Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman visits Pima

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Tom Forese, middle, visited Pima on Friday. Also at the meeting were, from left, Graham County Supervisor Paul David, Graham County Republican Chairman Keith Alexander, Gila Watershed Partnership Executive Director Melanie Tluczek, Forese, GIFT Superintendent Troy Thygerson, and Pima Schools Superintendent Sean Rickert.

By Jon Johnson

PIMA – Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Tom Forese (R) visited Pima on Friday to listen to the wants and concerns of some of the movers and shakers of the area. And listen he did.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Tom Forese listens during an impromptu meeting in Pima on Friday. Forese is running for State Treasurer.
Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: The meeting was organized by Keith Alexander, left, who traveled with Tom Forese throughout the day.

While enjoying some takeout from the Taylor Freeze, Forese and his assistant, Alex J. Chorale, conducted an impromptu meeting attending by Gila Watershed Partnership Executive Director Melanie Tluczek,  GIFT Institute for Technology Superintendent Troy Thygerson, Pima Schools Superintendent Sean Rickert, and Graham County Supervisor Paul David. The meeting was coordinated by Graham County Republican Party Chairman Keith Alexander. Forese was also the keynote speaker at the Graham County Republican Committee’s monthly meeting earlier the same day at the Manor House in Safford.

Forese is running for State Treasurer in 2018. Current treasurer Jeff DeWitt (R) previously announced he would not seek re-election. 

During the meeting, Forese listened to Tluczek’s concerns about the invasive Tamarisk (salt cedar) plant and the oncoming Tamarisk Beetle; Thygerson’s issues with the Pell Grant system punishing students who receive college credit in high school; Rickert’s concerns about possible dwindling teacher salaries and David’s issue with cost shifts to the county from the State Legislature.

In each instance, after listening to the issues and asking questions to better understand them, Forese either gave instructions on how to proceed with dealing with the problem or instructed Chorale to set up meetings with those in positions to do something about the queries.

Jon Johnson Photo/Gila Herald: Tom Forese, left, chats with Troy Thygerson and Sean Rickert.

“I’ve been doing this for a while, and I’ll tell you I think there are people in the great state of Maricopa who believe they come to meetings like this and tell you what’s what,” Forese said. “And I think that’s a mistake. I like to listen. So, tell me what’s going on; tell me what I need to know.”

After the meeting concluded, Forese and Alexander continued on their way westward with an escort from the San Carlos Police Department.