By Wildcat Opinions Board
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday October 29, 2002
Given the direct and tenuous relationship between Arizona's three state universities and the state Legislature, it seems very few elections this year are likely to have more impact on the UA than those for the state House and Senate.
It is also clear that of the two candidates for the newly-formed Senate District 28, Democrat Gabrielle Giffords has the most cohesive and potentially beneficial plan for the role of education in Arizona.
In her two years as a member of the state House, Giffords established a voting record that demonstrates her conviction to financially support K-12 and university education. She used her position on the Tax Reform for Arizona Citizens Committee to secure President Pete Likins a position as the representative of the business community for that body.
With the expectation of a more than $1 billion state budget shortfall by next summer, she vows that she will protect the university from further cuts.
Giffords' view on university tuition is sensible. She would like to keep higher education as affordable as possible, but is still open to the possibility that tuition increases may be a necessity.
She is also an aggressive supporter of increasing financial aid to economically disadvantaged students ÷ an issue that has seemingly fallen through the cracks in our state.
As a graduate of the UA and a third-generation Tucsonan, Giffords is poised to accurately represent and fight for the interests of our community.
Her opponent, Libertarian Kimberly Swanson, is a good-natured candidate who seems to have a profound interest in and understanding of Arizona. But while her advocacy of marijuana legalization is principled and deserves more consideration from mainstream candidates, she does not convey a strong vision on other issues.
Giffords is the right choice for District 28, for higher education and for the future of Arizona.