Garcia hoping ‘new energy’ will vote in November
BULLHEAD CITY — The Democratic candidate for Arizona governor said there is a new energy across Arizona.
Education professor and U.S. Army veteran David Garcia beat two fellow Democrats in the August primary and is challenging Gov. Doug Ducey in the Nov. 6 primary election.
“New people and new energy that does not vote for the same old policies — that new energy is looking for a change and that is exciting,” Garcia said. “You are joining people from across the state, teachers who are taking into their own hands to improve their profession — young people who want safer campuses, women across Arizona who are organizing in Indivisible and other groups to change Arizona.”
The candidate, former Arizona associate superintendent of public instruction, has spent 12 years as a professor at Arizona State University and said education is the state’s number one issue that can change Arizona in the future.
“You’ll never have a governor more committed to public education than me,” he said. “What we can do first and foremost is fund public education — and in that, we need to treat our teachers like professionals — the challenges keep coming, we’ve got to treat our teachers well.”
Speaking before a bi-partisan crowd at El Palacio in Bullhead City, Garcia took direct questions from those attending, including topics on education, internet access and expanding health care for rural Arizonans.
“I believe that focusing on Medicaid is a great start for Arizona,” Garcia said. “It’s the best network we have. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but our AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System) is our best network in Arizona.”
Garcia also has plans to expand internet access into rural areas.
“There are some interesting ways to do this,” he said. “From fully state funded to cooperatives to a hybrid — it’s important not just for economic development but for education for rural Arizona.”
In response to questions, Garcia said he is against Proposition 126, which would prohibit the state from taxing services, and also against Proposition 305, which seeks to expand school vouchers in Arizona.
“(Proposition 305) works exactly the same way as vouchers, public money leaving our public schools to go to private schools,” Garcia said.
Garcia stated his commitment to public lands and the environment, noting natural resources and public lands tourism as among the largest economic drivers for the state.
“I think public lands need to stay in public hands,” Garcia told the Daily News. “It’s a wonderful part of Arizona; that we have access to public lands that I don’t think are mine or yours I think they belong to everybody and our open spaces and beautiful public lands in Arizona are a huge asset to this state. I don’t want to see them threatened or taken away to be privatized.”
He also fielded questions on immigration.
“It is actually very American to be fighting for an immigration system that matches our values,” Garcia said. “I’m against (President Donald) Trump’s wall and I stand against Trump’s wall. It’s the wrong message to send to our largest trading partner and walls are there to be torn down. It’s not a solution; we will continue to focus on security on the border.”
Garcia said he has spoken out and will continue to speak out about the separation of children from their families at the border. He and his daughters travelled on Father’s Day to Tornillo, outside El Paso, Texas, to take part in a demonstration at the tent city erected to house separated children.
“It is a federal issue, those are federal agencies, but what the governor can do is demand accountability for what’s happening in Arizona from those federal agencies,” Garcia said. “We have a clear understanding of what’s going on and can use the bully pulpit, can continue to speak out — which we’re going to continue to do. Second, there are decisions that can be made with respect to cooperating or not on that with the agencies that are participating in that kind of activity and you could do that as governor as well.”