Name: Kiana Sears
Political party: Democrat
Position sought: Arizona Corporation Commission
City of residence: Mesa
Occupation: Volunteer, Valley of the Sun United Way
What is the greatest issue Arizona residents face? If elected, how would you address this issue?
“The greatest issue for hard-working families in Arizona is the increase in electric bills,” said Sears, who was an executive consultant for the utilities division of the Arizona Corporation Commission from 2008 to 2014.
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She also was elected in 2016 to the governing board of Mesa Public Schools, and she sees a link between that experience and the commission.
Families are hit the hardest in the summer when air-conditioning bills are the highest, and they have to juggle those high costs with back-to-school bills, she said. “Lowering energy rates is my first goal,” she said.
Sears said also supports more reliance on renewable energies, particularly solar, which she called cheaper and cleaner.
“We know solar costs less. It actually costs less than coal and fossil fuels. We know that and we have case studies,” she said.
What other issues are important to you and your campaign?
“Honesty, integrity and transparency need to be returned to the Corporation Commission,” Sears said. “Because without those, we don’t go forward and we continue a system that is not just for the public, that is also a system of corruption and a legacy of corruption.”
A poll by High Ground Public Affairs Consultants in August 2017 reported that more than 65 percent of Arizonans thought the five-person commission has been corrupted.
What in your past work, political or volunteer experience makes you a better choice to hold this office?
“I am the candidate who has the experience in energy, not just being an energy regulatory professional, but at the Corporation Commission,” Sears said. “I’m a former employee who was a part of the decisions.”
What is a personal challenge you feel you need to overcome?
“My candidacy is a direct opposition in calling attention and is an affront to the current leadership” of the Corporation Commission, Sears said.
As a commission employee, she said, Sears said she saw firsthand how regulators failed to protect ratepayers.
Please share a quote or advice that you live by.
“To whom much is given, much is required.”
The inspiration for that quote is believed to be the Bible verse Luke 12:48: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”
Sears, who has a master’s degree in public administration, explained: “I came to Arizona as a young married mother, I had a 1 year old and I was given the access to the Arizona dream.
“I took hold of the opportunity, I went to college (at Arizona State University) and the affordable systems here made it easy to become a professional who could go and return to the public sector as a public administrator and policy person who could actually give back in service for everything that I’ve been afforded.”
What app on your phone could you not live without?
“I have a new app that I love that is a water-tracker device, so it actually checks your water consumption on a daily basis,” Sears said. “I’m super busy and I may go a month without checking the water because I don’t think about it.”
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“It’s time to stop the corruption, clean up the Arizona Corporation Commission, and who best but this hard-working woman to clean it up,” Sears stated emphatically.