Basha visits campus, touts university as role model

By Amanda Hunt

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Eddie Basha, Democratic candidate for governor, paid a visit to the UA yesterday.

Basha, or the "chubby grocer" as he is often referred to, discussed with over 50 students his plans for education and Arizona if elected governor.

The question and answer forum, in the Center for English as a Second Language, was set up to give students an opportunity to voice their concerns about various issues to the gubernatorial candidate.

Basha faces incumbent Republican Gov. Fife Symington and Libertarian candidate John Buttrick in next Tuesday's election.

Education has been the focus of Basha's campaign. He said he was considering becoming a teacher during his "university days," and since then education has been a priority.

"We need to cut the cost of government. We need to use those dollars to put in the classroom . this is where prosperity is developed, not in the bureaucracy," Basha said.

"Greater emphasis must be placed on undergraduate education," he said in response to a question regarding the recent cuts made at the university, which will face the Arizona Board of Regents on which he serves.

In an earlier interview with the Wildcat, Basha said, "The university has a much greater role to play in public school reform ... in teacher training, teacher retraining, curriculum reform." He said these things are important, "especially in establishing a role model that young people can provide for other young people."

He said the major issues facing higher education are accessibility, affordability, class availability and race and diversity issues.

Basha said he has promised not to raise taxes, although he has been criticized by Symington for making such a promise.

Basha explained that there is already a great deal of waste and poor management of tax payers' money. Speaking with the Wildcat, he said he will analyze

the use of these funds and reorganize programs for better efficiency.

"You can only spend what your income is. I've said we will not raise taxes. The public will not accept new taxes, nor should they, because I think there is an abundance of money in the state today," Basha said.

Basha also touched on issues such as gaming, crime and the various propositions on the ballot.

When speaking with the Wildcat, Basha said, "We can only address the problems of crime by prevention and intervention, as well as punishment." This proposal follows with Basha's proposed educational reform.

Uri Fleming, history senior and president of the University Democrats, said it was significant that Basha came to UA because it sends a message to students that "he cares."

"He came to campus because he really does want to hear from students," Fleming said.

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