Working Hard to Preserve Tucson Values

Ballots will arrive in your mailbox this week. I’m asking for your support to be re-hired as council member. While I serve in Ward 6, it’s my commitment to represent Tucson, our values and our right to self-determination.


Effective Constituent Services

Common Sense Fiscal Solutions

Protect Home Rule

Focus on Water Security

Looking Out for the Underserved

Animal Welfare

Gun Safety Laws

Smart Economic Development

I ask for your support so that I may continue to advocate for the values that make ours a vibrant and welcoming community. As in the past, I will put in the time it takes to study each issue, invite varied voices to the conversation and work for solutions that reflect the long-term good of our city. We’ve made great progress. Together we’ll continue to build on that.

The message is simple – please vote as soon as you receive your ballot and please make sure your friends and family do so as well. That’s what it’ll take for this campaign without funds to be successful.

Thank you for your continued support. My staff and I are grateful for your vote of confidence in our work.

- Steve K

Campaign Signs Available

Many of you have asked about getting yard signs to support the campaign. The website has some do-it-yourself options, but now we've gone Bernie and have some with a Koz logo up in the corner. As you know, I'm not corporate and air-brushed. But we're having fun with the campaign, and this plays into that.

File Sep 25, 10 26 51 PM.jpeg

Get in touch either by email at or by calling 977.5161. We'll get you a supply of signs on which you can personalize a message. Your part is the Magic Marker - "I support Steve K Be Koz..." Be creative and adorn your front yard with your own message. 

We have only a few weeks to go before the ballots are sent out, so help me and my staff continue working for you by getting ahold of one of these novel signs.

Thanks for your support

- SteveK

A record-setting primary, thanks to you

The official results from the primary are posted on the city website. If you're relying on the mainstream media for coverage, you'd come away thinking this is a neck-and-neck race. Thanks to your tremendous support, it's anything but that. 

Your involvement in this money-free campaign resulted in a new record for a city council primary election. Over 5,500 of you voted to return me and my staff to our jobs serving Ward 6 and the city this November. The media hasn't published that number. I believe you deserve to know.

That's virtually the same number of people who voted for all three Ward 3 candidates in the Democratic contested primary - combined.

That total is over three times the number of votes my Republican opponent labored to get. Based on his financial reports, he spent over $7,500 to gather fewer votes than the second place finisher in the Ward 3 contested primary. Speaking of contested, the media continues to report the winner of the only contested Ward 6 primary, but fails to mention that he received a total of 55 votes. Hey, I like and respect the Green candidate, but if the media wants to place this race into proper perspective, that's 5,500 versus 55.

We are now entering the final stretch of the campaign. There are eight weeks until the general election. Ballots will be mailed out in about a month. Despite the overwhelming numbers, I am taking nothing for granted and commit to you that I will continue reaching out and connecting with as many constituents as possible between now and election day.

Yet, you deserve to know the truth about how the primary ended. You also deserve to be thanked for the great support you have shown as I ask to be rehired for another term serving this great community.

-Steve K

Rodriguez uninformed, inaccurate, and inconsistent during gun debate

One of the issues I have worked hard on is advocating for common sense gun safety laws in Tucson. At the Mom's Demand Action forum tonight, the differences between me and my opponent were on display for all to witness.

My record includes getting our background check ordinance in place, putting restrictions on the sale of weapons that can fire 10 or more rounds without reloading, giving our police the ability to require a Blood Alcohol Test if they have reason to believe a suspect in a gun incident has been drinking, and requiring people whose guns were lost or stolen to notify the police.

Each of these measures makes our community safer. Each is opposed by the Republican-led state legislature.

My opponent, Rodriguez, feels the state legislature should control our local decision-making authority in these cases. He doesn't understand and support Home Rule or our charter authority.

My opponent made the outrageous claim that "95% of all gun deaths are the result of illegally purchased weapons." Not even the NRA would assert such a foolish thing.

My opponent says our gun laws are fine just as they are, but went on to support registration of every gun sold. Aside from the inconsistency in his position, his NRA buddies are violently opposed to such a notion.

