Arizona Corporation Commission: Justin Olson pledges to keep putting ratepayers first

Commissioner Justin Olson is one of the Republican nominees running for the Arizona Corporation Commission. Olson has held a seat on the Commission since October of 2017. (Photo by Scott Rowe/Cronkite News)

Name: Justin Olson
Political party: Republican
Position sought: Arizona Corporation Commission
City of residence: Mesa
Occupation: Member of the Arizona Corporation Commission

What is the greatest issue Arizona residents face? If elected, how would you address this issue?

“The Number 1 issue that’s before the commission is the affordability of our utilities,” said Olson, who has served on the commission since he was appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey in October 2017 to fill the term of Doug Little, who joined the Trump administration.

He pledges to reduce utility rates and bring proper oversight to the commission.

Olson, 39, was a senior research analyst for the Arizona Tax Research Association and a tax analyst for the University of Phoenix. His tax policy expertise, Olson said, will help him find ways to reduce the cost of water, electricity and natural gas. He also served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017.

What other issues are important to you and your campaign?

Olson opposes Proposition 127, which would require state-regulated power providers to get 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. He says would “increase carbon emissions while doubling the cost of utilities” for families, small businesses and schools.

What in your past work, political or volunteer experience makes you a better choice to hold this office?

“I am a sitting commissioner with a proven record both at the commission as well as at the Legislature,” Olson said, and he urged voters to look to his record as a lawmaker.

Olson also pointed to his education. He said his master’s degree in business administration in finance from Arizona State University allows him to “dig into complex financial documents” to ensure that the utility companies are not charging unreasonable rates.

What is a personal challenge you feel you need to overcome?

Olson, a husband and father of nine, said public service requires him to sacrifice time with his family. The pay is not much, he said, but those serving the public shouldn’t expect to benefit financially.

Those sacrifices are made so that “the country and the state that our kids grow up in is a country that’s strong and free and prosperous,” he added.

Please share a quote or advice that you live by.

Olson quoted President Ronald Reagan, saying this quote still resonates today:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States, where men were free.”

What app on your phone could you not live without?

Google Maps is Olson’s favorite app. It allows him to check traffic and delays that used to drive him crazy. He also uses Facebook and Twitter to share information with the community.

Is there anything you would like to add?

“My Number 1 priority at the commission is to serve with the highest standards of ethics and integrity,” Olson said.

He noted he has advocated for increased accountability and transparency, including sponsoring an amendment to the Corporation Commission’s code of ethics to prohibit commissioners from accepting campaign contributions from the utilities they regulate.

Campaign website for Justin Olson.

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