Gubernatorial candidate Buz Mills said he will make the cuts to balance the state’s massive budget deficit, but will not skimp on funding to secure Arizona’s border, which he said is under attack from illegal immigrants.
“I will use every resource available to me, everyone we got, including the National Guard” to secure the border, Mills said at a recent Military Officers Association of America luncheon at Crosswinds Restaurant. “They (illegal immigrants) are coming for some nefarious reason.”
Mills said Arizona has a tremendous drug problem, and the federal government is doing nothing to stop the flow of illegals.
“They don’t care about us here because there is only five million votes here,” he said. In other border states, more has been done because there are more votes there.
Mills said he supports the new immigration law, although similar federal statutes have been on the books for decades, because it is bringing national attention to a serious issue.
In late May, President Obama ordered 1,200 National Guard troops to the border. Obama promised Governor Jan Brewer the majority would serve on the Arizona-Mexico border.
Arizona needs 10,000 troops to solve the state’s border issues, Mills said.
Mills said he supports state Sen. Russell Pearce’s latest proposal to deny citizenship to children born in the U.S. of illegal immigrants.
“No other country does that,” Mills said of the U.S. Constitution, which in the 14th amendment guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the U.S.
“We need to fix that,” he said. “I will do whatever we have to do to secure our borders.”
An audience member asked Mills, a self-proclaimed entrepreneur for 35 years, if he could handle the pressures of being governor, especially with all of the challenges the state currently faces.
“I have no fear. There is nothing these people can do to me,” he said.
Mills reiterated multiple times that he is a businessperson, not a politician, and therefore does not owe anyone anything. Mills currently owns Gunsite, a firearms training facility in Paulden, Ariz.
“I don’t have anything invested in the political system,” he said. “I look at this with a wide angle lens.”
To fix the state’s budget woes, Mills suggests privatization of state parks, school food service and janitors, among other things, and deregulation.
“I am here to provide leadership,” he said. “I will be the first salesman for Arizona.”
Mills said the state has to attract more businesses if it wants to solve its budget woes. With its tax structure, education system and beautiful weather, Arizona is the ideal location for any business, he said.
“There is nothing we don’t have for a business or industry to come here,” he said.
Gov. Brewer has exasperated the state’s budget crisis and does not have the leadership to fix the problem, according to Mills.
“We are broke and no one is doing anything about it,” he said. “Someone should provide leadership. That is what we need to solve our problems.”
Mills said he would say “no” to increased spending and raising taxes and would make the hard cuts no one else is willingly to make.
An audience member asked Mills how he differentiates himself from opponent Dean Martin.
“There are stark differences between me and Dean Martin,” Mills said.
Mills held his hand up to his waist and said you have to be this tall to be governor, insinuating Martin, who is also the state’s treasure, does not have the experience necessary.
Mills also said Gov. Jan Brewer does not have the executive experience needed.
“There is no leadership there,” he said. “We need a different perspective. I am not going to sell the capitol building. I am not going to drink the Kool-Aid.”
“Border, money, jobs. That’s Buz,” he concluded.
Republicans running against Mills in the Aug. 24 primary are former state Treasurer Martin, Apache Junction resident Matthew Jette, Mesa resident Tom Gordon and incumbent Jan Brewer. Tucson lawyer John Munger recently withdrew from the race.
In the Libertarian Party, Springerville resident Ron Cavanaugh, Overgaard resident Barry Hess, Overgaard resident Bruce Olsen and Prescott Valley resident Alvin Ray Yount are squaring off.
The Green Party has one candidate, Tempe resident Larry Gist. Attorney General Terry Goddard is the sole Democratic candidate.