In a community that has suffered two mass fatality gun violence events, it is nothing less than offensive that a candidate for public office would come to a forum on the topic so wholly uninformed. I ask for your support and I commit to you my continued work on common sense gun legislation, including defense of our Home Rule authority in the face of challenges coming from the Republican legislature.

- Steve K

Get out the vote


Ballots for the primary election were mailed out this week. Whether you're a registered Democrat, Republican, Green or Independent, I'm asking for your vote.

Serving on the Tucson City Council is serious work, affecting important issues. Since my first election in 2009 I have been committed to studying each issue we're confronted with and making informed decisions based a review of the facts. Fitz drew an editorial cartoon about it with the tagline "nerds rule." I'll take that. But it's only possible with your support.

When re-elected I will continue to ensure we adopt a responsible budget. I will continue to prioritize water security. I will continue to work for an expanded economy so our tax base grows and our ability to fund essential core services doesn't suffer.

You know of my work in support of animal welfare, gun safety, victims of trafficking and domestic abuse, guarding our social service network, and reinvigorating the film industry. None of that will change after my re-election in November.

Seated in the middle of the radar screen will be my continued advocacy on behalf of Home Rule. We must continue to fight efforts by the state to take control of our local decision making authority. I've been at the forefront of that issue, and will continue to be.

If you're a Ward 6 Democrat receiving this email, please participate in the primary. A strong showing is key to gathering momentum as we head towards the general election. And if you're not a registered Democrat but are still receiving this email, I ask for your vote by writing in my name on your ballot. They all count, and I value a broad-based demonstration of support.

I'm running based on my record, my reputation for hard work, and the relationships many of us have developed since 2009. Through those relationships we've created a great story for Tucson. Let's keep it going together in 2017.

- Steve K

The Three Rs

Since I began this work in 2009, my MO has been to follow the "Three Rs" we learn throughout our classroom experience: I've been Reading all of our material, wRiting extensively, and doing the aRithmetic in our budgeting process to help get us to a structurally balanced budget.

Reading the material - studying development agreements, contracts, and intergovernmental agreements - and doing a deep dive each week in material shared through emails and interpersonal exchanges, I make sure when I take a position on an issue, it is informed by a thorough review of all sides of the issue.

I write a weekly newsletter that's generally between 4,000 and 5,000 words. Each one examinesissues we're confronting in detail, explain my votes, and help educate the public on topics that are of importance to the region.

It has taken until our last two budget cycles to get us to a structurally balanced budget. That's through the hard work of crunching numbers and making decisions about priorities throughout the process. 

My opponent says he wants a tight budget. We've already achieved that. Not by hoping it happened, but by engaging in those "three Rs." 

My opponent says everything but roads and public safety is "non-essential" and not deserving of being funded until we've "handled" roads, police and fire. I'm proud of our work in bringing the city budget into balance without gutting our support of the arts, parks, environmental services, our water department, our planning and economic development work, neighborhood outreach, social services, transit, our city attorney's office, clerk's office, and on and on. Coming out of the recession, we have maintained service to the public, grown our economy, and achieved that "tight budget" he hopes for.

I'm running for re-election based on my demonstrated commitment to those "three Rs." In the process I have established three new Rs that I place before you in this campaign: my Reputation for hard work and integrity, my Record of defending Tucson values, and the Relationships we've developed throughout the past eight years. 

That's not vague rhetoric. That's developing a plan and carrying it out. Join me as we continue creating our wonderful community together. 

- Steve K

What's Your Plan? (Jobs Edition)

Before you support a candidate for public office, it's important you know they stand for something more than just campaign platitudes. My opponent says he "values good jobs." So do we all. The question is, what's your plan for attracting them?

At the recent Metro Chamber forum all he had to offer was to say he supports the Rosemont Mine. Among other things related to Rosemont, he evidently doesn't understand that the city has no permitting or zoning decision making authority on that project.

Eight years ago when I was first elected, we were in the midst of a recession. People were being laid off in every sector and we faced an operating deficit of over $44 million. Moving our economy was clearly the #1 priority. Yes, I "value good jobs" too.

