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Mesa Mayor Enters

The Fray For Governor

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Mesa Mayor, Scott Smith at the Secretary of State's office on Jan. 9, filed his candicacy paperwork making official his run for Governer of Arizona. Images by Jeff Moses.
‘Pragmatic Republican’ Scott Smith Will Resign His Municipal Duties This Spring; GOP Nominee Enters Crowded Primary Field As The Early Front-Runner To Face Unopposed Democrat Fred Duval

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By Chris G. Braswell
Modern Times Magazine

Jan. 9, 2014 — It’s only a 20-minute commute from Mesa to downtown Phoenix, but the campaign trail will likely be more circuitous than that.

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith officially began his campaign as a gubernatorial candidate this morning at the Arizona Secretary of State’s office in downtown Phoenix.

“We’re excited today, we’re beginning a new chapter, we’re excited about Arizona and its future,” Smith told members of the press who gathered to receive him at the clerk’s desk at 10:30 a.m.

Smith joins the republican ticket which already includes Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, State Treasurer Doug Ducey, and former Go Daddy legal counsel Christine Jones. The winner of the republican nomination will probably be democrat Fred Duval, who is reportedly expected to run unopposed.

Smith discussed several topics, including the importance of education, economic development, and the proper application of resources in government as among the important issues for public governance at the state level. He said he will approach finding solutions to these issues by “applying conservative principles in limited government.”

Smith said there is much reason for optimism about the future of Arizona: “Governor Brewer has navigated this state to where we’re at a launching point.”

During Smith’s time as the mayor of Mesa, major development plans were implemented in the Gateway area, the city successfully recruited five branch campuses from out-of-state colleges and universities, and the Barry and Peggy Goldwater Library and Archives committed to building a $30 million project in downtown. Also on Smith’s watch, the Chicago Cubs’ spring training operation agreed to remain in Mesa after the city defended poaching attempts out of Florida.

Exemplifying his view on public appropriation and institutional management, for example, when he took office as mayor in 2008, Smith addressed a $62 million municipal budget deficit by restructuring the government and laying off workers, not through any increase in tax revenue.

“Mesa is in good hands,” he said. “I didn’t do what I did in Mesa by myself.”

He has been sometimes referred to as a pragmatic conservative. Regarding immigration in or through Arizona, he said the question of handling emigres is the practical challenge, and that part of overcoming that challenge is getting the appropriate laws written.

Regarding healthcare, he said he does not support “Obamacare” (which mandates that people secure insurance policies with for-profit, non-public insurance agents), however, he said that he is behind increased underwriting of the state’s Medicaid program (for which rates are far less expensive to the consumer compared with private options). He also reminded that the state has a constitutional mandate to cover a certain number of Arizonans.

The candidate filed paperwork to establish his gubernatorial campaign’s primary and general election committees, clarified that the committees were not exploratory, and said his public campaign will now begin in earnest.

Smith said his mayoral resignation will occur in the next two to three months. He was accompanied by his wife Kim, son Ryan, daughter Megan, and year-old grandson Decker.

Chris G. Braswell is the managing editor of Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at cgbraswell@moderntimesmagazine.com.
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