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Arizona faces future with specific ideas for economic growth

PHOENIX -- Over the next six years, Arizona leaders hope to lead the nation in aerospace, biotechnology, and international trade.

To get there, Gov. Jan Brewer said Arizona needs to keep its focus.

Six years ago, the state was heading into the housing crisis with home values falling, unemployment creeping toward a record high, the state budget hemorrhaging, and classrooms taking a $130 million hit.

"We took a dive because the economy across the world kind of dumped," she said. "We had some bad practices managing our resources."

Brewer was Secretary of State at the time and remembered lawmakers were on a spending spree.

"And, when the economy turned on us and the housing market went south, we were worse off than any other state in the country, per capita. So, we had to come in and make Arizona competitive again."

Upon her swearing-in, Brewer said she went to work.

"I had to cut the budget, I had to do tax reform and create jobs. That's what we have done."

Four years later, housing numbers have ricocheted, construction is on track, and Governor Brewer said global economies, like India's, are noticing.

"They were so impressed with what we've been able to do here in the state of Arizona. We were business friendly and very understanding of what it takes to get businesses to come here."

She didn't do it alone. She went there with Arizona's Commerce Authority, once a foundering agency, now guided by business visionaries such as Jerry Colangelo.

While the economy was tanking, Colangelo was being hailed into the Phoenix Suns' Ring of Honor by the legendary team broadcaster Al McCoy.

"In (Colangelo's) 39-year career, he's had a lot of roles: general manager, coach, managing general partner, chief executive officer ..." he read on for several more lines.

When the governor asked Colangelo to join the group it took a 180-degree turn.

"We privatized it," he said. "We became a board of business leaders in the community, who had, I would say, a better grasp than politicians about how to run a business and promote a business."

But, he said none of it will make a difference if we forget to invest in Arizona's most important resource: "Education, so our young people are better prepared to chase the challenges of the future."

Brewer said, "The bottom line is we've got to continue to keep our budget in line. We have to make sure that we have a highly skilled workforce because we're moving into aerospace and high technology. And, if we can do that, the jobs will come."

About the Author

Holliday Moore is a Phoenix native with more than 25 years experience in the local and national broadcast and media industry. A graduate of ASU's journalism program, with a second major in Marketing & Management, she considers herself one of the lucky few to be doing exactly what she loves, writing and producing news.

In 2012, she won a prestigious Edward R. Murrow award for a light feature radio story on snakes. For the record, snakes do not say much! She is also honored to be one of two nominees this year for a Mark Twain Award involving her series on Arizona drowning cases.

Among her career accomplishments, Moore has taken home a television Emmy for Cultural Issues Reporting on the Navajo/Hopi Partition Land Act. She has also won numerous Emmy nominations for hard, soft and even sports reporting. However, Moore considers her highest achievement was on the day she received the prestigious Walter Cronkite Political Excellence Award for developing the Scripps Television stations' Democracy 2000 & 2002 program. Bob Morford, ABC 15's News Director at the time, asked Moore to head the project with one wish, "Try not to lose ratings," he said. "We not only did not lose ratings," says Moore, "We actually improved ratings between the coveted 5:00-6:30pm news block."

"She created, designed and executed the award winning program," recalls Morford, "Her efforts brought a great deal of notice and credit to our station."

Moore loves a challenge and is an adrenaline junky by nature. She ran 400 hurdles in college and more recently half marathons to raise thousands of dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She works part time for KTAR Radio while volunteering for her young son's elementary school and running a freelance media services business.


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