A look at where 2020 candidates stand on sustainability

Politics | 1 Dec |

On November 3 of 2020, general election voting will open for Arizonians.

As citizens prepare to vote for local and state legislature, they may be interested in how Arizona’s political parties and their candidates will support sustainable practices for the future of the state.

Dan Toporek is a candidate for County Treasurer with the Arizona Democratic Party. He is 55 years old, is a retired member of the army and has a strong appreciation for service.

“The office I’m running for is not particularly innovative so sustainability isn’t the big issue in voter’s minds, but it’s something I want to bring up,” Toporek said.

Toporek wants to incorporate the importance of sustainability into his campaign because he believes, “sustainability is important to everyone since citizens are rapidly damaging the environment and making it much more inhospitable,” he said.

Additionally, he believes organizations are critical to ensuring sustainable practices are in place.

He believes the Environmental Protection Agency, the Nature Conservancy Organization and the Sierra Club are all influential organizations.

“The EPA is a good starting point for reversing some of the damage we’ve done. It needs to be protected but our current administration is damaging its ability to protect everybody’s air, water, and land,” Toporek said.

With sustainability comes innovation and the need to look at the economic interest, Toporek believes.

“If we can lower the cost of energy we can save taxpayers money which can be used towards other programs,” Toporek said.

Toporek bought a home with solar panels to reduce his carbon footprint and supports researching solar technology.

“The more we let people know how hazardous it is to ignore such a big issue, the more important the issue becomes,” he said.

Jeff Daniels, Secretary of the Arizona Libertarian Party, believes sustainability is not a political issue and should never be.

“Politicians will never actually do anything to support the environment in any way. The only way we will ever achieve sustainability is for people to have a personal incentive to do so,” Daniels said.

As a result, he supports the privatization of such resources.

“When the government takes care of water, roads, air, energy, schools, or anything, it becomes a money generation or political machine and the actual issue they supposedly control, is never really improved,” he said.

Daniels presently owns three water utility companies and operates 15 wells, storage tanks, and miles of underground water lines.

While people may think he spends the majority of his time maintaining his utilities, he said he spends about 80 percent of his time doing paperwork.

When asked if sustainability will be an important topic in the upcoming election he answered, “No. None of the politicians are focused on the real issues. They simply use them as talking points to catch your ear and get you to think they are on your side.”

With the issue of climate change, Daniels believes the Earth is an organism that is constantly changing and people are not the major contributing factor.

“Even if the U.S., and we are not the biggest polluter, would completely stop all production of greenhouse gasses, would China, Europe, Russia, etc?” he asked.

For Daniels, he does not believe politics can solve our sustainability issues but rather people can.

“What can be done better is for them to step aside and let the people that face the problems solve them. We will all be better off when they do and one simple reason is that if they quit stealing our money with taxes we would have more to directly support the causes we believe in and support those trying to solve these problems,” he said.

Zachery Henry, Communications Director for the Arizona Republican Party, said their party’s platform is the best reference for their beliefs on sustainability and environmental issues.

Their platform discusses the following topics: Abundant harvests, a new era in energy, and environmental progress.

The Republican party believes that private ownership not government control, along with new technologies that do not stifle economic growth and cost thousands of jobs are the best mechanisms for solving environmental issues.

“We could only hope that every candidate would align themselves with the party’s platform, although they have the freedom to choose how they follow those issues,” Henry said.

After hearing from members of the Democratic, Libertarian, and Republican parties of Arizona, it’s evident there are a variety of ways sustainability will unfold in the upcoming election.

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