Since then we have instituted job creating development incentives that have been key to spurring economic growth. Our Primary Jobs Incentive has resulted in multiple projects of over $5 million in investment, jobs paying over $52,000 annually with employers who offer over 75 percent of employee's benefits. Our Government Property Leased Excise Tax is one of the factors that has resulted in over $500 million in private sector growth in the downtown core. And there's more.

We have instituted site specific sales tax incentives to help with public infrastructure needs. The downtown core, and greater Infill Incentive Districts have helped businesses move in with new jobs throughout the downtown region. Our HUD 108 bridge loan was directly responsible for making the AC Marriott Hotel project a success. There is now Certificate of Occupancy relief, cross training of project inspectors, impact fee deferrals, dedicated project managers, water infrastructure incentives, and on and on.

Results? Raytheon is adding 1,975 new high-paying jobs. Vector Space. Comcast. Home Goods. Caterpillar. Hexagon Mining. City Park. Marist on Cathedral Square. 1 East and 1 West Broadway. La Placita. A new university area hotel. New retail and mixed use throughout downtown.

My opponent has a cliché to offer. I have a track record. It includes working with many of you throughout the community, both public and private sector, to come up with incentives and processes that have us on an upward trajectory as we climb out from the recession.

I invite my opponent to share his specific plan, beyond simply saying he'd like somebody else to build the Rosemont Mine. Contact the Star at, or the Tucson Sentinel at Or try, or Let us all hear your plan for bringing the jobs we all value.

This job is more than simply rhetoric. I have a record of success, the results of which you can see.

- Steve K

What's Your Plan? (Roads Edition)

Before you commit your support to a candidate for public office, you deserve to know their goals and how they intend to get there. My opponent says he "values good roads." So do we all. Here's my record:

My very first year in office, even facing a $44 million budget deficit, I recognized the importance of good roads and proposed a $5 million investment into pavement preservation.

The next year in office, I saw the continued need to invest in our roads and proposed 5 percent from our transportation budget be allocated to road repair.

The third year I introduced the idea of taking the RTA back to the voters and earmarking a percentage of the tax to road repair. The response at the time from the RTA was to oppose my suggestion. Now even the RTA is talking in terms of their own reauthorization including some road repair money.

At the end of that fiscal year I allocated $75,000 from our ward office budget to road repair in Ward 6.

The next year we worked with you to pass Proposition 409 which raised $20 million per year for five years, all allocated to road repair. In May of this year, you supported Prop 101 by a 62% margin. That will be another $100 million earmarked for road repair over the coming five years.

A.E. Araiza / Arizona Daily Star

A.E. Araiza / Arizona Daily Star

My opponent says he "values good roads." He has no plan to achieve that though. You see my record. Beyond that single three-word phrase, you can only guess at what he might have in mind.

Here's a thought for my opponent. Tell us your plan. Contact the Arizona Daily Star at Contact the Tucson Sentinel at Or try, or If you have something of substance to offer, let's hear it.

My record of advocating for and achieving funding for road repair is real. Before you commit to a candidate for public office, you deserve to know more than a slogan.

- Steve K

Then and Now

In the past eight years since I was first elected, Tucson has seen enormously positive change in multiple areas.

Then - we were mired in litigation with the Rio Nuevo Board, faced a $44 million dollar operating deficit, were under investigation from the state auditor general, had negative bond outlooks, and the general trust in local government was low.

Now - after eight years of hard work, the city is headed on an upward trajectory.

Not only have we resolved all of the legal issues with Rio Nuevo, but the city and the new Rio Board are partnering in millions of dollars of projects throughout the downtown core.

Not only is the operating deficit gone, but for the past two years we have ended the fiscal year with structurally balanced budgets.

This mayor and council has ensured all of our financial actions, development agreements and investment incentives are fully transparent and consistent with the state constitutional gift clause. Combined they have led to over $500 million in private sector investment in our downtown area.

Every one of the three major bond rating agencies has eliminated the negative outlook on our ratings.

Trust? The best example is Proposition 101. Every ward in the city passed our roads and public safety ballot question by over 10 points. With a 62% margin, the voters said 'yes' to the work we've been doing, trusting us with another five years of funding to continue that work.

I'm asking for four years to continue serving Tucson. Let's keep building on the successes we've achieved together. Ours is a good story - one of hard work, and positive outcomes.

