There appears to be no shortage of complaints about how our state government operates. There also appears to be no shortage of divisive and cantankerous debates about how to fix it.
As Arizona nears its 100th birthday, we find ourselves divided, polarized and in desperate need of a government system that will serve us well for the next 100 years.
Arizona is at a crossroads. It is a far different place now than when the state Constitution was first adopted. Many of the structures put in place at statehood were based on a population of 200,000 and an economy based almost solely on copper, cattle, cotton and citrus.
The limits of these governmental structures became increasingly apparent as Arizona’s population exploded and the source of its economy shifted. From formal gatherings of state leaders to family-dinner conversations, the refrain has become the same: We need to change.
Determining what changes need to be made to such important items as term limits, publicly financed campaigns and the state Constitution are challenging topics at any time. They are especially challenging when, as now, bipartisanship and public discourse appear to have reached new lows.
This is why the Arizona Town Hall has decided on the topic: “Arizona’s Government: The Next 100 Years” when it convenes Nov. 7-10, just one week after the general election.
The 97th Arizona Town Hall will draw on the collective knowledge of approximately 150 Arizonans from across the state. Participants are carefully selected to represent all segments of the state and to represent a range of professional perspectives and political ideologies.
Their task: to envision the future of Arizona, consider the insight of experts and of each other, and then, most importantly, reach consensus on what can be done now to create the best state government for Arizona’s future.
Our task as fellow Arizonans is to carefully consider the suggestions and collective wisdom of the report generated by these participants, to put aside our own partisan and special interests, and to come together to support a government structure based not on the Arizona of the past, but on the Arizona of the future.
— Tara Jackson is president of Arizona Town Hall
— Bruce Dusenberry is board chair of Arizona Town Hall