All three candidates running for the state House in District 29 are qualified to hold office.
Republican Pat Kilburn and incumbent Democrats Matt Heinz and Daniel Patterson have done their homework and offer specific ideas.
There are distinct differences in some of their positions, and we leave it to voters to determine which most closely match their views.
Heinz managed to shepherd three bills into law in the last session, even though he was a freshman and in the minority party.
He is the only practicing doctor in the Legislature and brings that knowledge to discussions about health bills. He says he was able to forestall cuts to Medicare reimbursments by explaining the implications.
Heinz says the state was foolish to lay off auditors and tax collectors who would bring in revenue already due the state.
Both he and Patterson advocate lowering the state sales-tax rate but broadening the base to include services. Most states tax services, and Arizona can no longer exempt such a big piece of the economy, Heinz says.
He also says the state should tax online purchases and increase the tax on alcohol, which hasn't changed since 1983.
Kilburn, a Vietnam veteran who worked for various federal agencies for more than 30 years, says the state budget grew 62 percent from 2002 to 2008, while the population grew far less.
The same is true in higher education, where administrative costs increased faster than enrollment, he says.
Administrative costs need to be cut, and the universities should be given more leeway to develop and sell products to bring in revenue, Kilburn says. He favors raising tuition to out-of-state students but not to Arizonans.
He opposes the property tax on business equipment and says Arizona has so many regulations that companies don't want to operate here.
He also takes a poke at both major parties, saying they have not worked together to solve Arizona's problems. His main allegiance, he says, would be to the residents of District 29, not to the Republican Party.
Patterson, an ecologist, says Arizona spends too much money locking up nonviolent offenders and should consider reforming the state land system to allow the quicker sale of some property.
During the budget crisis, some big transportation projects may have to be postponed, he adds.
He'd favor cutting business property taxes as part of broader tax reform. Arizona is in about the middle of states in its level of regulation, Patterson says.
All three oppose privatizing prisons, while Heinz and Kilburn say they'd consider privatizing parks. Heinz and Patterson approve of the medical marijuana initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot, while Kilburn is a "no."
Each candidate has some views with which we agree and some with which we do not. Overall, though, we find all three to be well-prepared.
The two who are chosen should work as a team to most effectively represent their district, which includes parts of central and south Tucson and the southeast side.
On the Senate side, Linda Lopez, a Democrat, is running unopposed.
Arizona Daily Star