Wade McLean, the career Marana Unified School District educator who retired as superintendent in 2003, is running for the Arizona House of Representatives because "public education needs a voice.
"I will be that voice," said McLean, running for one of two Republican nominations in the District 26 race on Aug. 24.
"The state of Arizona is in a mess, and I have watched over the last 37 years the struggle public education has had in Arizona, and it's never been worse," McLean said.
McLean is a believer in "organizational culture." If you listen to the "self talk" of an organization, you can determine its self-esteem, he believes.
"There are not a lot of positive conversations" in the Arizona Legislature, McLean said. "I believe, in the last several years, we have excluded people from the conversation on who Arizona should be."
The third-generation Southern Arizonan thinks "Maricopa is making decisions that affect Southern Arizona, and we have not had a very strong voice, if any," McLean said. "I am a Southern Arizona person that will say what is necessary in order to have our voice heard in Maricopa, and that's been absent."
On SB 1070:
"It is the law. I believe in laws," McLean said.
There are "two issues at the border," he continued.
"Criminals" cross into this country, "and they need to be stopped to protect our people," McLean said.
Other people cross to work. "We need to dry up the jobs for illegal immigrants, period."
McLean "probably would have voted for" Senate Bill 1070. "Prior, we should have put more pressure on the federal government. Did we do that? Did we send delegations to Congress? Did we force the federal government to step up and do what is necessary, do what it is they're responsible for?" He wonders if the leadership considered a lawsuit by Arizona against the federal government, "and have them defend themselves."
He asks whether there were conversations before 1070 regarding its legal defense, about the likely response of the federal government to the law, or with the residents of Arizona about its ramifications. "Did we sit with the tourist industry, and ask them to 'tell us what you think's going to happen if we do this? Did we have those conversations? We did not, I suspect."
Terri Proud is running for the Arizona House because "I'm not happy with what is going on, nationally in our country, that's how it started."
Proud perceives "a lot of concern about our guns being taken away" by the Obama Administration, so she joined the Second Amendment March. Then, "when Obama started to push a national health care system, that concerned me a lot." Her youngest of two daughters has cystic fibrosis. "In any other country, she wouldn't be where she is today," Proud said. "I know what socialized care does, and it's horrible. These are national things that are going to affect us at the state level."
From there, Proud became "more in tune with what is going on in our own district, our own state." And, when she did research into District 26's representation, "I did not like what I had found. I wanted to make a difference. I want to see a change. With my experiences, I can really make a difference, so I decided to run."
She has "no regrets, none whatsoever, not even on the worst day" about running. "What I'm doing is making a difference."
Proud is a single mother of two girls, and her candidacy has "already made a difference in my kids' lives, just by running. What I have shown them is it doesn't matter if you're a single mom, where you're at in life, if you want to make a difference, you can. I didn't let my circumstance deter me from that, and they see that."
On SB 1070:
"I support it completely," Proud said of 1070. "Absolutely," she would have voted for it. "We don't have enough revenue to support the amount of illegals coming into Arizona," Proud said. "It's also a safety issue." Victims of border-related crime are "devastated we have not done anything to solve this problem. Mexico is not taking care of their people. And the U.S. is so profitable in drugs. We need to stop funding Mexico."
Proud supports a guest worker program. "Make sure every single person is accounted for," Proud said. "The federal government is not going to do anything."
"We need to secure our border, period," Proud said. "People are breaking the law. No other country would tolerate what we tolerate."
Republican Rep. Vic Williams is running for a second two-year term in House District 26 "to finish the job we started back in 2008.
"We faced the largest deficit in the state's history, on a percentile or real dollar basis. I heard from the voters on the impacts of illegal immigration. And protecting education, class size and teacher pay," Williams said.
Those issues have been addressed, the Oro Valley businessman argues. The Legislature passed Senate Bill 1070, "to try to mitigate the impacts" of illegal immigration. "We balanced the budget by being fiscally responsible. We passed Proposition 100. In crunch time, we had tough choices, tough decisions to make for tough times."
Williams believes he's found a voice in the Legislature.
"Being an effective member from Southern Arizona, you have to walk a fine balance between representing the interests of your district, and still maintaining relevance within your caucus," Williams said. "That's probably the most challenging aspect of this job. … You can challenge the leadership and powers in Maricopa, but still have a voice within the process where you can still be effective for your district. That's the reality of the situation. You have to pick and choose your battles."
On SB 1070:
Senate Bill 1070 is "the right thing to do. I believe we're in the right. The vast majority in Arizona and the country want to see realistic reform to our illegal immigration problem." He wants to see border security and expanded guest worker opportunities. He wants "strict and stringent laws" to penalize employers who hire people illegally, and cut off services to illegals in this country.
"We want people to come to this country legally," Williams said. "Pay taxes, be protected by our laws, receive services relevant to their status."
Judge Susan Bolton's injunction on parts of 1070 is "politically motivated," Williams said. "It presumes it would create racism. SB 1070 is rooted in the rule of law, and not racism. We need to find avenues to protect Arizona, and Southern Arizona, from the effects of illegal immigration."
The law has "changed the national discussion about the effects of illegal immigration in this country. We need to seize the opportunity, work with other states, and ensure ultimately the federal government will do its task."