Two construction company owners will duke it out in the general election for the District 2 Gila County supervisor seat.
Incumbent Tim Humphrey, a Republican, has lived in Gila County most of his life, graduating from Globe High School in 1977. After a career in taxidermy, Humphrey started Dream Pole Construction. In 2013, the Globe Miami Chamber of Commerce named his company Business of the year.
After two unsuccessful attempts at running for the District 2 supervisor seat, he won in 2016.
During his four-year tenure, Humphrey cleaned up blight, streamlined the county permit process and connected with constituents.
At a Payson Tea Party meeting in 2019, Humphrey explained why he addressed the permit process.
Despite owning a construction company, Humphrey “quit building in Gila County because it was so difficult to get a permit.”
Using a public-private partnership, Humphrey got the plan review process turnaround time to go from 30 and up to 45 days to 10 days.
He also supported hiring on contract code violation hearing officers to restore integrity to the citation and fine process.
To combat blight, Humphrey instigated the monthly Dollar Dump Day at the Buckhead Mesa Landfill northeast of Payson and the Russell Gulch Landfill near Globe.
By the time he talked to the Tea Party last summer, the dollar days had cleaned up 6.4 million pounds of trash.
But Humphrey has felt most effective through his constituent outreach.
As people watched him lead by his philosophy, “if it’s broke, let’s fix it. If it’s not working, let’s try to figure out why and do something about it,” they began to trust he would listen and respond.
He’d like to continue these programs and improving infrastructure and bringing broadband to the county.
Humphrey’s challenger, Fred Barcón, a Democrat, has a similar background as Humphrey and looks to improve the economy of the county through support to business.
Barcón was born and raised in Miami, where he has lived for 75 years. He graduated from Miami High School.
He started at Arizona State University after high school but left after one year when the Inspiration Copper Company hired him as a smelter. He moved into carpentry after a few years, the first Hispanic to receive an apprenticeship in the craft.
After the mine laid him off, Barcón started his own construction company, Barcón Construction.
After a few years, the firm expanded operations throughout the state by winning federal contracts. His company ultimately got the attention of the National Hispanic list of 100 Fastest Growing Companies two years in a row.
Barcón served on Gila County’s Industrial Development Authority economic development committee for 27 years.
He left last year “by the current Board of Supervisors,” he said.
“I have a long history butting heads with the illogical and poor decision made by the Board of Supervisors,” said Barcón.
He believes the IDA to have the potential to serve as one of the “most powerful economic tools in the county,” but the decision by the BOS to remove Miami and a large “swath between Globe and Miami from the Opportunity Zone.”
An Opportunity Zone is an area set up to receive help for small business loans and grants.
“The lack of awareness of what they were doing literally crippled efforts to bring investors into District 2, investors that are desperately needed,” said Barcón.
Barcón would like to see the BOS return to providing “a minimum of $200,000 and a maximum of $500,000 to our Gila County Provisional College,” he said.
Finally, Barcón would like to convene a group of citizens from his district to “meet with USDA and other federal entities to develop a workable economic plan.”
“Our county needs a major course-correction,” he said. “We’re facing several tax increases and the devastating effects of the pandemic have only made matters worse! Gila County needs strong, knowledgeable leadership to navigate through the turbulent times ahead. We need leadership with a proven track record of success — it’s time to rebuild Gila County.”