By Will Greene
Blog for Arizona | www.blogforarizona.com
Word might be getting out. The Arizona Corporation Commission, widely regarded as a lower-tier agency in terms of attention, is receiving heavy interest from a bevy of candidates eying its two open seats in 2014. Fifteen months before any voting will take place, five candidates have formed exploratory committees, with more likely on the way.
Ryan Randazzo reported Tuesday night that Republican state Rep. Frank Pratt, who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced his intention to run.
“As a Corporation Commissioner, I will focus on a balanced energy portfolio that provides clean, reliable energy at the lowest possible price,” Pratt said in a statement. “We must use all forms of energy including solar, nuclear, wind, coal, natural gas, hydroelectric and other emerging and proven technologies.”
Nancy LaPlaca, a former policy adviser at the ACC, is exploring a run according to her campaign facebook page. LaPlaca will likely stress her vision for a solar future in the state and her years of experience dealing with complicated energy regulatory issues.
“Arizona is at a crossroads on critical policies for electricity, gas and water,” said LaPlaca. “Clean energy will grow our economy and bring us good-paying jobs we can be proud of. The Southwest is feeling the results of rising temperatures and drought. A recent U.S. Geological Survey report says the Verde River is at serious risk of going dry and some water wells have already failed. We need smarter policies that value not only water, but all of our critical natural resources,” said LaPlaca.
In a statement LaPlaca cited her desire for the ACC to foster greater public involvement, more transparency and an inclusive stakeholder process.
Democrat Jim Holway and Republicans Carl Seel and Christopher Campbell have also filed exploratory committees. LaPlaca is a Democrat.