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Updated Mar 12, 2014 - 12:55 pm

Political analyst sees economic recovery of Arizona as Gov. Brewer's top achievement

PHOENIX -- With Wednesday's announcement that she will not seek a third term in office, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Valley political observer said history will be kind to her.

Conservative analyst Stan Barnes said Brewer will go down as one of the most successful politicians in Arizona history.

Brewer will forever be linked to signing Arizona's tough anti-illegal immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, but Barnes said her signature accomplishment was guiding the state's economy back after the recession.

"She took over at the worst possible time when it came to the budget and she did whatever it took to bring Arizona out of this mess," Barnes said. "Without her in that spot, it would have been much different. No, she didn't do it all by herself but she provided leadership that came from nowhere else."

Barnes said after taking over from former Gov. Janet Napolitano in 2009, Brewer asked the legislature for a billion dollar tax increase and that took courage on a Republican scale not seen for many years.

"Eventually she won her battles with the legislature and history will treat her well because the state did well," Barnes said.

Brewer's former campaign manager, Doug Cole, echoed Barnes' sentiments.

"She inherited the biggest budget deficit in the United States that she took over and turned around," he said. "That is no small feat."

Cole also said Brewer should be remembered for her work on education and mental health.

KTAR's Bob McClay contributed to this report.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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