Legislative candidates tackle land ballot proposition

By Joe Ferguson

Arizona Daily Sun

It didn’t take long for the gloves to come off in the first public debate in Flagstaff for the six Legislative District 6 candidates.

State Senate candidate Chester Crandell speaks as his opponent Tom Chabin looks on during a debate Tuesday night at the Radisson sponsored by the Citizens for Clean Election. / Josh Biggs:Arizona Daily Sun

The three Democrats and three Republicans traded barbs over Proposition 120, which would give the state some control over the 73 million acres in Arizona currently under federal control.

One Democrat called it an ideologically driven bill that would threaten the state’s annual multibillion-dollar tourism industry, while another Democrat waved a copy of Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of a similar bill, saying she was “absolutely terrified” it would cost thousands of Arizona residents their jobs.

Rep. Chester Crandell, R-Heber, who is responsible for the legislation that put the issue on the ballot, repeatedly tried to convince the audience that Prop 120 would not necessarily lead to the sale of cherished federal lands. Instead, it would help the cash-strapped state bring in new revenue.

“There is nothing in that bill that says we will sell anything,” the state Senate candidate said repeatedly Tuesday night.

Crandell has been in the House since 2010, and prior to joining the Legislature, he was the superintendent of the Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology.

Prop 120 would amend the state constitution to add “sovereign and exclusive authority” over all public lands in Arizona.



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