Meet the Candidates: Gary Wright - Supervisors District 5
The Yuma Sun is spotlighting the candidates ahead of the Nov. 6 general election. Greg Ferguson, Gary Wright, David Lerma and Mike Caltabiano are the candidates running for Yuma County Board of Supervisors District 5. Caltabiano declined to fill it the questionnaire. Check out past editions of Meet the Candidates online at www.YumaSun.com/Elections.
Name: Gary Wright
Office running for: Yuma County Board of Supervisors, District 5
Education: M.A. degree, Adams State College, Alamosa, Colo.; B.A. degree, Ft. Lewis College, Durango, Colo.; licensed real estate agent, Arizona; licensed private pilot, FAA; Arizona School of Real Estate: Appraisal of Property Classes; Working on completion of classes for a licensed real estate appraiser
To what organizations do you belong? Arizona School Board Association (2007-2011); National School Board Association (2007-2011)
What in your past experiences helps qualify you for this seat? Knowledge in real estate, licensed agent for the state of Arizona. Working on being a licensed real estate appraiser (Arizona School of Real Estate, Scottsdale location); retired teacher, 30 years, former governing board member of Yuma School District 1 (2007-2011); licensed FAA private pilot (VFR). Knowledge of FAA rules and regulations governing airports and use of them as a private pilot.
If elected, what is one issue on which you would focus to improve Yuma's quality of life? How? Yuma County business and residential property owners need my representation to bring accountability and representation on property taxes. Lower Yuma property taxes below the state average of $1,118 (Yuma County average is $1,299) to attract business and corporations that are product-based industries to lower our unemployment rate of 31.2 percent. Raise property values (Yuma County, $187,440 average) by creating more qualified buyers who would be employed by new industries in Yuma County.
What do you think is the biggest challenge right now facing Yumans and how would you change it? Yuma County has the highest percentage of citizens in the state who are “food insecure” (Yuma Community Food Bank Support Program). The number of children in Yuma County who are deprived is at 42.9 percent, well above the state average of 29 percent. These are not “homeless or strangers receiving help, they are everyday people who are our neighbors,” according to the director of the Yuma Community Food Bank. Our unemployment rate will drive up and set new records unless we have the leadership to change its course. We need to change the direction of the board of supervisors where everyone focuses on the most important priorities such as unemployment, high property taxes, above the state average, and reduction of the huge numbers of Yuma citizens who are “food insecure” due to the economic conditions in Yuma County.
1. Attract product-based industry with tax incentives to relocate to Yuma County.
2. Stop raising property taxes on devalued business and residential properties and reduce the size of county government.
3. Raise the employment earnings of citizens in Yuma County ($23,757) to exceed the state average ($24,251) by creating higher paying jobs that are product-based businesses rather than service-based retail shops.
What would you do to make government more accessible? Political transparency is the key. Listen to the public and take their ideas and thoughts and use them as a basis for solutions to make our county a prosperous community.
Who is your personal hero and why? Albert Einstein. “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.” He changed the world by what he has done, not by what he promised to do for mankind.