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86th Arizona Town Hall
Arizona as a Border State - Competing in the Global Economy
Jun. 12 - 15, 2005

It is vitally important for Arizona to determine what needs to be done to develop the business climate, the infrastructure and other necessities to become a major player in the rapidly expanding global economy. Following are just a few of the major recommendations from the 86th Arizona Town Hall that could be instrumental in assuring that Arizona reaches its desired position in the global economy, as well as in achieving a better understanding of the impacts and challenges that face us as a border state.

  • There is significant misinformation regarding border issues and uncontrolled migration. Efforts should be made to analyze, clarify and publicize the issues to enable meaningful discussion of associated costs
  • Arizona must create, maintain and promote the availability of a database on relevant issues, such as trade, transportation, tourism, and the economy generally, in order to evaluate and establish Arizona's international development objectives and economic goals.
  • Arizona's government lacks an effective and cohesive approach to border issues. Town Hall recommends that the governor's office organize a task force… to coordinate and take the lead in joint initiatives between the private sector and state agencies working on border and global issues affecting Arizona. The governor also should organize an economic summit to promote international trade with a focus on identifying and attracting specific potential trade partners.
  • Town Hall supports a guest worker program, but only in conjunction with strict enforcement of immigration laws as a means to supply demand for foreign labor, as well as to address the problems and costs associated with current immigration policy.
  • It is vital that both state and federal lawmakers work together to address border issues. Until Arizona is seen to speak with one voice, the effectiveness of its efforts to address these issues will be impaired and ineffective.
  • Arizona leaders should initiate an effort to form a southwestern border states caucus that would work… augment border states' influence in Congress and their ability to get legislation passed.
  • Arizona should confer with trade organizations from other border states and consider the benefit of forming similar agencies in Arizona.
  • Arizona needs to develop the state's commercial transportation and border crossing infrastructure.
  • Arizona should reform its primary and secondary school curricula… with a view to creating a fully multi-cultural and multi-lingual workforce to support international trade.
  • Arizona should collaborate with Sonora and the private sector to develop the Port of Guaymas and thus provide a seaport to this land-locked state.

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