Much was said last week regarding the record Representative (Brenda) Barton and I have for having fought to secure the future of the Payson campus of Arizona State University. I cannot bring myself to understand how such an inaccurate portrayal of the facts was made to the good people of the Rim Country communities.
Arizona currently suffers from an ailment which is more present in Gila County than in any other (county) of our state —the lack of privately held and state-owned land. Of all of Arizona’s 15 counties, Gila County contains only 1 to 4 percent of privately owned land,
leaving the rest in the hands of the federal government. In the two short years Rep. Barton and I have been serving the people of Payson, we have continually addressed this issue with our legislative colleagues, which culminated in the creation of Proposition 120.
This proposition will restore Arizona’s sovereignty over the land within our borders that is currently run by the federal government. If passed, the state would have the ability to take advantage of the areas surrounding the town of Payson and more effectively determine the future of the ASU expansion as well as the job-generating resources currently held by federally mismanaged agencies.
The federal government and their local Democrat allies have endangered the future prosperity of the communities of Northern Arizona with gross mismanagement of our forests allowing more than 2 million acres of forests to burn and policies that show indifference to the health and prosperity of our rural communities. By highlighting these inadequacies, Rep. Barton and I have shown that the issues challenging Rim Country communities, if left unresolved, will have detrimental effects statewide.
I am proud of the legislative work we have accomplished and of the attention we have focused on the economic and environmental concerns that are most immediately felt by Rim Country communities. The irresponsible and inept federal mismanagement of Arizona’s resources have hurt our communities long enough.
The people of the sixth legislative district will now have the choice of electing legislators that will either drive policies that will create jobs and enhance the prosperity of their communities or continue the destructive policies that have endangered the natural wealth and beauty our state is entitled to enjoy.