Lisa Urias: azcentral.com 36 Hours Live Election Commentary Blog
Arizonans, make your lawmakers focus
I have heard it said that politicians don’t lead, they follow. If that is the case, the Arizona electorate must demand that our politicians focus in the right direction – a better direction – this legislative session.
In a recent Arizona Republic article, Rep. Michele Reagan (LD8), stated that last session, the state legislature focused on “gays, guns and abortion,” and failed to address economic policy. I would add immigration to that list. Our political leadership spends too much time and energy focused in the wrong direction. This session, let’s demand our political leadership stick to the critical issues at hand such as:
- Unemployment. Currently hovering at 9.5 percent in Arizona, and estimates suggest it takes an average 9 months to find another job. Today, fewer high-wage middle class jobs are available in Arizona. We need a state legislature focused on attracting more diverse businesses and job creation.
- Education. Arizona is 50th in the nation in education funding, and our test scores prove this lack of priority. How does this bode for our future? Not well. To ensure our state is able to attract businesses and find new innovative technologies, we must make education a top priority. We must demand that all Arizona children have the opportunity to reach their potential and prepare them to compete in a global market.
- Budget deficits. The Arizona state budget deficit sits at $1.7 billion. Some politicians suggest that this is due to education funding and that we need to cut more. We must ask, what about the unfunded liabilities to pay every government employee and elected official pensions and health care benefits until death? Why are taxpayers footing that bill while our kids sit on top of one another?
Now that campaigns are over, we must watch their agenda carefully. Our leadership will follow when the people demand they focus in the right direction, regardless of political affiliation. We have precious little time to waste.
Lisa Urias is president of Urias Communications, an advertising and public relations firm, and vice chair of the Arizona Latino Research Enterprise (ALRE). Her family has been involved in the social and political landscape of the Valley since the 1920’s.