District 4 Supervisor Forum

On July 12, the Coconino County Democratic Party hosted a forum featuring the two Democrats in the race for District 4 County Supervisor. Democrats, and Independents choosing the Democratic Primary Election Ballot, will vote for either Bryan Bates or Judy Begay in the August 4 primary. (If you are signed up to receive your ballot by mail, you should have it. If you haven’t asked for your ballot to be mailed to you, that’s still an option as well as the option of voting early in person.)

The forum featured questions submitted by citizens of District 4. The questions were not shared with the candidates in advance. We were unable to finish all the questions during the time allotted for the forum; however, the candidates agreed to answer the remaining questions in writing. Those answers are posted below the video.

Additional Answers from Judy Begay

Q1. If you could wave a magic wand and make one change in Coconino County, what would it be? 

Affordable homeownership homes.   I believe there is less than 25 percent of families that own their own home. I would  look at the barriers to see why this is happening. It may be unemployment, unfavorable credit ratings or policies and procedures that need to be amended?  We would need to help and prepare families that need a home. Even if counseling is needed.  Rental housing prices are too high.   Promote other subsidized housing programs in Coconino County. 

Q2. What is currently the most pressing need for the county, besides the epidemic?

The most pressing need is funding to address current issues we are faced with. I.e. housing, education, health, economic development, unemployment, veteran services, etc. Currently, the budget is smaller than previous year. I truly believe that grant writers are needed to secure more funding. Work closely with other programs internally or externally to address issues at hand.       

 Q. 3 How does your life experience prepare you for the job of Board of Supervisors? 

I have worked with various health programs – health education, WIC, food distribution, behavioral health, diabetes, senior citizens,  plus other health related programs.  I worked with public school as an employee and being a school board member for 16 years. As a board member, we had the oversight, approval of budgets, revised policies, ensure compliance of policies and procedures. Meet with community members to listen to them and help make an agenda item decision. I worked with HUD public housing including homeownership and some section 8 programs. Including veterans housing and infrastructure.  Worked in all capacity of housing, health, and education in a director capacity or oversight with administrative responsibilities.   Worked with various nonprofit organizations and do charity work in the communities. Lastly, I received a bachelor’s in business administration in mgmt and a master’s in organizational mgmt. 

Additional Answers from Bryan Bates

Q1. If you could wave a magic wand and make one change in Coconino County, what would it be? 

I would eliminate the capacity of the State to over-rule and exclude local government decisions on matters that directly affect the local community and their governments. This would include, but not be limited to: 

  • City and County government ability to set local minimum wage without payment penalty if the amount exceeds the State minimum;
  • decisions related to management of water and other natural resources that exist in common and on State, County and private property; 
  • the regulation of short-term rentals; and, 
  • keeping tax dollars collected by the County for County functions under County control. Tax dollars which are State mandated are sent to the State and an audit of County tax receipts is sent to the State in lieu of payment.

To achieve this will require that voters elect Democrats to the State House and Senate in 2020, and in the Gubernatorial race in 2022. 

Q2. What is currently the most pressing need for the county, besides the epidemic?

Other than the COVID-19 pandemic, the greatest health and safety issue we face is another wildland fire followed by flooding. The County is currently thinning the forest on Bill Williams Mountain in conjunction with the Kaibab National Forest Service (NFS) and the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4-FRI), a collaboration of four national forests, State forestry, County governments and private industry to reduce potential catastrophic fire. I have been engaged with this effort from early on through my teaching forest health and fire ecology as part of the science curriculum at Coconino Community College.

The City of Flagstaff, County and NFS are working together to reduce catastrophic fire and flood risk in the Dry Lakes and Mormon Mountain region. The Dry Lakes region is a direct threat to homes in Flagstaff while the Mormon Mountain region provides drinking water (Mormon Lake/ Lake Mary) to Flagstaff. The other regions needing forest restoration are the Forest Lake and Blue Ridge region in southern District 4 and the Doney Park-Timberline-Fernwood region.  

I have in-depth knowledge of forest health and fire ecology, the efforts currently addressing the needs and challenges that lie ahead. My experience makes me the best candidate for County Supervisor to deal with these issues.

 Q. 3 How does your life experience prepare you for the job of Board of Supervisors? 

As an Eagle Scout and God & Country recipient, “be prepared” has been a life-way for me.  I graduated from Culver Military Academy where I learned self-discipline and organization. I designed and completed both my Bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies and Masters in Environmental Science. I taught middle and high school science on the Navajo Nation for 10 years, often including traditional knowledge elders in the curriculum. At a therapeutic/wilderness high school, I worked with “at-risk” youth helping them process their life experiences and challenges to grow into mature, self-fulfilling individuals. 

As a 24-year science faculty member at Coconino Community College, I was consistently involved with the science budget and its justification, developed and articulated the curriculum in the fields of biology, chemistry, geology and cultural astronomy. Often this involved bringing in guest speakers and doing fieldtrips so that students understand the context and real-life importance of their studies. I was intimately involved in designing the science labs at both the 4th Street and Lone Tree campuses. I was a founding member and first President of the Faculty Senate.

I designed, built and managed the budget for building my two-story solar Hogan home, the first building to receive a Sustainable Building Award from Coconino County’s Sustainable Economic Development Initiative. With your vote, I will come out of retirement so that I may serve our District 4 community and entire County.  I will “Listen to you, Learn from you and Work for you”. Please go to https://bryanbates4coconino.com/,  learn more about me and make a contribution so that I may provide “Smart Solutions that Serve Coconino County.”

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