I am always proud to represent a district where folks know the value of a hard day’s work. In Greater Arizona, we all learn from a young age that you have to earn every opportunity you get, and that’s the lesson we teach to our kids. Even during one of the worst economic downturns in decades, people don’t ask me for handouts or for the government to take care of everything. They want to know what I am doing to help them provide for themselves and their families.
For the last 12 months, I have been fighting to help create jobs and get our economy back on track so that folks in District One have that chance. I will continue to make this my top priority in the new year, so that Arizonans can get themselves back on their feet in 2010.
My job creation efforts include securing smart investments into our critical infrastructure, which lay down the foundation for growth. The downturn has threatened basic public services, and we must do what it takes to keep our law enforcement personnel on duty and our teachers in the classroom. District One can also greatly benefit from projects to expand broadband access or encourage the growing alternative energy industry, which will pay for themselves by helping us attract and create well-paying, stable, 21st-century jobs.
However, with our national debt over $12 trillion, piling on more spending is not the answer. Our record debt could bring our economic growth to a standstill and raise interest rates on loans Arizona families and small businesses need. It cannot be ignored, avoided or dismissed — the debt has to be addressed to spur our recovery efforts.
The government needs to find the right balance between setting the right priorities and learning to do more with less. To achieve that goal, I have made a commitment to restoring fiscal discipline in this Congress. This year, I will keep pushing for Washington to cut back, spend more carefully and develop a plan to ensure better fiscal decisions in the long run. We must crack down on waste and efficiency so that we can make sure the federal government stays within its means and starts to pay off its debt.
Of course, there are plenty of ways the government can help Arizonans get back to work without using taxpayer dollars. We should be seeking solutions that rely on common sense, not more money.
For example, excessive regulations and burdensome bureaucracy can raise the cost of doing business beyond what Arizona entrepreneurs can afford in these tough times. Recently our report on the Recovery package found communities benefited, but it could be even better with less bureaucracy. We can do more to reduce the red tape that stands in the way and stops their growth.
Furthermore, our small businesses are struggling to access the tools they need to thrive — in large part because big banks are not doing
enough to help them get back on their feet. Wall Street needs to curb its greed and start doing the right thing. Unfortunately, when Wall Street failed, the American taxpayers bailed them out. I opposed their bailout and other targeted bailouts because they helped big corporations, and did not help our small towns and communities across America and rural Arizona. It is time to hold these banks accountable and encourage them to help small businesses create jobs.
Finally, several key job creation projects in the district only need federal action to move forward, rather than federal money. These include the Copper Basin Jobs Project and the Four Forest Initiative, which have earned broad-based support at the local, state and federal level on both sides of the aisle. These proposals will revitalize key industries for our rural communities, such as copper mining and forestry, and they could bring thousands of jobs to Greater Arizona. With their potential and their low cost, they are critical to this district and the state. I am pushing the government to allow us to make progress on these critical projects.
I have lived my whole life in this district, and I know that folks here do not expect to be given anything. We do not ask for the easy way. All we want is a fair shot, and that’s what I am working for in Congress. By helping us develop our critical infrastructure, removing the roadblocks to getting folks back to work and starting to lift the crippling debt burden off our shoulders, Congress can help us create jobs and make sure Greater Arizonans get a chance to succeed in 2010. That is a goal worthy of District One.