Race begins early for Supervisors candidates
Supervisor District I candidate Gary Watson

Supervisor District I candidate Gary Watson speaks before the Kingman Republican Women’s Club Tuesday evening.

The race for Supervisor District I has started already. The Kingman Republican Women's Club invited all three republican candidates for the position to speak at its dinner Tuesday.

Candidate Jerry Sides touted his more than 20 years of experience as an employee of the County's Facilities Management Department.

As an employee, he has worked with numerous departments in the county and attended some Board of Supervisors meetings, he said. Because of this, he would have a smaller learning curve as a supervisor, he said. "I'll be able to dig in and accomplish the work that is necessary to run Mohave County efficiently," he said. "We need someone with good common sense."

Sides said his main concerns as a supervisor would be managing growth and water, cutting wasteful spending by the county and increasing communication between the county department and between the county and the public.

The county is going to continue to grow, he said. The county needs to make wise decisions on growth, not knee jerk reactions.

The county also needs to consider the amount and availability of water as it grows, he said.

"We have to be good stewards [of water] for our children and their children. We don't want to find ourselves in the situation like Phoenix or Los Angeles where they're constantly scrambling for a good water source.

The use of money by the county was also a concern of Sides.

"Every dollar in Mohave County should be accounted for and spent with the profound idea that the money belongs to the taxpayers and not the bureaucrats," he said.

He pledged that if he was elected supervisor, frivolous spending by the county would be a thing of the past.

Sides also pledged to work on communication both within the county departments and with the public. He felt the county should issue news releases after every Board meeting.

If elected, his door would always be open to constituents, Sides said.

Candidate Ray Cullison said he would focus on the county's budget.

The state is cutting funding to counties. The county needed not only to cut unnecessary spending but also become less dependent on state and federal dollars.

The county could become less dependent on state funds by making it more desirable for industry to move here, he said.

"We're growing and we need growth," he said. "My ultimate goal for the next four years for Mohave County is to get us to the point where we're not dependent on state money at all."

The county could become self-sustaining through the continuing increase in population and taxes on new industry coming into the county, he said. The county could then use the state funds for roads and other projects.

Cullison also raised concerns about water. Especially clean water. Clark County, Nev., continues to dump treated effluent into the Colorado River, he said.

The water is treated to the point that it could be considered drinkable, Cullison said. But tests have shown that the water still contains residue from prescription drugs.

Cullison also stated he thought random drug testing should be mandatory for anyone seeking help through any of the county's public assistance programs.

"I don't have a problem with helping people that need help, but there's too many times that there are people that are on drugs," he said. "If I have to get drug tested for my employer, than anyone that seeks government assistance should get drug tested."

Candidate Gary Watson said his personal life and business experiences have given him a number of skills that would be useful as a county supervisor. He also cited his experience as vice mayor of Kingman and as a City Council member.

Watson stated that he too was concerned about growth. The General Plan and area plan need to be sensitive to the needs of the people, he said.

Both the county and the city of Kingman have experienced budget shortfalls. Watson proposed a partnership between the city and the county to encourage economic growth.

"Why don't we change how we look at bringing those folks in," he said. "Let's bring in industry that respects our water. Let's bring in industry that respects our blue skies and won't pollute them."

The county must also protect and use its water resources reasonably, he said.

Watson said he felt that the creation of an Active Management Area to control the use of water in the district was unnecessary.

The candidates were also asked about the prison that was proposed for the Dolan Springs area and denied by the Board of Supervisors.

Sides said he did not favor more prisons in the county. They bring jobs into the communities, but they also bring certain elements that are not necessarily favorable, he said. "I'm not sure if the tradeoff is a good tradeoff," he said.

Watson said he was for it because of the offer to upgrade the Mt. Tipton water system.

The prison would have been located outside of Dolan Springs and would not have affected the community the way people feared it would, he said. The prison south of Kingman does not cause problems in the Kingman area, he added.

Cullison said he would have been against the prison. If they want to build a prison, build out near Colorado City, he said.

The Republican Forum will hold the next candidate dinner at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The speakers will be the candidates for the County Assessor, Recorder and Treasurer's offices.
Originally published March 6, 2008