Kingman resident Matt Capalby, the only candidate for the two District 2 House seats who lives in Mohave County, said he will form a rural coalition of lawmakers if elected in November.
The coalition will stand up the special interests of Maricopa County and give rural areas an equal say in critical issues such as economic development, health care and education, Capalby said.
"I want to also work in getting government to work cooperatively and eliminate the existing tension," Capalby said.
Capalby, a former member of the Kingman Planning and Zoning and Municipal Utilities commissions, cites the Kingman City Council as a role model for cooperation.
"I want to commend the City Council for their sense of teamwork and progressive action on a lot of issues," he said.
"That's the kind of thing I want to promote in District 2."
If elected, Capalby said he will extend the olive branch and develop consensus.
He has been involved in public affairs since he graduated from Kingman High School in 1983 and volunteered in local and statewide political campaigns.
Capalby, a third-generation Arizona resident, said he has a proven track record of consensus building.
While he served for eight months as assistant director of the Mohave County Economic Development, one of his most difficult tasks was to get chambers of commerce and tourism bureaus countywide to cooperate on producing a CD-ROM on promoting regional tourism.
"We need to work communitywide," Capalby said.
"I am known for being idealistic, principled and ethical and for standing up for what is right.
That is why I did not switch parties."
Capalby was born in Pasadena, Calif., but has lived in Kingman for most of his 35 years.
He said it is critical a Mohave County resident serve in the House.
By the same token, he is teaming up with candidate Jim Sedillo of Flagstaff because they hold similar views and Sedillo is more aware of issues of interest to residents in the eastern portion of the district.
The most critical issue for Mohave County residents is health care, Capalby said.
He said health maintenance organizations will pull out of rural areas by the end of the year, and will continue to operate only in Arizona's two urban counties: Maricopa and Pima.
"We need to do something about this crisis," Capalby said.
"We have elderly now who have to choose between their rent, their food or their prescriptions.
The open market has abandoned rural Arizona."
Capalby said the Legislature should try to resolve the health care crisis by setting a special session immediately.
"The problem is the majority of the legislators reside in our state's metropolitan areas," Capalby said.
"They don't care.
We need somebody who has a strong and powerful voice to make this issue heard."
Capalby said he opposes the two competing growth initiatives on the Nov.
7 ballot: Growing Smarter Plus (Proposition 100) and the Citizens Growth Management Initiative (Proposition 202).
"I think Growing Smarter Plus is extensively convoluted and contradictory," he said.
"It was an attempt by the governor and the legislative leadership to placate special interests rather than deal decisively with growth."
CGMI will have the opposite effect, said Capalby, who previously spent three years in his family's property development business.
"It removes local control," he said.
"It will artificially create scarcity and it will have a negative impact on affordable housing and working families if implemented."
Capalby said he favors the Hoover Dam Bypass project and deems rural highways critical because economic development cannot proceed without road infrastructure.
However, he said transportation planners need to address the concerns of American Indians and environmentalists who have criticized the proposed bypass.
He said the state needs to conduct a comprehensive water study in response to the water-intensive, natural gas-fired power plants that are springing up throughout Arizona.
"I think we need to identify our water resources, what their quantities are, what the infrastructure needs are," Capalby said.
If elected, Capalby said his biggest priority is to serve constituents and spend as much time in the district as possible.
"The best way is to not get caught up in legislative battles and power struggles," he said.