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Partisanship and misplaced priorities are holding Arizona back

Fred DuVal

Fred DuVal (Photo from Facebook)

Arizona worked better when I grew up here and got my start. The Babbitt-Barr era was one of the most productive periods in Arizona’s history, but there was no secret to our success — we set big goals and worked together.

Arizona can work again, but it will require leaders committed to solving problems, not playing politics.

At no point has our need for new leadership been more apparent than last week when the Legislature closed up shop without acting on child protection, K-12 education, or ethics.

If you asked every legislator on day one what the priority of this year’s legislative session should be, you would have heard a common refrain: fixing CPS.

Governor Brewer started that process off right by eliminating CPS and ordering the creation of a new agency dedicated to child welfare.

Unfortunately, the Legislature skipped town and left Arizona’s vulnerable children with an I.O.U.

What’s worse, the budget included no additional resources for preventive services. These programs help working parents afford quality child care while they’re at work, and they help keep kids out of the CPS system. Preventive services save money in the long term; they’re a no-brainer.

That’s not the only area where the Legislature has been on a cutting spree. Reducing spending was necessary due to declining revenues, but the cuts left our already underserved schools in a state of starvation.

Revenues have rebounded, but our schools — and our kids — are still waiting for reinvestments in K-12 education that will reduce class sizes and give our kids a head start on the skills they need to get the jobs of the future.

And despite story after story about the culture of corruption at our state Capitol, politicians are still getting free tickets to sporting events, free meals and flights from lobbyists. Unbelievably, Arizona is still one of the only states without an independent ethics commission.

That’s got to change.

Arizonans deserve to know that their elected officials are honest, ethical, and good stewards of their tax dollars. That’s not partisan — and ethics reform shouldn’t be either.

Recently, Arizona has felt like it is stuck in a cycle of ideological excess and missed opportunity. We face too many real problems to spend our time enabling discrimination or debating the merits of Cliven Bundy.

I’m running for governor to change that.

To move Arizona forward, we’ll need leaders with a vision for our future that values centrism, collaboration, and problem-solving over partisanship.

That’s what I’ve done for three decades. And it’s what I will do as governor.

It’s not going to be easy, but I know that our best days are still ahead of us.

— Fred DuVal served as chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents and most recently was vice president of Clean Energy Fuels. He is a Democrat running for Arizona governor.


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