Bob Gilby, a math teacher at Marana High School and Pima Community College, says the decision to run came about three years ago, when Rep. Phil Lopes, a close friend, suggested Gilby take the seat when Lopes hit his term limit.
“Everyone in this district loves Phil Lopes,” he says. “That’s part of what gives me access at the door: (I say) ‘I’m a teacher, I’m a Democrat and Phil Lopes is my campaign chair’ and people go ‘cool.’”
Gilby is coming out of the gate at full speed. He he filed the most nominating petition signatures of any candidate in the race and
already received $14,319 in Clean Elections money. The giant district map in his living room dotted is dotted with registered voters and heavily shaded with the areas he has walked.
“I want to win,” Gilby says. “And I want to win by a large enough margin to make it clear that I’m serious and ready for leadership.”
Gilby has proven that when he sets his mind to something, he gets it done. In 1994, he set his mind to build Milagro Cohousing, a 28-home green-living community northwest of downtown. Despite setbacks, that dream is now a reality and Gilby says building it involved a long-term commitment to hard work, difficult negotiations, and communication—all of which are necessary to run the state.
As a public school teacher and lobbyist for the Arizona Education Association, Gilby says he'd focus on education issues at the Legislature.
Gilby says the success of charter schools in Arizona is a symptom of our failing public schools, which lacks flexibility and relevance.
“Ideally, our schools would prepare students for what is next for them,” he says.
For his first order of business, Gilby would get together with the Superintendent of Public Instruction to work on a long-term plan to improve the state’s public school system.
“In the education system, it’s tough to make any two-year promises — it’s just too big for that,” he says. “So we need to create a long-term plan and see what it takes, with all the stakeholders, to evolve the public education system so kids want to go to school because it’s on their path.”
But for a candidate running in a district that includes the University of Arizona, Gilby doesn’t have much school spirit.
When asked if his ASU degree would hold him back in the race, Gilby said, “That is so parochial it irritates me. Do you know that there is more to a college than its football team? Are you aware of that?”
You can find Gilby's Web site here
LD27 stretches from Marana to Three Points and includes the University of Arizona—even the football stadium.