It's been a couple of weeks now since Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll announced he won't seek reelection. Those on the far right are quick to celebrate with the expectation that the next supervisor will be able to get the job for District 4, accusing Carroll of not being conservative enough. Typical tea-party rehetroic tossed at what we used to consider regular GOP.
Those who've enjoyed observing Pima County politics, even going back long before Carroll was first appointed, know that Carroll hasn't changed. The political climate, however, has—the one that elected Supervisor Ally Miller, Carroll's fellow Republican on the five-seat board. It's hard not to look back on the old days and remember how well Carroll worked with former Supervisor Ann Day, a Republican. Nostalgia.
Back in those days, how interesting it was to watch the two work together during budget season. Miller, in comparison, is a pest. Carroll and Day, a true thorn. There was a feeling that there was a balance in a Democratic-controlled county government. Once the tea-party element entered the picture, that was gone. Carroll understood that his constituents weren't all Republicans, and that because of the characteristics of his district many of them cared about the environment and water. They cared. He cared. That showed in how he came forward about the Rosemont Mine before any of the Democrats were ready to step forward. Carroll did so, in his Chicago-style fashion, and it was fun to watch.
I know many people on the far left from different districts would sometimes go visit Carroll to seek advice. No one was every turned away. There are also only a few supervisors who observers feel actually work—who treat the elected position as a job. It is a well-paid gig. Carroll worked. It isn't the same, so I can understand why it's time for Carroll to move on.
Still, it's too bad, and yes, he'll be missed. The lesson is that serving Pima County means needing to rise above tea-party political platitudes. Let's hope the candidates who come forward keep that in mind.
— Mari Herreras, firstname.lastname@example.org