The Arizona We Want 2.0: The Case for Action Outlines Leader and
Citizen-Driven Goals, Provides Roadmap for State’s Future

PHOENIX — According to The Arizona We Want 2.0: The Case For Action, the state’s rapid transformation requires “a fresh, bold restatement of who we are and how we respond to the road ahead.” Dr. Lattie Coor, chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona, presented the report at an event held this morning.

Using the citizen voice captured by the 2009 Gallup Arizona Poll, the new report revisits goals for Education, Job Creation, Environment and Water, Young Talent, Civic Engagement and Community Involvement.

Results from the 2012 Arizona Civic Health Index, the nation’s leading gauge of how well Americans connect to one another and to their communities, and a five-year snapshot of Arizona from the national Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index are also included.

“We’ve learned that Arizonans are highly attracted to their communities as a ‘place’ to live, but only 12% believe the people in their community care about one another. Only 10% believe that elected officials represent their interests,” Coor said.

“Citizens also agree on a broad range of issues and have high expectations,” he said. “Education is the key driver of Arizona’s economy. We have high educational aspirations, yet low investment and performance. We recognize the need for a diverse, balanced economy that will yield a larger number of high paying jobs, yet population growth and housing remain our dominant economic identity.

“We will be one of the first states in the nation in which our ‘minority’ population will be the majority, yet we are not adequately educating the younger members of our new majority for success in the economy of the future.”

The Arizona We Want 2.0 presents a new model for change fueled by leader and citizen-driven goals.

Based upon three years of Civic Health data and numerous other sources, education is essential to civic health and job growth. Citizens want high school students who graduate ready for college and careers. In the 2009 Gallup Poll, only 19% rated their community highly for the quality of its public schools.

Major improvement in Arizona education is on the horizon with the full implementation of the Common Core Standards along with a more rigorous set of assessments by 2014-15. The report calls for adequate funding for these steps as well as a substantial increase in the number of Arizonans receiving college degrees and certificate-based job training over the next 10 years. The goal is to prepare Arizonans of all ages for the 21st Century workforce.

Citizens want increased job opportunities for Arizonans of all ages. In the Gallup Arizona Poll, 96% of Arizonans did not rate their community highly for economic conditions.

While the job creation and employment picture has brightened since the low Arizona experienced in 2009, The Arizona We Want 2.0 calls for creating 75,000 new jobs and increasing average wages 30% higher than the existing county wages. Also included is strengthening businesses that earn at least 75% of their revenue from exports and increasing research and development spending by $5 billion annually.

In the Gallup Arizona Poll, Arizonans rated the state’s natural beauty, outdoor parks and trails as its greatest assets. On the environment, the report recommends thinning an additional 30,000 acres of Arizona forests annually, creating 300 new jobs. It also recommends that at least 600,000 acres of State Trust Land be preserved for open space.

In regard to water, it calls for at least three new regional and community plans to ensure sustainable use and urges Arizona to establish itself as the nation’s leader in water conservation and usage with the full understanding and support of Arizona citizens.

On infrastructure, the report supports municipal efforts to upgrade streets, water and sewage treatment facilities and public transportation. It also supports partnerships that deliver sufficient high-speed digital capacity to meet the needs of all Arizonans, urban and rural. On healthcare, it calls for providing health insurance for all, with payment assistance for those who need it.

For the citizen-driven goals, the vision is to make Arizona ‘the place to be’ for young talent, to empower citizens and increase civic engagement and to foster citizen well-being and sense of connection to one another.

“Having worked with individuals and organizations throughout the state in preparing this report, we believe key leverage points for action are now ready for implementation,” Coor said. “We all have a vested interest, and success will be contingent upon our collective efforts.”

Support for The Arizona We Want 2.0 research was provided by SCF Arizona, National Bank of Arizona and Arizona State University.
The Arizona We Want 2.0 report is available at Citizens are encouraged to take the Arizona Civic Health Index survey on the website.