The economy is the engine that drives our state. When it sputters, the ride gets rough. The diagnosis for a sputtering economy? Jobs. In the private sector, I made a career out of creating jobs. Thousands in fact, with 150 in the last year alone. I took this skill set to the legislature and became the go-to senator for economic development. In this capacity, I helped bring Apple and their billion dollar investment to Mesa creating 2,000 jobs along the way.
Standard talking points always focus on two variables: more funding or less funding. What’s really needed is a paradigm shift. Quality of education will improve by devoting greater attention to how our current education funds are used. In business terms, we need a better return on investment from every dollar spent. Let’s explore new solutions like shared athletic stadiums and performing arts centers which significantly reduce the cost for new facilities. Allow the savings to be used for other needs like hiring more teachers. Innovative on-line courses are changing the education landscape and can multiply the efforts of our talented educators. Anyone can throw money at a problem, but only innovative leaders can improve outcomes using existing resources.
Arizona needs power. I believe the free markets are best suited to determine where our power comes from. I support a comprehensive approach of traditional sources like coal, as well as green technologies like solar and bio-mass. I am the only member of our legislature to have produced and sold power on the open markets through power plants I own in Eastern Arizona. Governor Brewer asked me to put this practical experience to work by representing our state in discussions with the U.S. Department of Energy. I am also on the front lines of the battle with the EPA to allow Arizona to control its own implementation of emissions standards.
I created azvoices.gov. This first-of-its-kind website allows citizens to see, in real time, every bill being discussed at the capitol. But that’s not all. Citizens can also voice their opinion on every move the legislature makes. It's an amazing level of transparency and feedback! Think about this. I can sit at my desk on the senate floor, propose an amendment to a bill, and see immediate feedback on my computer screen because the voter at home saw exactly what I did. It’s truly groundbreaking and is one of my proudest accomplishments as a State Senator. Transparency and participation foster good government.
"Shrink & Modernize” is my motto. In business, we talk about “early adopters,” those who are the quickest to implement the newest technologies. Government is not only a late adopter, it's often the last adopter. I’m changing that. From military grade border surveillance equipment to the previously mentioned azvoices.gov, I’m working to modernize state operations.
Any immigration solution is going to first require a secure border. We need to know and be able to control who enters our country. This session, I passed a border security bill that will allow us to use state of the art technology to monitor border crossings in Arizona. This is crucial, but only a first step. It will take thoughtful leaders to balance compassion and justice to arrive at a solution that meets the needs of everyone in our state, while protecting the rule of law.
Legacy issues are those things that will affect future generations—the “big ideas.” Arizona, as we enjoy it today, was provided to us by previous generations who had the foresight to pursue "legacy issues" like the Central Arizona Project. We owe it to future generations to avoid getting distracted by the short term and the short sighted. I’ve made it my goal to focus on legacy issues in both my public service and private life. Together with my wife Christi, we’ve created Consolari, a non-profit organization involved in cutting edge research around music and medicine through partnerships with the Lincoln Center, ASU, Juliard, and The Mayo Clinic.