Arizona’s economy used to be based on the “Five C’s:” Copper, Cattle, Cotton, Citrus and Climate. Beginning a few decades ago, a few of these cornerstones of the Arizona economy became less important, adding things like technology, national defense, health care and others to our state’s economic base. Attracting and developing new industries and creating new jobs that add to our economic base is one of my top priorities. Here are a few ideas.
Commerce Center for the Southwest
Given our easy access to the Mexican border, close proximity to California ports of entry, our abundant access to solar energy and the burgeoning renewable energy manufacturing industry, Arizona is in a good location to become a commerce hub for the Southwest U.S.. This means finding the resources to build the highway and support infrastructure that a world-class commerce center requires. It means making sure our access to new technologies, sciences and the Internet are the best-in-class. And it means championing these efforts around the country. I want to be a champion for Arizona, it’s people and its businesses and share the message that Arizona is the place you want to live and work.
For example, the F-35 is an important addition to our nation’s Air Force fleet and recent announcements that Luke Air Force Base is in the lead for being the host training base for the plane is good news for our state. To keep it, however, flight operations at Luke need to be as safe as possible and that means protecting the base from encroachment.
I understand the needs of local land developers. I understand the demand for housing and commercial development, but safety comes first. As a legislator, I will be open to discuss this issue with all parties and try to find common ground where the economic and safety issues of the base with those who own land or want to develop on land surrounding the base. If that means compensating land owners, we can discuss that possibility.
There is also an opportunity for Arizona to lead in space science. We need to be more supportive of businesses like Orbital and related industries as space becomes more commercial. To support these businesses and industries, we need to make sure our educational system are capable of producing the employees and engineers that will be needed to fill these jobs. That requires a mindset that we can do better, which is better than the current mindset of we can’t do better.