New County Supervisor Focusing On Forests, Economy

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Trees, tangible wealth and education are top priorities for incoming Gila County Supervisor Tommie Cline Martin when she's sworn into office this January.

"I have an agenda about healthy forests and bringing industry back and using it as part of the solution for healthy forests," Martin said.

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Tommie Cline Martin

Martin's economic focus, though, will go beyond northern Gila County's forests.

"I want us to jump-start industry at every opportunity," she said.

Martin said bringing back hard wealth -- natural resources like copper, forests and agriculture -- is imperative to stabilize the county's economy.

"By balancing the wealth sources through dynamic diversity we will get a stable economy," she said.

Martin will strive to steady hard wealth needs and what she defines as "soft wealth" or taxes, interest, stocks, dividends, recreation, entertainment, tourism and speculative real estate.

Part of this stability will come from making the quality of post-secondary education consistent and relevant.

"Our young people have no place to go for trade training, except maybe nursing, but otherwise there's nothing," she said.

She wants students to get training for high-quality jobs and keep those jobs here. "With a balanced economy, we would have those jobs here," she said.

Martin also would like to see new infrastructure for county services in northern Gila County.

"The facility needs to include a new jail with a secure, attached courtroom," she said. "It should be a one-stop shop."

Ideally, county and town government facilities should be near each other and retail shops for easy access.

"I want people re-engaged in the governing process," Martin said. "Whatever we do should give them faith and trust and a desire to become involved."

As it is, she said, nobody wants to get involved.

"They see it as an expensive and painful process and everything we do as a society makes it worse at all levels. There is less trust, less faith and no desire. We don't throw our best at it. Politicians and politics have become dirty words. We used to look up to them," Martin said.

She said she believes the best governance is when people are involved from the beginning.

"We should do whatever it takes to get them well-informed about the problems, all the factors (to consider) and the possible solutions. They will make a better decision collectively than you can by yourself," Martin said.

"We need to take the time to get it right the first time and that means getting the people involved in the conversation," she said. "Our most important infrastructure is a partnership with the people."

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