Republican businessman Noran Eric Ruden, who describes himself as a “compassionate conservative” is running for Congress in Congressional District 2. He recently agreed to participate in a Question and Answer session via email.
Q: Please provide us some details about yourself
A: I am a third-generation Tucsonan and love Southern Arizona. I own two successful businesses including a Pest Control firm and an Indoor Sports Facility. For 10 years I volunteered as a coach helping high school kids reach their collegiate dreams. My education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management.
I started from the bottom. My big break was a job for $6.00 an hour in the pest control industry. With a strong work ethic, I advanced rapidly and became Vice President of a local company managing more than 100 people. Eventually, I leveraged that success into buying my own company. The challenges were numerous: rising health care, surviving a deep recession, burdensome government regulations, and providing for my employees.
I believe my experiences as a struggling young person, business owner, coach, and volunteer have prepared me to serve. I bring a variety of skills to the table: a strong work ethic, problem-solving, mentoring, negotiating, and advocating for hard-working people. Most of all, I can understand complex problems, simplify them, and come up with practical common-sense solutions.
Q: What do you believe are some of the important issues facing Arizona?
A: The post COVID recovery will dominate the political landscape for the next several years. We will see many industries that will be impacted long-term. Also, massive government budgetary shortfalls will impact us at the local, state, and federal levels.
Southern Arizona has always struggled economically in comparison to Phoenix and other similar cities throughout the nation. We need to leverage opportunities like Trade with Mexico, attracting industries that match our region, and workforce development with trade schools and programs like JTED.
With a significant retirement population in the district, Medicare and Social Security insolvency is a huge issue. These programs faced challenges prior to COVID. The lack of revenue from employees & employers during the crisis will accelerate the insolvency clock.
Q: what has it been like campaigning in during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Obviously not having in-person interactions is disappointing. Tools like Zoom meetings, tele-town halls, and social media have come to the forefront. These tools aren’t new, we just rely on them more. However, I still believe traditional campaign activities will resume soon. The campaign season will just be shorter and more intense. Public interest and engagement I think will be intensified due to the COVID crisis. We are adjusting our campaign for a shorter vetting process and campaign cycle. More of a sprint than a marathon.
Q: What are your thoughts on how President Trump and Governor Ducey have handled the crisis?
A: I believe President Trump has been ahead of the crisis. He closed the borders ahead of the outbreak, despite tremendous opposition. He has communicated with the public daily and considered advice and direction from a broad coalition. However, I question the advice of the modelers, media, and experts that have continually overestimated the death and mortality of the virus. Hopefully, we can modify our response to protect the vulnerable, without penalizing the entire population that is less susceptible to the virus.
I will just say, I have been disappointed in Governor Ducey’s response. He communicates less and doesn’t articulate the reasoning of his actions. I feel he is reacting, rather than leading.
During this COVID crisis, I have been disappointed by our government representatives. They have shown no trust in small businesses, consumers, or individuals to responsibly mitigate and socially distance on our own. The American public is capable of being responsible without draconian measures that strip us of our Civil Liberties.
I also have concerns that those that have guaranteed incomes and have no economic consequences to their actions can feel so emboldened to rob hard-working people of their livelihoods with little to no consequences. The lack of empathy for those that have been economically devastated is appalling.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: I have worked extremely hard my entire life. I started from the bottom and worked my way to the top with dogged tenacity and a sense of purpose. I will bring that same tenacity to representing our wonderful community and will work hard for the residents of Southern Arizona. I will have empathy for those that struggle and will advocate for working-class people.