Flagstaff, AZ – Energy is the most important issue for Tom Hansen, Republican candidate for the Arizona 1st Congressional District seat. Hansen had a long career at the Tucson Electric Power plant, where he worked as an engineer and, eventually, the vice president.
At a recent candidates forum on the Navajo Nation, Hansen outlined his past experience with coal fired plants, but said the future is in renewable energy.
"If I'm elected to represent you in Congress, I pledge to work towards developing energy, and that Congressional District 1 will get its fair share of renewable generation opportunities," Hansen said.
The 1st District has excellent solar, oil, and natural gas resources, Hansen said. However, Americans must commit to renewable energy.
"The country is at a crossroads on energy. If we don't make a long-term commitment to the development of renewables in the next two to four years, we're heading down the wrong path," he said.
At Tucson Electric Power, Hansen designed, built and operated nearly all of the state's current power plants. He has also developed a plan for a national energy grid system, which he says he intends to bring to Washington, should he be elected to Congress.
"We put all the renewables onto this national grid so that people in New Jersey are getting Arizona sunshine, people in Arizona are getting wind power from North Dakota... and we're all getting wave power from California," Hansen said.
Another important issue in Hansen's campaign is education. He says federal funding mandates can devour scarce resources for education, especially in rural districts.
"We need to return control back to the local governing boards. We need to get the federal government out of the business of education. They have no business being in it. Local school boards can provide a better understanding of the priorities," Hansen said.
Hansen has been a board member with the St. Johns Unified School District for many years. He also worked closely with the Arizona Academic Decathlon for over 20 years, developing software that takes the guesswork out of a complex scoring system.
Anne Edelstein is the executive director for the Arizona Academic Decathlon.
"[Hansen] brings a wisdom and a wit, and he can always put things in perspective and give a calming attitude to everything," Edelstein said.
Edelstein believes Hansen's integrity makes him suited to represent the voters of Arizona's 1st Congressional District.
"He's a very quiet, no nonsense man, but he just gets the job done. He sees things through to the end," Edelstein said.