- Steve K

Freedom of the Press on Independence Day

It's Independence Day weekend and sadly we have yet another example of Trump disparaging the institution of the free press. Our Founding Fathers recognized, "The only security of all is in a free press" (Thomas Jefferson, 1823). I agree.

Last month KOLD ran a piece also agreeing with the principle that the press serves a vital role in our system. They said this:

While some politicians on the national stage on both sides of the aisle choose to disparage and disrespect reporters, many of our local leaders should be commended and appreciated for being open and available to the media.

State Senator Steve Farley comes to mind -- and yes -- even before he threw his hat into the Arizona governor's race.

The same is true of Tucson councilman Steve Kozachik. 

Since having been elected in 2009, I've worked hard to respect the role the press plays in informing the public. An educated electorate is key to ensuring those who are in elected positions reflect the values of the communities in which they serve. The press has deadlines. I answer my phone. The press works 24/7. I've made myself available because their job is to inform, and if I can assist in that, I should - and I do.

On any number of issues I've interviewed with all of the local media outlets, many in the Phoenix media market, several other local markets throughout the country, national shows such as Geraldo Rivera, CNN and Alan Combs, and internationally with shows airing in Canada, Britian and even Japan (gun control). And yes, even The Daily Show. The fishbowl of public service requires we respect the needs and the role of the media.

My opponent is so taken by Trump and his values that he "cried" from joy when he was elected. He even sent in a resume in an attempt to go work for the guy. Those are not the values of this community.

Trump and his supporters consider the press to be their adversary. I see it differently. On this 4th of July weekend, let's celebrate all the good this nation represents, and let's support the institutions we have in place that ensure the transparency required of public servants.

- Steve K

Need a reason to support Steve K for Ward 6 City Council?

How about $230,000,000 reasons?

When Steve took office the City was actively trying to build a Tucson Convention Center Hotel.

"The Tucson Convention Center renovation and expansion, headquarters hotel, and associated parking garage collectively comprise what may be the largest public works project the City undertakes in our lifetimes. Because the Rio Nuevo District is unable to financially carry the project, city taxpayers will be asked (through City-backed bonds) to backstop over $230 million in debt." (Inside Tucson Business)

Steve said NO.

“In his first term on the Tucson City Council, Kozachik has been remarkably effective.  He was barely in office when he led the charge to cancel the plans for a major downtown Tucson hotel." (The Tucson Weekly, April 4, 2013)

What could have happened if Steve hadn't stopped the hotel?  Tucson could be in the trouble that Phoenix faces.

“The (Phoenix) Sheraton opened in the midst of the Great Recession and struggled to make money...City staff members estimate total losses of about $45 to $50 million on the hotel. Phoenix previously had reported losses of $29 million since the hotel opened in 2008. The city also provided the hotel corporation with about $14 million over the past decade." (AZ Central 2016)

So... $230 million reasons PLUS another $50 million reasons.

Still need another reason to support Steve K?  He makes the tough decisions. Share this with your friends.

TUSD Resolution

The president of the TUSD School Board wants his group to pass a resolution demanding certain actions from the city and the county. Here's some of the language:

AND THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the Tucson Unified School District Governing Board that a demand be issued to the Tucson Mayor and Council and Pima County Board of Supervisors that they conduct a comprehensive analysis of their anti-education, anti-prosperity lawsuits, regulations, and resolutions.

"Anti-prosperity lawsuits?" I assume he means our fighting for Home Rule against the unconstitutional attempt by the state to make us their arms dealer.

"Anti-education?" The Metropolitan Education Commission is directly funded by the city and county, and is an immensely successful outreach into the education community. And every member of the City Council is supportive of the Steps to Success program initiated out of the Mayor's office.

"Resolutions?" Somehow opposing spending $15 Billion dollars on a border wall is anti-education? Even members of Trumps own party are sprinting away from that idea.

