Ariz. Corporation Commission: Brenda Burns
Name: Brenda Burns
Hometown: Currently live in Scottsdale; Was is Glendale for 30+ years; Grew up an Army Brat, living in many places
Office running for: Arizona Corporation Commission
In district: Statewide
Political experience: -Arizona House of Representatives 1987-1994; First Woman
House Majority Leader 2 years (one term; -Arizona State Senate 1995-2002; First Woman Senate President, 4 years (two terms)
Family: Married to Bob Isbell; Combined family of 6 children and 10 grandchildren
Please describe your platform:
Taxes are too high, utility rates are too high and we need to bring jobs and economic stability back to our state. We live in very difficult times and Arizonans deserve clean, efficient and affordable energy, water and communications, NOT Cap & Trade or other energy taxes and fees which would ‘skyrocket’ costs. Efficient and cost-effective nuclear, coal, natural gas, hydroelectric, solar and other renewable energy resources all play a role in securing Arizona’s economic and environmental future.
As a former House Majority leader and Senate president with a small business background, I understand firsthand the challenges for families, businesses and individuals on fixed incomes. I have the experience, knowledge and ability to serve Arizona ratepayers. I am prepared to use my skills and knowledge to demand accountability from regulated companies and from the Arizona Corporation Commission on behalf of Arizona's ratepayers and consumers. I will take my “Friend of the Taxpayer” rating to the ACC and be a “Friend of the Ratepayer”. My focus at the Commission will be keeping rates as low as possible while meeting Arizona’s growing energy needs.
- Every decision I make will be to ensure the lowest consumer cost possible, promote greater efficiency and secure a long term, sustainable future for Arizona’s families and businesses.
If elected, what is your first priority? Reforming the process at the ACC with an emphasis on accountability, transparency, public access and awareness. This underlying reform is important to meeting many of my top prioritites.
We must keep rates as low as possible while we meet Arizona’s growing energy and water needs. Our energy needs should include a diverse portfolio of our resources, using each to its highest and best use.
Who do you think is your biggest challenger and why? People can vote for 2 commissioners. I hope they vote for Gary Pierce and myself. Gary has done a great job on the Commission and should be returned.
What do you think sets you apart from your opponent(s)? I am an “Army Brat” with a business background and legislative service history showing that my peers elected me three times to positions of leadership. My patriotism, business experience and understanding of the political process and regulatory issues form a well rounded perspective.
Whether for people on fixed incomes, families, individuals or business, it is critical that our water and energy rates are affordable.
During my legislative service I received many awards including “Watchdog of the Year” from Az Tax Research Association; “Senator of the Year” from Arizona Chamber of Commerce”; “Guardian of Small Business” from Nat’l Federation of Independent Business and many others.
Gary Pierce has a similar background. We are both rated “Friend of the Taxpayer” by Americans for Prosperity.
What would you do to achieve more transparency in government, and should government officials be in charge of managing those efforts?
You will note I include this as a top priority. It is important that the ACC be more visible and accessible. I am convinced that the rates set by the Commission and the policies that drive those rates will have a significant economic impact on all Arizonans for many years to come and it is important that Arizonans be more involved in and aware of its actions. We need to reach out to the public and give them tools to track ACC decisions. This particularly includes reaching out to areas far from downtown Phoenix. Those who have an interest in participating in a hearing should be able to do so from other locations. In this technological age, we should be able to accomplish this.
Public notices are regarded as one important way for the public to find out what is really happening in government. Newspapers currently not only print public notices but also operate a free, consolidated, online, searchable database. Some people advocate that public notices should be available only on government websites. Do you agree that the Legislature should change the current law to mandate that public notices be available only on government websites?
This is a decision to be made at the legislature. I trust they will keep the public interest of prime importance.
What do you think is the biggest challenge right now facing Yumans, and Arizonans?
Economy, jobs, jobs
What would you do, if elected, to help change that?
Every division needs to function well. We have a large retiree population in Arizona and their retirement savings accounts are often targeted for securities fraud. The Securities Division needs to be diligent in stopping fraud and giving Arizonans tools to try to avoid them on the front end.
Corporate filings and requests must be turned around quickly so that businesses can get their investments made and move forward with their projects.
We need to maintain the safety of our railroads and pipelines.
We must have a competitive rate structure (keep rates as low as possible) to attract business and maintain our existing businesses. Bad business decisions will not be rewarded with rate increases….no bail outs on my watch!
What is one of your strength? Weaknesses (something you’d like to improve upon)?
I stay focused and get the job done. I’ve lived in many places and have visited communities all over Arizona. I understand that each community is unique.
What is one thing that you want voters to know?
I have a very strong work ethic with a strong sense of responsibility to represent the people in the way they should expect. I know when people vote for me that they are putting their faith in my judgment, abilities, and my ethics and it is important to me to keep my promises.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I appreciate the support I received from Yuma at both from the very beginning of this campaign and all the way through. Thank you for all of your time and work on this campaign. And of course, thank you for your confidence in me.