State Mine Inspector: Joe Hart seeks improved public safety, more training for miners

Incumbent State Mine Inspector Joe Hart, 74, a republican, who has been in office for the past 12 years, seeks re-election against Bill Pierce, 70, for this election. Hart wants to continue to improve safety and training, which he said are the most important aspects with the position. (Photo courtesy of Joe Hart)

Name: Joe Hart
Political party: Republican
Position sought: State Mine Inspector
City of residence: Kingman
Occupation: State Mine Inspector

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

Hart, who has been in office for 12 years, said in an email interview he wants to continue working to ensure the public is protected from the 5,217 abandoned mines his office has identified and evaluated.

Of those mines, Hart said 1,561 have had fences or other barricades built around them, and 452 have been sealed.

Since January 2008, he said, there haven’t been any fatalities involving abandoned mines.

What other issues are important to you and your campaign?

Hart, 74, said one of his priorities has been keeping Arizona miners safe, and he pledged to continue providing top-notch safety training.

“I have worked to raise the standards for miner-safety training and inspections,” he said. “Under my leadership, the office has a 93 percent (mine) inspection rate annually. I will continue to be a staunch advocate for mine safety, training and reclamation.”

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

Hart said his experience with the mining industry sets him apart from Bill Pierce, his Democratic challenger.

Hart worked as mining operations and safety supervisor for Duval Mining Co. in Kingman for 18 years before his election as state mine inspector. He also served in the Arizona House of Representatives for a decade, during which time he championed the Abandoned Mine Safety Fund, which he said protected the public, and supported legislation to require mining operation to be reclaimed for post-mining uses.

“I never asked a member of my crew to do a task that I would not do myself. My on-the-job mining experience coupled with my 10 years of legislative experience makes me uniquely qualified to serve as the state mine inspector.”

Hart said while served in the Legislature, he was actively involved in natural resource issues and worked closely with legislators in others states to address those same issues.

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

“Fitting everything that I want to accomplish into one lifetime.”

Please share a quote or advice that you live by.

“Do your best to treat others with kindness and respect.”

What app on your phone could you not live without?

Hart said he loves FaceTime.

“It is no secret how much I love my family,” said Hart, a husband, father of four, grandfather and great grandfather.

“FaceTime helps us stay up to date with them.”

Is there anything else you would like to add?

“I care deeply about our state,” Hart said. “Mining and the safety of miners are of the utmost importance to me as I am a proud fourth-generation Arizona miner. My great grandfather, grandfather, father, myself and my wife’s grandfather, father and many uncles have all worked in mining in Arizona.

“Mining was a major contributor to the building of this state and continues to contribute significantly to state’s economy. I am proud to be a small part of that heritage.”

Arizona produces a majority of the copper in the world, he said, as well as several other key natural resources, which adds to the importance of the state mine inspector’s position.

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