"Regulations?" Analyze this:

  • Over $500M in private sector investment in the downtown core since I took office in 2009
  • Rated #3 for job growth nationwide by Bloomberg in metropolitan areas our size
  • Raytheon expansion created 1,975 new jobs
  • Caterpillar, Vector Space Systems, Home Goods, Comcast, AC Marriott, Hexagon Mining
  • 4.4% unemployment rate as of March 2017
  • A structurally balanced city operations budget
  • $48.9M in working capital as of June 30
  • Upgraded bond outlooks by all three ratings agencies
  • Support from the public for a half cent sales tax increase to fund roads and public safety capital needs by a margin of 20 points

That record speaks of trust by the voters and sound fiscal management. That's the analysis the TUSD Board is asking for.

It's sad to see the board engaging in this behavior while trying to retain teachers and students, avoid their own lawsuit over contract issues, satisfy desegregation requirements, and attract a new superintendent.

- Steve K

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, June 14th I'll be joining hundreds of others at the Downtown Merchants Special Events Committee Flag Day Downtown event. It'll be held in the Johnny Gibson's courtyard, starting at 5:30 pm. We're turning downtown into a patriotic party site with over 100 flags and banners - come and join us.

Thursday, June 15th the Tucson Metro Chamber is hosting a candidate forum. It'll be held at the Hotel Congress starting at 5 pm. Speaking about the great progress we're seeing in the downtown revitalization is going to be energizing and fun.

Monday, June 19th I'll be addressing a sex trafficking forum at the YWCA. This event, called Making Escape Possible is being sponsored by Our Family Services. My office has been heavily involved with providing a safety net and a way out for trafficking victims. It'll be great to see the community join together and learn how to touch and change the lives of these victims.

- Steve K

What should you expect from your city councilperson?

I am a councilperson who is honest and well informed on city issues, and who demonstrates a commitment to serve this community.

In the Thursday Star, my potential opponent was introduced to the public. His interview demonstrated a lack of understanding of local issues and the propensity to twist the truth. A few examples:

He says that the roads around the UA are all in good shape. I think the residents of West University, Rincon Heights, Feldman's, North University, Jefferson Park, Sam Hughes, Pie Allen and Blenman-Elm would beg to differ. We're asking voters for a 1/2 cent sales tax to continue the good work we've been doing on road repair. Ward 6 will benefit from this continued commitment to our roads.

He says the city delayed approval of a bulletin board in his neighborhood a couple of months ago. The fact is the neighborhood considered that project two years ago and decided to do something else with their funds. My staff and I are committed to providing outstanding constituent services.

He says we should defund the arts and use that money to fix our roads and support public safety. He speaks of his dedication to Trump principles but can’t comprehend that even If we eliminated our funding for the arts in this community, it'd pave less than one mile of road. And the statement it would send about our values would be one nobody on this city council would support.

Finally, your city councilperson should be committed to you, the voters in Tucson. My opponent instead has openly discussed “submitting his resume” to the Trump administration (CNN interview January 2017) in hopes of getting a job. I have spent seven years demonstrating my commitment to you and I am proud of all the accomplishments that Tucson has seen during my tenure.

In the end, ask yourself what do you expect from someone who represents you?

- Steve K

Your support has been incredible

I'm grateful for the broad community support that allowed me to turn in enough petition signatures this week to qualify for the ballot to continue as your Ward 6 City Council member.

The number of signatures required to be on the ballot differs for each ward and for each party. For a Ward 6 Democrat, the requirement for signatures is the highest of any party nominee in any ward. The minimum needed is 302 and the maximum I'm allowed to turn in is 602. That's a high bar to meet.

With your support, I was able to gather over 850 signatures, all collected in just about two weeks. We were done collecting signatures two months before we were even allowed to submit them.

That shows how strong your support is and I appreciate your commitment.

I remain committed to running this campaign without financial donations. When you take the money out of politics, you are left with conversations about our community. Your support tells me you want that commitment to conversation.

We're off and running - together - keeping Tucson the great community that it is and making it even better.

Simply put: THANK YOU

-Steve K

All politics are local

When I made my formal announcement to ask for reappointment as Ward 6 Councilman, I made it clear this would be a campaign based on my full body of work. And given that record, I won't be asking for money and I won't be buying media time, but I will be meeting with you in your homes and at events, talking up Tucson, and talking about the issues that matter most to you.

