Gila County residents have approached Bernadette Kniffin, candidate for Gila County District 3 supervisor, to tell her there’s a lack of equity.

She believes she can answer their concerns.

“I would like to see a stronger voice for all residents of Gila County,” she said.

As the director of two of the San Carlos Apache Tribe’s social assistance programs, Kniffin says she has the experience and connections to provide transportation and access to education and career training, as she has spent her career finding solutions to promote self-sufficiency.

“The greatest resource of Gila County is our people,” she said.

Yet Kniffin also understands the demographics of the community. Kniffin quotes the Bureau of Labor Statistics that ranked Gila County No. 1 in the state for the percentage of the population on Social Security at 10%. The BLS also ranked Gila County with the highest cost of transportation per individual in the state. This adds to the challenge of providing services.

One of Kniffin’s plans is to expand and coordinate transit service to improve county residents’ lives.

“This would assist individuals with limited income or limited transportation to access business activities in the county in a cost-effective manner,” she said.

Kniffin said she hopes these programs would help county residents recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“The unemployment rate has been rising,” said Kniffin. “I will bring my experience to work towards the development of education and skill building opportunities in the county ... I promise I will be a strong voice for all residents.”

Contact the reporter at mnelson@payson.com

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