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What’s Going on in Arizona’s “Fourth Branch”? Corporation Commission Primary Election Results

It's a race that is never as high-profile as other elections in Arizona.  To many voters, the office of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) is little understood and often overlooked.  Yet the decisions made by the five statewide elected Commissioners in regulating many utility services have tremendous effect on Arizonan businesses and families.  In fact, I would argue that Corporation Commissioners have more direct impacts on Arizonans than any other elected officials.

Consider the responsibilities the ACC holds:

  • It regulates member- and investor-owned utility companies
  • It oversees the sale of securities in Arizona
  • It grants corporate status to and maintains records of articles of incorporation of Arizona businesses
  • It oversees the safety of railroad and pipeline operations

The ACC is a completely independent body - it doesn't report to any official or other government entity (which is why it's often referred to as the "fourth branch" of Arizona government).

As customers of Arizona's utilities, as investors in Arizona businesses, and as citizens of this state, our quality of life depends on responsible regulation of our utility companies.  It depends on responsible growth and responsible investment in Arizona's infrastructure.  To wisely assign that responsibility to each elected Corporation Commissioner, voters should be informed about the issues and about the candidates' stances on those issues, and about the candidates' backgrounds that qualify them for this important regulatory position.

Last Tuesday voters narrowed the field to four Corporation Commission candidates.  They'll compete in the November 2 General Election for the two ACC seats open this year.  The four remaining candidates are:

  • David Bradley (D)
  • Brenda Burns (R)
  • Jorge Luis Garcia (D)
  • Gary Pierce (R)

Additionally, Rick Fowlkes, a write-in candidate for the Libertarian Party appears to have made it to the general elections ballot.

Read the candidates' bios here.

The candidates and the issues

Earlier this year we asked the ACC candidates (there were seven at the time) to respond to a questionnaire that would help voters understand their position on key issues.  You can read the full questionnaire and responses here.

9/16 candidate debate

The Arizona Investment Council is hosting a debate for the Corporation Commission candidates on Thursday, September 16, 2010 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Black Canyon Conference Center.  Come join us in person or by webcast (click here for registration and more details).

What's your take?  Write a comment below - no registration required.

Written on Friday, 03 September 2010 10:57 by Gary Yaquinto

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