By Daniel Scarpinato & Jeff Sklar
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday October 28, 2002
Next week, two candidates for the District 28 state senate seat will face off in the general election. State legislators balance the state budget and control public revenues to all state agencies, including UA, which gets about one third of its yearly budget from the state. The state is expecting about a $1 billion budget shortfall by next summer, so legislators will be hard pressed to find ways to cut the budget. Democrat Gabrielle Giffords and Libertarian Kimberly Swanson, both of whom hold post-graduate degrees, have differing views on the state budget; but both believe there are places other than the universities to cut funding. Election day is Nov. 5.
Education: B.A., Juris Doctor; University of Arizona
Party Affiliation: Libertarian
Swanson's green campaign signs picturing a marijuana leaf advertise her top issue ÷ an end to the prohibition of marijuana.
Swanson does not categorize marijuana as a "drug," referring to it instead as a useful plant. She observed that people are permitted to walk into any gas station and purchase the three most harmful substances ÷ tobacco, alcohol and refined sugar ÷ while marijuana is inappropriately prohibited.
Swanson also raises over 2,000 indigenous plants on the property she maintains.
Arizona is traditionally "known for the three Cs: copper, citrus, and cotton," Swanson said. "Why not add cannabis to the list?"
She would like to see a return to the farming of hemp for industrial and technological applications, something she calls a "multi-billion dollar industry waiting to happen."
Swanson said she would deal with the current budget crisis by cutting government spending.
She said she would break down walls that stand in the way of privatizing the Department of Corrections.
Swanson supports public school vouchers, she said, because it takes control of schools out of the hands of the government, gives parents more choice and creates competition between schools.
Education: B.A., Scripps College; Master of Regional Planning, Cornell University
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Gabrielle Giffords said she wants to protect Arizona's universities from future budget cuts so more students can graduate in four years.
Her top priority is to adequately fund public education in Arizona, she said.
Giffords, who was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2000, said the universities play a "tremendous role" in educating the citizenry. But one of the reasons that many students take longer than four years to graduate is that universities are underfunded, she said.
"I fundamentally believe that if we can educate, that is the great panacea for our state," she said.
She also supports President Pete Likins' "Focused Excellence" plan, and said it is important to keep a university education affordable. Though she said tuition could be raised, she added that more financial aid resources must be made available.
Giffords also supports a healthcare system that will guarantee basic, preventive healthcare.
She said she would vote for Proposition 203, which would legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, though she called it "unenforceable" because it would violate federal law.