“I strive to help and encourage all the persons and businesses in the varied economic and cultural mosaic that makes up Santa Cruz County.”
After 27 years of the same familiar face in Santa Cruz County, there’s a new sheriff in town.
Democratic candidate David Hathaway won the county sheriff’s race on Nov. 3, succeeding longtime Sheriff Tony Estrada, who served a whopping seven terms. Hathaway will take office in January.
He’s a former sheriff’s deputy and headed the Drug Enforcement Agency office in Nogales at one time. He and his wife, Karen, are graduates of Nogales High School; Class of 1977 and Class of 1979, respectively.
Hathaway tells The Copper Courier that it’s a great honor that Santa Cruz County voters put their trust in him. It’s something he takes seriously.
“I was not expecting the overwhelming landslide margin in the election and it is humbling to see the magnitude of support,” Hathaway said via email. “I want to make sure that I keep that trust.”
Hathaway said he and the outgoing sheriff have been friends for many years. Estrada served a total of 53 years in uniform, having worked with the Nogales Police Department for 25 years before ascending to Santa Cruz County Sheriff. He held the position for the next 28 years.
Hathaway promises, “I will definitely seek out his knowledge and advice. He is helping to make it a smooth transition.”
As a long-term resident of Santa Cruz County, Hathaway is well-aware of the negative image of the border town of Nogales that’s often showed in the national media. However, he knows it’s actually a safe and calm community full of friendly people. He wants to help debunk the Nogales’ unwarranted notoriety.
“I have nine children and I feel that my family is much safer in Nogales when they are out and about than in many other cities farther from the border,” he said. “A major role of all local political leaders should be to debunk this unwarranted negative image that has been associated with our border communities.”
Hathaway strives to be an ambassador for Santa Cruz County as a safe place to live, work, and visit. He feels that he and other local officials can do their part to put forth positive messaging about our communities—especially as the city faces an economic downturn.
A large part of the current economic downturn in the area is due to reduced retail sales from Mexican shoppers. In the next five years, he hopes that the community is able to return to a more robust relationship. That mentality is embodied in the community’s time-honored phrase, “Ambos Nogales,” which means “Both Nogales”. Hathaway wants to preserve the relationship with Mexico, which is essential for the community’s shared economic and cultural interests.
“I think the Sheriff can do a lot to make sure that public officials respect the members of the community whom they serve and elevate those around them,” Hathaway points out. “I strive to help and encourage all the persons and businesses in the varied economic and cultural mosaic that makes up Santa Cruz County.”