Supervisor District 4 candidate

Steve Diamond

History is against him, but Steve Diamond thinks that’s about it in the minus column in his bid to join the county Board of Supervisors representing District 4.

He’s the first Democrat to make a pitch for the seat since 1996. That’s not a typo, that’s just how solidly the lines have been drawn for Republicans.

The monstrous district, represented by Republican Steve Christy, includes part of Sahuarita (Quail Creek, La Posada, Madera Highlands), all of Green Valley and sweeps east to grab Vail and Tanque Verde on the way to the top of Mount Lemmon.

Diamond, who has a music degree from the University of Arizona and spent 35 years in corporate IT, said local Democratic groups are the reason he’s in the race.

“It was suggested to me last year, because the Democrats haven’t been active in this district in a long time, that there might be an opportunity,” he said.

Diamond isn’t sure exactly which issues prompted their request, but he knows a lot of people aren’t happy about the proposed Rosemont mine.

“They were dismayed when they found their new supervisor in 2017 was in favor of it,” he said.

Christy has said the 17 federal agencies required to sign off on the mine make the decision and he supports it.

Diamond is a bit of a study in contrasts. In person, he’s measured, polite and chooses his words carefully. On his website, he’s no-holds barred. Either way you see him, he thinks through his answers, his strategies, his politics.

How does he see the district’s first contested race in 24 years? According to his website:

“It’s a choice between conservative Trumpian ideologies and democratic values. It’s a choice between pollution and preservation. It’s a choice between outmoded, privileged attitudes and recognizing that our sick, unequal society needs fixing now. What will you choose?”

On the issues:

Redrawing districts: He agrees Sahuarita should be in just one supervisor district when lines are redrawn in 2021. It’s in three now. “The way the supervisor districts are drawn is insane,” he said, with a few exceptions.

Road repairs: Diamond supports the on-hold PAYGO (pay as you go) plan but doesn’t think it’s sufficient to raise the money we need to really get the roads into proper shape. His solution? Continue lobbying the state “really hard” to return some HURF and VLT money — Highway User Revenue Fund and Vehicle License Tax.

Diamond says he’s generally opposed to higher taxes, and said voters sent a clear message about it when they voted down an $860 million bond package in 2015 — a rare defeat in Pima County.

So how would he raise money? Change procurement policies to ensure more money is spent locally and thus stays here. He’d be OK with spending a bit more on what we need if it meant keeping the money here.

Business development: He likes the idea of backing something like space-tech World View, which has its headquarters here. Amazon would make less sense, he says, because it’s largely low-wage earners “and all the money leaves the area.”

That said, he’s not impressed with Caterpillar recently moving hundreds of higher-paying jobs to Tucson, saying most of the workers are “imported” and that “the profits don’t stay here.”

Covid-19: Diamond says some of the county’s early requirements on businesses were “extreme” but that they made the proper adjustments on the fly.

He said Gov. Ducey was “conned by President Trump” and that he charged “into a premature opening of the state, and we all suffered as a result of it.”

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— Dan Shearer