MARICOPA — Marlene Pearce is running as an independent in the November election for the District 4 Pinal County Board of Supervisors seat because she wants to represent everyone regardless of their political party affiliation.
Pearce told PinalCast that she wants to keep the county moving forward in regards to its economy, infrastructure and education.
Pearce has served as the district administrator to current District 4 Supervisor Anthony Smith, R-Maricopa, since Smith took office in 2013. She is running against Republican Jeff McClure of Saddlebrooke in the November general election. Smith is retiring, and no Democrat filed.
“At the top of my list is to remain dedicated to the safety and the quality of life of the residents that I serve in the community,” she said.
Some of the biggest challenges Pearce sees for the next Pinal County Board of Supervisors are expanding the infrastructure to handle the county’s transportation needs, continuing to grow the county’s economy by drawing more business to the area and making sure the county has an educated workforce to meet those businesses’ needs.
A major challenge to getting the transportation infrastructure the county needs is the lawsuit surrounding the voter-approved regional transportation authority tax, she said. The half-cent sales tax is designed to bring in enough money to design and build projects like widening State Route 347 into Maricopa. The tax is currently sitting before the Arizona Supreme Court after the Goldwater Institute and a Pinal County resident challenged the wording of the ballot initiative that created the tax with voter approval in 2017.
There is a great need for those tax dollars in the county, Pearce said. Pinal is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation.
“We have to have roads and outlets to provide for people to get back and forth to work,” she said.
That is especially true with new businesses such as Nikola and Lucid moving in, which will bring in about 5,000 new jobs to the area, she said.
Making sure those businesses also have access to an educated workforce and providing Pinal County residents with opportunities for job training and skills is another of Pearce’s goals. Having an educated workforce is also a draw to other new industries that may be looking at Pinal County as a location to set up shop.
Another goal of Pearce’s is to make sure that the county’s tax dollars continue to be spent in an accountable manner. The current board has done a good job of making sure that the county’s tax dollars have been spent wisely and she wants to continue those actions.
Pearce said she hopes that running as an independent on the ballot will give voters a choice of candidates and prove that she is dedicated to serving all Pinal County residents regardless of what political party they are affiliated with.
County District 4 includes the city of Maricopa, Arizona City, Thunderbird Farms, Hidden Valley, Papago Butte, Red Rock, Saddlebrooke, the Ak-Chin Indian Community and the Tohono O’odham Nation in western and southern Pinal.
Ed.Note: This story has changed from the orginial.