August 24, 2016… Gary Kiehne, a rancher, small business owner and the grassroots candidate running to represent Arizona’s First Congressional District submitted the following statement for record at the ADEQ Public Meeting in St. Johns, Arizona discussing the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory proposal for the local coal fired power plants:
“Here in rural Arizona and across this state and our great nation, we continue to suffer as a result of the continuous overreach from the EPA. The latest regulations released last August as part of the Clean Power Plan go to a new extreme by increasing the emissions regulations – serving up consecutive blows to Arizona as a whole, the rural communities that are the backbone of our state, and the hard working taxpayers who deserve better from the federal government.
“The first blow comes in the forms of dramatic job losses. These new regulations will eliminate hundreds of job across Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, which is home to several coal fired plants. Communities such as Joseph City, St. Johns, Springerville and Page are in peril as a result. We can’t sit idly by and allow Washington to destroy our jobs and communities. Instead we need leaders who will push back and fight for solutions that create jobs, not cut them.
“Second, the EPA is taking a sledgehammer to the natural resource that produces nearly 40% of Arizona’s electricity and 46% nationwide. Even with all of the existing burdensome regulations, Arizona has remained the nation’s 16th largest coal fired electrical producer. Just imagine the financial boom to our district and state if we were able to win the fight to return federally managed public lands to state control and put them into production.
“Third, these new regulations are going to hit Arizonans where it hurts the most, in our ever-thinning wallets. Under the current EPA plan, forecasters predict a devastating 13-15% increase in power costs for households in Arizona in the coming years. That means the cost to heat our homes in the winter or cool them during the blistering summer months will give us less to spend on things that are important to providing for our families. This also couples energy costs with a decreasing county property basis, resulting in higher individual property taxes imposed on the surviving property owners.
“Finally, public schools in rural Arizona struggle year to year paying teacher salaries and providing a quality education for our kids and grandkids. Arizona already ranks 47th in the country for overall Education. By removing the largest corporate entities from the tax roles in Apache, Navajo, and Coconino counties, inevitably doors will close on many of our already struggling public schools. Our kids and our communities deserve better.
“What troubles me the most is that there are no plans to replace the jobs we’ll lose or the electricity we’ll miss, nor are there solutions to bolster economic growth to help our citizens afford rising energy costs and keep the doors to our schools open.
“As a small business owner in oil and gas exploration and production, ranching and the hotel industry, I know how hard it is to comply with the messy red tape regulations stemming from the federal government, and I’ve had enough. That’s why I am running for Congress – it is time for ordinary citizens like us to stand up to the failures of Washington and demand a return of power back to our states and our hardworking families. Only then can we eliminate these damaging regulations and start on a path to get our great nation back on track.”
In November, Gary was named to the first round of “On the Radar” candidates by the National Republican Congressional Committee, a national display of momentum for his candidacy. Kiehne has been endorsed by dozens of local leaders and influencers in Arizona’s First Congressional District, along with several local organizations and publications.
Born in Springerville, Apache County, Gary Kiehne is an Arizona cattleman and small business owner. He owns three hotels in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District and works in the oil and gas industry. Gary and his wife Julie have three children, Mendy, Holly and Chance, and four young grandchildren. A roper, Gary is a member of the United States Team Roping Association and the World Series of Team Roping. An avid outdoorsman, Gary is a lifelong member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and belongs to the National Rifle Association.