All six Republican candidates for the new Congressional district will be at the Gila County Republican Committee's debate Friday. The debate is at 7 p.m., July 19 in the Payson High School auditorium. Former Payson Mayor Ray Schum will serve as moderator.
The candidates are Alan Everett, Sedona; Sydney Hay, Munds Park; Rick Renzi, Flagstaff; David Stafford, Globe; Lewis Tenney, Heber; and Bruce Whiting, Payson.
Everett, the former mayor of Sedona, plans to focus on quality of life issues in rural Arizona if elected.
"To retain, and in some locations improve, our quality of life, we must work with the various federal agencies that deal with land and natural resources. I have that experience," he said.
Hay has a history of political activism in the state.
She believes in limited government and said, "Every vote should be evaluated to see if it is within the function of the federal government at all. The federal government is too big, too intrusive. It spends too much, it taxes too much. Federal government should be put back in the box where it belongs," Hay said.
Rick Renzi has worked with Arizona's Congressional delegation. He helped draft legislation to allow multiple uses of the La Cienegas area of southern Arizona and the Religious Liberty Protection Act.
He said he is running for Congress because he wants to reduce taxes to stimulate Arizona's rural economy and create jobs, eliminate wasteful federal spending and streamline government.
Dave Stafford believes rural areas have practically no representation in Congress because of the overwhelming number of urban districts now represented.
"We need to establish an official committee to address the issue," he said.
He also wants to see legislation that will provide incentives to open and expand opportunities in rural districts.
Lewis Tenney believes he has a unique understanding of the challenges facing rural Arizonans.
"A strong rural economy is vital so we can continue to live, work and play in what we consider greater Arizona," he said.
Tenney is a former supervisor for Navajo County and has 25 years of experience working on school boards.
"It is important that we preserve our rural heritage with balanced land planning and wise use of our natural resources," Tenney said.
Bruce Whiting is a native of the new Congressional district, growing up and working throughout this part of Arizona with his family's company, Whiting Brothers and Kaibab Industries.
Whiting says he will work to protect personal property rights, adopt reasonable federal land-use policies and reform the Endangered Species Act.
He especially wants to see a change in the way the national forests are managed. Instead of seeing them burn down, he would like to allow professionals in the timber industry to thin them to promote a healthier environment.
Arizona's new Congressional District One includes eight counties and is the largest Congressional district in the country that is not a separate state. It is over 58,000 square miles and covers about 60 percent of the state.
The counties in District One are Apache, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Navajo, Pinal, and Yavapai.
The public will get a chance to meet all the Republican candidates at the debate tonight at the high school auditorium.
Hosted by the Gila County Republican Committee, the debate is at 7 p.m., Friday, July 19, with former Mayor Ray Schum moderating.