Congressional Hopefuls Talk Of Budgets, Environmental Policy

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A total of 16 men and women are vying for election to Congressional District One the newly formed district that is the largest single congressional district in the nation, that is not a separate state.

Their fates will be decided by the voters in their parties in the Sept. 10 primary election, with the final congressional choice made at the Nov. 5 general election.

Each Friday in July, the Roundup has run brief profiles of the 16 candidates.

A debate of the Republican candidates takes place tonight (Friday) at the Payson High School auditorium, beginning at 7 p.m.

George Cordova

Party affiliation: Democrat

Age: 36

Years in Arizona: 31

Residence: Payson

In many ways congressional candidate George Cordova, a Payson resident, has lived the American dream.

When Cordova was 5 years old, his father Adam brought his extremely poor family from Mexico to the United States in search of a better life. His father started that life as a migrant farm worker and single parent in a rural community at the foothills of the White Tanks Mountains near Buckeye.

Although he only had a third-grade education, Adam Cordova knew the value of higher learning and impressed upon his children the importance of school.

Young George Cordova also learned the value of hard work by assisting his father with migrant farm labor after attending school each day. Being the second oldest among seven boys, Cordova felt the responsibilities of parenting early on in life, helping to raise his younger brothers while his father worked long hours to provide for the family.

The candidate's enthusiasm for community involvement began while attending Agua Fria High School. By his senior year, Cordova had become the state president of the Future Business Leaders of America and a member of the state student council.

In 1983, Cordova won the George Washington Honor Medal, awarded by the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge for leadership, citizenship and patriotism.

Cordova pursued his education at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University with course work at Thunderbird American Graduate School of International Management. Equipped with a strong education in management and business finance, he joined a venture capital firm where he soon became an equity partner.

Cordova's education served as a springboard for the success he has enjoyed in the business world. His most rewarding successes have been in guiding small businesses struggling to get off the ground or stay afloat.

Because of his significant business experiences, Cordova says he understands both the needs and the importance of small businesses to our nation.

If elected, Cordova says he will work to bring economic development and new jobs to the rural communities in the district so young people don't have to move away to find work.

He also promises to fight to improve healthcare coverage and services for seniors and veterans, to protect and guarantee Social Security benefits, and to fight for immediate prescription drug coverage. In the process, he vows to "lead from the heart and leave no one behind."

For more information, Cordova can be reached at (928) 853-4915 or www.gogeorgego.com.

Roger Hartstone

Party affiliation: Democrat

Age: (unavailable)

Years in Arizona: 19

Residence: Flagstaff

Roger Hartstone has lived and worked in Flagstaff for almost 20 years. Prior to that he was in California.

He earned a law degree from Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles, Calif. in 1982.

Education tops the list of issues Hartstone hopes to pursue in Congress.

"We ought to provide the opportunity for students to learn, to explore, to create, to develop," he said. "Public schools must be educational havens for our children: centers of discipline, with challenge encouraged, respect rewarded, and accountability required."

Hartstone detailed his stance on economic development, saying, "We must create business growth, which will then employ our people, and generate taxes for our communities. We must respect the importance of the industries that built Arizona and ensure their survival: cotton, copper, cattle, citrus and climate."

He wants to see alternative forms of energy pursued.

"Arizona's 300 days of sunshine annually plead for solar water heating and wind farms, and could make rural areas self-sufficient," he said. "Water must be used, never wasted. We must discourage waste, encourage efficiency and promote energy independence."

He supports a woman's right to choose, he said, quoting Justice William O. Douglas, who said in 1952, "Once privacy is invaded, privacy is gone."

Rick Renzi

Party affiliation: Republican

Age: 44

Years in Arizona: 15

Residence: Flagstaff

The field of congressional hopefuls is packed with 15 men and women who want to represent central and eastern Arizona.

Their fates will be decided by voters in their parties at Sept. 10 primary election, with the final congressional choice made at the Nov. 5 general election.

Rick Renzi says he is running for Congress because he wants to reduce taxes to stimulate Arizona's rural economy and create jobs, eliminate wasteful Washington spending, streamline government and make it more efficient.

His plans regarding taxes are to reduce the marriage penalty tax and make the repeal of the "death" tax permanent. He believes in the long term, the existing tax structure must be replaced with a fairer tax system.

To stimulate the rural economy, Renzi supports allowing the Arizona Snowbowl to institute snowmaking to assure a ski season for Flagstaff. He also is in favor of the land exchange between the Yavapai Ranch and the U.S. Forest Service, which will give Flagstaff property to expand its airport.

To reduce Washington spending, Renzi pledges to work with a non-profit group, Citizens Against Government Waste, to identify pork barrel programs and eliminate them.

Renzi spent a large part of his youth in southern Arizona and attended college at Northern Arizona University. He started his business career in Flagstaff, then went to Washington, D.C.

While in Washington, he enrolled in the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University and earned his degree in May 2002, specializing in law and public policy.

He also worked for members of Arizona's Congressional delegation while in Washington, and helped draft the La Cienegas National Conservation Act. The act creates a compromise providing opportunities for multiple uses in the La Cienegas area of southern Arizona.

Renzi also helped craft the Religious Liberty Protection Act which protects the ability of religious institutions to expand and serve their communities.

Dave Stafford

Party affiliation: Republican

Age: 36

Years in Arizona: 36

Residence: Gilbert (but spent 17 years in Globe)

District One Republican candidate Dave Stafford believes there is a growing disparity between rural and urban districts in Washington, D.C.

"The rural districts in the United States have lost almost all influence in Congress because of the overwhelming number of urban districts now represented," Stafford said. "We need to establish an official committee to address the issue."

The candidate also believes that Congress needs to pass legislation that will provide incentives to companies and federal contractors to open and expand opportunities in rural districts.

"My No. 1 concern is that all too often the needs of rural districts are overlooked," he said.

Stafford believes better job training programs are needed to prepare workers for new opportunities. Additionally, Stafford says he will work tirelessly to limit the over-regulation of small business operations so that small businesses can continue to prosper and expand.

Stafford announced his candidacy surrounded by law enforcement officers a reflection of his support for the Arizona Police Corps Program and of his emphasis on national security.

"In my 11 years of law enforcement experience, I have witnessed the challenges of recruiting new law enforcement officers, especially in rural areas," he said.

"National security is one of our country's top issues and security begins right here at home with our local law enforcement agencies."

Stafford, who was born and raised in the district, believes his "hometown commitment and values" make him uniquely attuned to the needs of District One.

"When I look at the diverse needs of our communities, I realize I am the only Congressional candidate who has the wide range of experience to understand our citizen's needs," he said.

"I have law enforcement experience and I also have extensive experience as a small business owner.

"Additionally, I have finance and insurance experience in a management role with a Fortune 500 company."

A graduate of Arizona State University, Stafford is in the process of earning a masters degree in business administration at the University of Phoenix.

Stafford is committed to the preservation and growth of Social Security. He also believes that prescription drug coverage should be extended to all of our senior citizens, and that seniors ages 55 to 65 should be allowed to "buy into" low cost Medicare coverage.

Stafford and his wife, Karen, have two children, Devin and Lauren.

For more information, he can be reached at (800) 220-6828 or www.staffordforcongress.com.

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