My family moved to Arizona when I was thirteen because Arizona represented opportunity to America. As one of the youngest states, we invent our identity every day. This gives us the opportunity to bring each other in and fight for a better tomorrow, but it can only happen if we work together.
When my family was displaced by the 2008 housing crash, I was part of an Arizona where circumstances led to the odds being stacked against everyday Arizonans. While Arizona’s government bragged about low corporate taxes, the people were left burdened with the costs of the wealthy not paying their fair share.
Since then, education standards have declined. Arizona is fiftieth in the nation for teacher pay, ensuring that our children are starting out on unequal footing. Opportunity exists for some, but not nearly for all Arizonans.
We choose who we are as a state. Failing our children is a choice. I know that we can do better.
We need to work together to ensure that opportunity is available to every Arizonan, regardless of their zip code or identity. We can start by leveraging our strong higher education system, built on community colleges, to continue giving every Arizonan access to a high-quality education. But we can’t celebrate our successes in higher education while K-12 schools are unable to afford basic necessities like building maintenance, textbooks, and full-time special education staff.
We must move beyond basic access. We must defend our public goods like education. Whether that includes expanding inclusive infrastructure and investing in public transit or keeping Arizonans healthy enough to enjoy our state, we owe it to each other to ensure we’re all living the Arizonan dream.
To do that, we’re going to need trust. We’re going to need unity. We’re going to need to believe that all Arizonans deserve dignity. If that’s not us now, then that’s who we’re going to invent ourselves as tomorrow.
State forty-eight built itself in a place others said we couldn’t. We proved them wrong. Tomorrow, we won’t just build more. We will build ourselves stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive.
#TogetherWeCan ensure Opportunities for All.