by Lattie F. Coor, chairman and CEO, Center for the Future of Arizona
Based upon the Gallup Arizona Poll, The Arizona We Want 2.0: The Case for Action identifies eight citizen goals and provides a road map for achieving them. I urge all of us to take advantage of this very clear picture of what Arizonans want for the future by focusing the upcoming election on these goals. Consider:
• Arizonans want us to graduate our high school students college and/or career ready, and measure them by national/international standards;
• We want increased job opportunities and job training for Arizonans of all ages;
• We want health insurance for all Arizonans with payment assistance for those who need it;
• We want water management plans for all regions of the state and to balance population growth with preserving open spaces;
• We want new highways and roads to reduce congestion, and mass transit systems that connect communities throughout our urban areas;
• We want to retain our young people, develop a deeper sense of community connection and increased citizen participation in all aspects of citizenship.
We also know from the Gallup Arizona Poll that Arizonans agree on more than they disagree on the major issues, yet only 10 percent of Arizonans believe their elected officials represent their interests. To correct serious dysfunction between elected officials and their constituents, I propose three ways we can all make a difference.
1) Ensure the candidates are speaking to the issues of importance to you:
A good place to start is by insisting that gubernatorial and legislative candidates in this election speak clearly about their plans for achieving the citizen goals if elected. Gubernatorial candidates, above all, are in a position to make the 2014 election one that is based on the future Arizonans’ want.
As the 2014 campaign unfolds, participate in any and all events you can where candidates will be speaking, ensuring they address the key issues of The Arizona We Want that are important to you.
2) Vote in this election, especially the primary on Aug. 26:
Beyond being informed about the views of the gubernatorial and other candidates, the second action you can take to ensure that the 2014 election is a defining moment in Arizona’s future is to register and vote, especially in the primary.
This year’s primary includes a large number of candidates for gubernatorial, legislative and congressional races. In many cases, the results of the primary will determine the results of the general election in November. If more Arizonans participate in the primary on Aug. 26, we can begin to reverse the belief among Arizonans that their votes don’t “count.” The only way to provide Arizonans with both “voice” and accountability is to increase voter participation, especially in the primary.
A special note to Independents: You are now the largest voting bloc in the state. But only
10 percent of you make your views known in the primary. Please take steps to vote in the primary by going to The Arizona We Want website at http://www.thearizonawewant.org/vote/. Because you request a Republican or Democrat ballot does not mean you change your current party registration.
3) Join the AZ Advocates:
AZ Advocates is a new initiative led by The Arizona We Want Institute in collaboration with nearly 100 partner organizations statewide that are committed to achieving the goals of Arizona citizens as displayed in The Arizona We Want report.
AZ Advocates consists of:
• Partner organizations in all sectors that agree to promote citizen goals among constituents as they speak with candidates for public office who seek their support.
• Individual citizen leaders statewide who agree to mobilize their personal, professional and volunteer networks to focus public attention on the citizen goals they champion.
I invite you to become an AZ Advocate by visiting TheArizonaWeWant.org/AZAdvocates.
We have a clear picture of what Arizonans want for our future. Each of us has a part to play, beginning with the 2014 election, to ensure that we and our elected official are all working together to make that future happen. Please do your part by getting out to vote and supporting citizen-driven goals that are most important to you.