In the context of the recent presidential election, my opponent visibly posted his values statement with a Trump sign in his front yard. That sign stands for building a wall separating us from our cultural and financial neighbors to the south, slamming the door on refugees fleeing persecution, bragging about sexual abuse and then calling it 'locker room banter,' and cutting funding for community development, low income health care, the arts and public education. He owns those positions.

My record can be seen in the extremely successful private sector investment in our downtown core. It can be seen every time I bring community residents to the table together to work towards mutually agreeable solutions to tough development issues. It can be seen every time I stand up in defense of Tucson's values, whether that means fighting federal, state or regional efforts that run contrary to what's best for our city. It can be seen at every forum I help to facilitate; on trafficking, on health care, on civility, on gun control, on inter-faith relations, and more. My record has been one of working through a recession, finally achieving a structurally balanced budget with the Mayor and Council.

The platitudes and sound bites you hear from politicians are easy to craft. As the saying goes, 'talk's cheap.' I am asking for your support based not on clichés, but on the work my staff and I have achieved on your behalf over the past 7 years. Public service isn't a series of one-liners. It's the willingness to dig into issues, listen to all sides and craft policy that reflects the greatest long term good for the community in general.

Thanks for your continued support. It's very much appreciated. And let me know if you'd like to host a coffee at your home. This very retail and grassroots campaign will have those meet and greet opportunities as its hallmark.

- Steve K

Why your support is important

During the 2013 campaign season I sent out weekly emails as a way of keeping the people informed as to positions and causes I was advocating on behalf of, and inviting them to join me in that work. I believe it's important to begin that way of connecting with you once again. 

The jobs we do at the City Council are serious business. These aren't hobbies. They take people who will invest the time and energy to study every individual issue and policy we're considering, and cast an informed vote every time. We craft important public policy, and we defend the values that define Tucson for what we are. Each of us running for Tucson City Council owes you the commitment that as members of the Tucson governing body the message must be Tucson First. That's my commitment to you as this campaign season begins in earnest. And I will hold every candidate accountable for making that same commitment. 

And in fairness to the voters and residents of Ward 6, it's important you learn from the guy who just filed to run against me where he stands on issues. This photo is from his front yard in the Peter Howell neighborhood - taken during the recent presidential campaign. Note the Trump yard sign. More on that below.


Going forward I'll make these emails topical and focused - and much briefer than my newsletters. But to kick off these campaign communications I think it's important to lay the foundation for what the upcoming campaign season should demand of any candidate who runs - regardless of party, and regardless of which ward seat they're pursuing.

A few examples: coming from Trump and Congress are direct challenges to our local economy, environment and cultural identity. Each of us running for Tucson City Council will either own the Trump agenda as it relates to the wall, cutting ties with our neighbors and friends in Mexico, evisceration of environmental regulations, defunding the arts, support for the needy, and community revitalization - or we will very vocally commit to fighting the Trump agenda in defense of Tucson and the values for which we stand.

Coming from the state legislature are challenges to our local sovereignty and decision making authority. Consider that during the current legislative session there have been 14 bills proposed, each of which would chip away at our Charter authority. We just finished arguing in front of the state supreme court to defend those rights. Each of us running for the Tucson City Council will either own the state agenda of attacking Home Rule, or we will commit to fighting bills that would steal our local ability to set policy consistent with our local values.

You know my consistent advocacy on behalf of the City of Tucson and you, my neighbors. If you'd like to learn how solidly my potential opponent stands behind his yard sign and party affiliation, send him an email and demand to know if it's the Trump agenda he's running on, or Tucson values. Ask if he'll defend our Charter and Home Rule when challenged by the state legislature, or if he's in their pocket. You can reach him at

Share this and his responses with your friends and neighbors. If he chooses to continue with a campaign for the Tucson City Council, you deserve to know whose values he intends to defend. Ours, or Trump's.


Steve K

Campaign Kick-Off

Last week we - you and I - passed the 800 mark in nomination signatures. That's about 200 more than the maximum needed. So, come August I'll be on the Primary ballot, and if things go as planned there, on the November ballot in the General Election. Thank you for all of your help in getting this far so quickly.

