Ariz. Corporation Commission: Gary Pierce
Name: Gary Pierce
Hometown: Mesa and Yuma, Arizona
Office running for: Arizona Corporation Commission
In district: Statewide
Political experience: Yuma County Board of Supervisors 1993-1997, Arizona State House of Representatives 2001-2007, ACC 2007-2010
Family: I have been married to Sherry for 37 years; we have four married sons and nine grandchildren. Justin, Matt and Ryan all graduated from Cibola High School. Kyle was born in Yuma and graduated in Mesa. All four of my sons are Eagle Scouts.
Please describe your platform:
My main priority on the Commission has been, and will continue to be, keeping utility rates stable, balanced, and as low as reasonably possible for Arizona ratepayers. My no vote in the APS rate case last year is proof of that.
Second, I want to streamline and address procedural inefficiencies at the Commission, including creating a new electronic filing system for the formation of new LLCs and corporations.
Finally, I will encourage a diversified portfolio of energy sources, always with an eye towards cost, efficiency, and the environment.
If elected, what is your first priority?
Meet with the utilities and remind them that we are in a recession, that we are in this economic downturn together, and that their customers expect relief during this difficult time.
Who do you think is your biggest challenger and why?
I am running for one of two seats and actually, I think the other most qualified is Brenda Burns. I hope we have the same number of votes since voters can vote for two.
What do you think sets you apart from your opponent(s)?
In Yuma, I was a small business owner with over seventy employees, I assure you that I know what many of you face and have faced every day. Our struggling economy dictates that utility companies must squeeze more out of their current income, too. You need to know that I hold these monopolies accountable. If utilities make bad decisions, there are no bailouts, just consequences. I have served on the Corporation Commission for the past four years and my main priority on the Commission has been, and will continue to be, keeping utility rates stable, balanced and as low as reasonably possible for Arizona ratepayers. While in the legislature and as a county supervisor in Yuma, I was able to study and make decisions concerning the growth of Yuma and Arizona. That is much of what we do at the ACC. Only Brenda Burns has similar qualifications
What would you do to achieve more transparency in government, and should government officials be in charge of managing those efforts?
We are making great strides in making government easier to monitor and participate in, at the ACC. Our Information Technology Division is using all the resources available to expand the public’s ability to view their government in action. It will be my pleasure to bring complete transparency to the government I am a part of. On the question of who should manage the effort, I think elected officials who are accountable to the voters are the ones to make sure transparency in government takes place in a timely fashion.
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?
I will leave that to the competing interests. Newspapers, municipalities, and attorneys can argue this one to the legislature. At the ACC, we will abide by the statutes.
What do you think is the biggest challenge right now facing Yumans, and Arizonans?
The stagnant economy is the biggest challenge
What would you do, if elected, to help change that?
At the ACC we can make sure we are efficient in our processes. It is important for the Corporations Division of the ACC to turn around applications for new LLC’s and standard corporations quickly with the goal to do a one-two day process. We need to keep utility rates stable and as low as possible in order to attract new business and manufacturing. We must continue to make sure our Securities Division of the ACC is tracking down the “scammers” who would swindle you out of your life savings. With me at the ACC, crooks will know that they will be watched, investigated, and prosecuted.
What is one of your strength? Weaknesses (something you’d like to improve upon)?
My life experiences are my strength. I am uniquely qualified because of my business and political background. My experience of raising my family in rural Arizona but also living in the larger metropolitan area brings a strong understanding of all Arizona issues. Weaknesses? I have plenty to work on and I am doing that.
What is one thing that you want voters to know?
While a legislator I was rated a friend of the Taxpayer by Americans for Prosperity. While a Yuma County supervisor, I voted to cut property taxes. I will always watch out for your financial interest when it comes to government assessments on you.
Is there anything else you’d like to?
Many of my Yuma friends contacted me and I appreciated the overwhelming endorsement in May as I wrote a letter to challenge the confused mayor and city council of Los Angeles. Boycotting Arizona, a provider of electricity, water, and friendly landfills, was shortsighted. To be selective in the boycott is pure hypocrisy! They needed to be called out for it, and 93 percent of Americans agreed with me!