With topics such as Yavapai College, land development, reducing the number of inmates in local jails and the idea of a regional airport, Randy Garrison and Diane Joens put their best foot forward to explain why they want your vote.
The two are vying for Yavapai County District 3 supervisor, a position that has been held for two decades by Chip Davis. He chose not to seek a sixth term and instead run for the Arizona House of Representatives.
Joens and Garrison spoke before about 30 people during a forum on Monday, July 18. The event was held in the Village of Oak Creek and was co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters Greater Verde Valley and the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council. Each candidate was given two minutes to introduce themselves followed by one prepared question. They then took more than a dozen questions from the audience.
Garrison, a fifth generation Verde Valley resident, said he often gets asked why he’s running for office.
“I tell them there are three reasons,” he said. “One, I love my community. I love serving the public. And, I truly believe that if we don’t have the right person serving the district, we’re going to lose a lot of the gains we’ve made over the last 20 years.”
He said the district’s at a point where it’s experiencing new challenges daily. Because of that he said the district needs someone who is financially responsible and someone who is ready to deal with topics such as water, infrastructure, transportation and other challenges ahead.
Joens, who has served as the mayor of Cottonwood the past nine years, said she will use that experience as she seeks higher office.
“Besides my history and knowledge of what’s happening here, I believe the right person for the office is me,” she said. “The work I’ve done the last nine years as mayor will prove to you that I have the ability to do the job and I have the proof that I can do the job. I realize things are different than when I worked for Supervisor Davis — that was 18 years ago. There’s a lot more traffic, a lot more people and a lot more visitors.”
The prepared question for the two was, “How do you propose to balance the needs and concerns of the different areas of District 3 with the needs of the county as a whole?”
“When you get elected for supervisor, you’re representing people from many communities,” Joens said. “This is a huge county. We’re 8,000 square miles, which is larger than Rhode Island. So when you vote, you’re making decisions that could be county wide.
“You have to keep your district’s interests close to your heart because you are representing those people. You also have to work regionally and have to get along with the other supervisors because that’s how you get the things that you need.”
In answering the question, Garrison listed his accomplishments over the years and the various boards he’s sat on.
“I believe that I have been preparing for this position since I was young,” he said. “Each board, committee and council I’ve served on has given me the lessons and experience I need to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the position of Yavapai County supervisor. Education matters. Experience matters. I’m ready to put those lessons to work for you.”
District 3 is comprised of Bridgeport, Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Jerome, Perkinsville, Sedona, Verde Village, Verde Santa Fe [West of Tissaw Road] and the Village of Oak Creek.
About the Candidates
- According to Joens’ website, “Diane was the first to announce her candidacy in the race for District 3 County Supervisor. She has lived in Yavapai County and the Verde Valley for nearly 30 years. She also worked for the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, as aide to A.G. “Chip” Davis, current five-term Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor. Then, in 2003, she was elected to the Cottonwood City Council, where she served for four years.
She was then elected mayor of Cottonwood in March of 2007 and re-elected in 2011.”
- According to Garrison’s website, “Before being elected to the city of Cottonwood Council in 2013, I served for 12 years on the governing boards for Mingus Union High School and the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District, half of those years seated as board president. The 15 years I have spent working with our local educational institutions and city government has taught me the importance of broad-based community leadership, the value of supporting individuals and families, and the difficulties we encounter trying to provide those supports while working within limited tax-payer supported budgets.”