Barry Wong, a lawyer, former member of the Corporation Commission and four-term state legislator, is currently running for a seat on the utility regulatory board. In 2006, he was appointed by then-Gov. Napolitano to fill a vacancy on the commission.
During a campaign interview with the daily, Wong asserted that if elected, he would require regulated utilities to check the immigration status of customers, a move he says would keep costs down for other customers.
A Phoenix native, Wong is an American-born son of Chinese immigrant parents, and is not unfamiliar with issues involving immigrants. The issue is those here illegally.
Should Wong win election, his request would be sufficient to begin a study of the idea and put the issue before the full commission. Passage of the proposal requires only two other votes on the five-member board.
“I’m sure there will be criticism about human-rights violations,” Wong said of his utility proposal. “Is power or natural gas or any type of utility we regulate, is that a right that people have? It is not a right. It is a service.”
Corporation Commission members have constitutional authority to regulate state utilities. Six candidates are vying for two statewide seats are up for election this year. In addition to Barry Wong, the Republicans in the race are Brenda Burns and Gary Pierce.