Thursday, January 18, 2018

Rep. Friese's floor speech re: Amazon

Rep. Friese's speech as prepared:

Earlier this week Arizona received some disappointing news:
Education Week released its Quality Counts 2018 report card and Arizona again ranked at near bottom for education funding (45th).

Today Arizona got more disappointing news:
Amazon released its list of top 20 contenders for its new headquarters –
AZ/Phoenix didn’t make the cut; Not even in the top 20.

From what I understand, the Arizona Commerce Authority and organizations like the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) put forward a very credible proposal.

What was Amazon looking for?
Amazon was looking for an "international hub with strong educational institutions and high quality of life that can support 50,00 future jobholders and a $5 billion construction investment."

Amazon was looking for a "culture fit" and a "community where people WANT to live"
Particularly where the job holders want to live
          A community with
Diversity, strong education system, sound and evolving infrastructure and a focus on public safety.

Arizona should be on that list. We have all the potential in the world
So, why aren’t we on that list?
We aren't because we have a crisis of leadership and a discordance of vision between Arizonans and their leaders.

As a state, our commitment to education, healthcare, public safety and equality is lacking as evidenced in the policies passed in the recent years.
·       Policies that inadequately fund our public schools
·       Policies that divert public money/tax revenue from our public schools to religious and private schools
·       Policies that disrespect a women's right to make her own healthcare decisions
·       Policies that restrict participation in our democratic process by making it harder to vote rather than easier
·       Policies that disregard those families in need by making it harder to receive services
·       Policies that restrict access to quality healthcare for Arizona children and childless adults
·       Policies that favor the shareholder over the job holder

As long as we are satisfied with this limited vision, Arizona will not be a place where companies like Amazon build their headquarters.

I'm not satisfied. My constituents are not satisfied.

Unlike most people in Arizona, as state representatives we have the means and responsibility to change our state's reputation and the course of our future.

But do we have the will?
If we work together and show some leadership, we can do it.
This is our wake-up call,

So, let's wake up.

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