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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Get to know Tucson’s city council candidates running in the upcoming election

This election season, six candidates are running for election onto the City Council. Three Democrats Shirley Scott, Paul Cunningham and Regina Romero, are running for reelection; and three Republicans, Margaret Burkholder, Kelly Lawton, and Bill Hunt, are working to defeat the incumbents.

These are the Tucson City Council candidates and their stories.

Democrat Councilwoman Shirley Scott of Ward 4 was born in Toronto, Canada and became a naturalized citizen in 1965. Scott graduated from Drew University in New Jersey with a Bachelors of Arts and also earned her Master of Arts at the University of Cincinnati. Scott has served on the Tucson City Council for 20 years, and according to Scott’s campaign website, holds an annual Back to School Bash, “where breakfast and school supplies are given free of charge to all participants.”

Republican Ward 4 Candidate, Margaret Burkholder, has lived in Tucson for 20 years and has served on the Vail Governing School Board since 2004. Burkholder is also a math teacher, and is Tucson’s first Nationally Board Certified math teacher, according to her campaign website.

“With a near $1.3 billion dollar budget, why can’t the city council take care of the necessities, like roads, parks, police and fire?” said Burkholder.

Burkholder strongly believes that the Tucson City Council desperately needs new effective and balanced leadership that works hard to improve Tucson’s infrastructure.

Democrat Councilman Paul Cunningham of Ward 2 is a native Tucsonan and is a community activist. Cunningham is a 12 year veteran of the Pima County Juvenile Probation Department, and served in the Army Reserve and National Guard from 1993-2001. Cunningham is running for another term in the Tucson City Council because he doesn’t believe their jobs as councilpeople are finished yet.

“We’ve made tremendous progress in Tucson in the last five years,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said he is proud of the work the current City Council has done so far and looks forward to continue to make changes and focus on protecting natural resources, like water supply and capturing the power of the sun.

Republican Ward 2 Candidate, Kelly Lawton has lived in Tucson his entire life and is an Aviation and Aerospace industry professional with more than 25 years of leadership experience, according to Lawton’s campaign website. Lawton currently serves as the Campus Director at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide and graduated from UA with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

“I don’t think the city is advancing as it should,” Lawton said. “Year after year, we look at our roads which need dramatic improvement; we look at our job market, the economy – these are the things that resonated with me and really pushed me to seek the office at council.”

Lawton said he believes that the citizens of Tucson need a better quality of life and stresses that the issues that face Tucson are not partisan issues, but rather quality of life issues.

“We have to represent the citizens of Tucson,” Lawton said. “There are two questions that every councilmember should ask, and those are: What are the costs to the citizens and how does it benefit the citizens?”

Democrat Councilwoman Regina Romero of Ward 1 was the first Latina elected to the Tucson City Council and has served for eight years. According to Romero’s campaign website, she has worked to revitalized downtown Tucson with the modern street car and fought for a recognition holiday for Cesar Chavez.

According to Romero’s campaign website, “Regina believes in the power of public service and is dedicated to making Tucson a more vibrant city known for its natural environment and respect for people and culture.”

Republican Ward 1 Candidate, Bill Hunt, a software engineer at Raytheon, believes Tucson is broken.

According to Hunt’s campaign website, “If the current leadership, regardless of their political party, was doing its job, I wouldn’t be running, but it is obvious that they are not getting it done.”

Hunt believes that Tucson needs a leader who can pinpoint what’s broken, both in the budget and city services, according to his website.

Follow Amanda Oien on Twitter.

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