Three challengers to Jan Brewer’s reign as governor were entertained by area Republicans this week.
The Rim Country Republican Club hosted gubernatorial hopefuls Hugh Kealer, Bruce Olsen and Vernon Parker at its Dec. 28 meeting.
“They had very similar stances,” said club member Sally Low.
They all said money for education should benefit students, not administrators; there needs to be tighter control on the border; more local control; and no more taxes, Low reported.
It is their backgrounds that make the candidates different, she said.
Kealer is an Arizona native, was a star high school athlete and had a brief career in the Arena Football League, which was cut short by an injury.
Kealer earned an associate’s degree in accounting from Glendale Community College and a bachelor’s in accounting from Arizona State University West.
He is a certified public accountant working in the home and commercial building industries.
“No longer satisfied with the current state of affairs in Arizona, I feel strongly that the voice of the citizens needed to be heard. Often times it seems that the elected officials are adhering to their own political agenda and not to the majority vote of the people.
“After countless hours spent discussing the issues which continuously plague my family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues; I could only hope that somewhere, someone would stand up for the rights of the people.
“When it was realized that no one seemed willing to take a stand, I felt the best way to help was to run for governor in 2010.
“It is my goal to lead the state of Arizona with the direction of the people; focusing on listening to their needs and balancing the budget for the long term security of our state and future generations,” Kealer said on his Web site, hughkealer.com.
Bruce Olsen is a native of Nebraska and served in both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force. In 1974 he started his own aircraft sales company in Oklahoma and owned and operated an auto dealership. Olsen was also involved in commercial real estate and land development.
In 2002, semi-retired, he and his wife moved to Overgaard. He has been active in state and federal political issues for several years and is a member of the Minutemen Organization and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.
Olsen was the instigator of Senate Bill 1264 or Right of Ways legislation, authored and sponsored by former State Senator Karen Johnson. The legislation gained national attention and slowed down the Forest Service attempts to close forest roads, trails and two tracks. “However they are back at it and I need to become governor and stop them since our county commissioners won’t do their job,” Olsen said on his Web site az4therepublic.com.
Vernon Parker is mayor of Paradise Valley, a post he took in June 2008, according to his Web site vernonparker.com.
An attorney, Parker received his Juris Doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. where he served as editor in chief of the Georgetown American Criminal Law Review. He also has a bachelor’s of science degree in finance from California State University at Long Beach.
He is the founder of The VBP Group, a company specializing in human resource management and public relations.
He began his career as a financial analyst for Rockwell International. He was nominated by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed with bipartisan support by the United States Senate as the first-ever Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Agriculture.
Parker served as general counsel of the United States Office of Personnel Management in Washington, D.C. and he served in the White House as special assistant to President George H. W. Bush.
Candidates for state offices must file their nominating petitions between April 26 and May 26, 2010. Early voting for the Aug. 24 Primary Election starts July 29. Early voting for the Nov. 2 General Election starts Oct. 7.