For more information, call (602) 620-0728 or go to ilikemike2002.com.
Party affiliation: Democrat
Years in Arizona: 49
Mark Osterloh, a Tucson physician, has done much of his campaigning by bicycle.
He has pedaled more than 2,000 miles in the process and knocked on 40,000 doors, including those of many Rim country residents on a recent campaign visit to the Payson area.
The native Arizonan gave up a successful ophthalmology practice to combine his medical and law expertise to pursue his personal passion to ensure a high quality of life for all residents.
He graduated from the University of Arizona with both medical and law degrees.
In 1998, Osterloh led the fight to remove special interest money from politics as the author of the Clean Elections bill. Often referred to as "the $5 guy," Osterloh believes it is donations of this size that will add up to a return of political power to the people.
Two years later, in 2000, he authored an initiative that expands health care to the working poor. The Healthy Arizona I and II initiatives use Arizona's $3 billion share of the tobacco settlement to provide health insurance for residents who live below the poverty line.
Osterloh also co-authored an initiative in 2000 that took the job of drawing political districts out of the hands of politicians.
While Osterloh is often seen hanging around the state capitol, he, wife Pat and their two sons reside in Tucson.
For more information, call (520) 529-8776 or go to markosterloh.com.
Party affiliation: Republican
Years in Arizona: 32
A former Arizona Congressman, Matt Salmon said he will deliver common sense solutions to Arizona's challenges by revitalizing the economy, improving schools, protecting citizens' income from the endless appetites of government and protecting the innocent from crime.
Salmon proposes to create 500,000 new jobs and veto tax increases.
He wants to see increased enforcement and penalties for corporate wrongdoing and affordable and accessible medication for Arizona seniors.
Salmon also has a detailed initiative to protect forests and reduce forest management gridlock. Its primary elements include:
Work with the Congressional delegation to streamline the cumbersome planning, study and consultation process required in the decision process used by the Forest Service.
Have all interested parties sign a pledge not to use the courts for two years while forestry experts consider and implement measures to protect the long-term health of the forests.
Encourage the commercial viability of conservation efforts, including supporting industries which create products out of material generated from forest thinning.
Request the attorney general pursue legal avenues to allow Arizona to intervene as a party in litigation where Arizona lives and property are at stake.
Party affiliation: Republican
Years in Arizona: 33
Arizona's state treasurer Carol Springer made the decision to run for governor because of the state's budget crisis.
"Arizona is in the midst of a monumental financial crisis. It faces another billion dollar budget deficit next year," she said in her statement in the Clean Elections pamphlet.
Springer believes common sense and accountability are fundamental requirements in being able to do a good job managing taxpayer money and producing the necessary services for citizens.
Springer was elected state treasurer in 1998 and from 1991 to 1998, served as the state senator for Legislative District 1, which includes the Prescott area and parts of the Verde Valley. During her tenure as a senator, she was a leader in state budget reforms and helped the state receive national recognition for its fiscal responsibility.
Other important issues tackled during her years in the state senate:
Ensured that substantial tax cuts were included in every state budget adopted.
More than $2.5 billion in tax cuts enacted since 1993.
Sponsored a $150 million vehicle license tax cut proposal in 1998.
Assorted education measures.
Water issues, including creating of the water banking program that allows Arizona to retain unused CAP water allocations for future needs.