By Jenny Rose
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday September 9, 2002
Editor's Note: This is article is part of the Wildcat's continuous coverage of the 2002 Arizona Election.
For the first time in President Peter Likins' recent memory, every candidate for governor is expressing an interest in higher education.
"What I listen for is: How are they going to pay for this," Likins said, noting that the state is expected to be $1 billion in the red next year.
Arizonans will cast their vote tomorrow and decide which candidates will make it into the general election in November.
The winners of the primary will face off in the general election on Nov. 5, where they will be joined by the only independent running for the state's highest political position, Richard Mahoney.
University salaries, tuition increases and financial aid are all on the line in this race to lead a virtually penniless state.
The winner of the general election will also have a seat on the Arizona Board of Regents, and will influence university policy for years to come, including tuition increases and financial aid.
The new governor needs to recognize that higher education is a necessary investment in the future of Arizona, said Jack Jewett, president of the Arizona Board of Regents.
"They need to recognize that higher education is vital to the health and economic engine of the state," he said.
Jewett said the new governor should understand that the universities have taken a beating through financial cuts, and that the money lost over the past year needs to be reinvested in the system.
The future governor will have a lasting impression on the financial state of the university system, since Arizona law requires the governor to sign the state budget before it can take effect.
"What the universities are looking for is stronger funding from the state and opportunities from the regents to raise tuition," said Provost George Davis.
The winner of the race for governor also affects the universities' opportunity to raise tuition, as the governor has a voting position on the Board of Regents.