Please join us on February 9th over at Exo Roasters for our casual campaign kick off. We'll be there from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. Exo is located right around the corner from Tap & Bottle - 403 N. 6th Ave. It's a great local business, our support of which exemplifies the values I'm offering in this application for re-appointment.

As many of you know, I'm doing this campaign without asking for funds. If you would have otherwise given to help my re-election, I'd suggest offering whatever amount that would have been to a local non-profit. There are plenty who can use the help. I'll be using both Facebook and Instagram to keep you up to speed on how things are going, and where we'll be having the house parties that will be our major outreach. That outreach will be directly into people's living rooms, without a financial ask. Take the money out of politics, and you get to know the person. We'll talk together about the issues and opportunities we face as a community.

And of course my account is another way I'll be staying in contact throughout the campaign. Off and running now that the petition signature piece is a done deal.


Steve K

Tucson Weekly Guest Opinion

City Councilman Steve Kozachik is asking his constituents to forget about campaign fundraising, and rehire him based on how well he’s worked for the community

By Steve Kozachik

The last 18 months of politics is screaming out for change. We've witnessed a new low bar having been set for civility and honest debate. And we've seen yet again the impact money is having on our political system. I believe we can do better.

This column is my formal announcement that I'm again applying to work for you on the Tucson City Council. And I am announcing now that this campaign will be fundamentally different than what we just witnessed.

Public service is a job. It's a job for which the public holds us accountable for the decisions we make. Those include how we handle your finances, as well as the causes we champion throughout the community. And we're held accountable for our willingness to put in the hours necessary to do this job right, and for taking the extra time to ensure everyone has a voice in our decisions.

We're accountable for the entire body of our work.

I am reapplying to do this job to ensure that in reaching our full potential, Tucson remains the wonderful place that it is. But when we see candidates for office resort to the bitter and ugly personal attacks that just occurred, and when we see spending at the excessive levels it has reached, one wonders what the true motivations are behind such campaigns.

I said above that this campaign will be fundamentally different than what we just witnessed. It is a job application. I now have a record that I present for your consideration. That includes the work I've done getting us to a structurally balanced budget. It includes my work in areas related to the revitalization of downtown, smart regional economic development, and protecting home rule. It includes my work on behalf of victims of trafficking, drug addiction and education, gun safety and animal welfare. And it includes community work bridging the gaps that are caused by religious and racial bigotry.

I will recognize the built-in advantage of incumbency and a good record, and with that I will set the example of pulling money out of politics. During this campaign, I will not be asking for financial donations. Instead, I look forward to meeting with you in your living rooms and at events, sitting talking about our community and hearing your thoughts and ideas about the issues that are important to you.

Somebody has to be first to set the example of changing the unhealthy trajectory of what money is doing to our political system. I'm going to give it a whirl. I ask that you consider donating any money you would have otherwise given to my re-election to a local non-profit you find worthy of support. There are plenty throughout the community.

Why announce now eleven months before the election? Before the inauguration, and before the state legislature has returned to session after the November election? To send a clear and unmistakable signal that in the aftermath of the recent ugly and divisive political season, I'll be all-in on continuing to defend Tucson, our values, and the progress we're making. We're better than the political rhetoric we've been hearing.

We hear all the time politicians say we need to address the excessive influence of money in politics. I am announcing a candidacy that will act on that claim. Call it performing without a safety net, but I will not be asking any of you for donations to this campaign. Let's see what happens when a person is simply applying to constituents for a reappointment to the job he's been doing, and not asking them to dip into their wallets.

We hear all the time politicians claim to be running on their record. But the negative advertising clouds that message. In the past 7 years I've been accessible to constituents and to the press. In this campaign none of that will change. Politics can and should be a civil discussion of policy. That's where this campaign will go.

We've just seen how Independently funded campaigns enter the process and muddy the politics – if they come, judge my record. I look forward to meeting with you on a personal level. We'll be talking policy, and we'll be talking Tucson.

All of that means I may have to work harder since I won't be buying advertising or any of those signs that clutter our streetcorners. But a funny thing will happen when we take money out of the process – you'll get to know me on a personal level.

As public officials, we're doing a job for the community. Judge me on how well I've done that.