Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gov. Jan Brewer for all?; AZ House happenings

With Napolitano in Washington, Jan Brewer (right) is now AZ governor.

PHOENIX -- As a State Representative from Tucson, I participated today along with many others in the inauguration of Jan Brewer as Arizona's 22nd governor.

I sat in the front row in the legislator section, but had a tough time seeing at first due to the sun blasting in my eyes. I forgot my sunglasses and had to squint hard for a time. The sun was almost hot for a while, at 3pm in January, in warm central AZ. Eventually, the sun dipped behind the Capitol building and glare and heat eased.

The new governor mentioned serving 'all Arizonans', and I hope she keeps that promise by working with the many Democrats in the legislature who represent millions of people. She and the GOP leaders in the legislature would largely ignore Tucson and Pima County if the Dems are not closely involved in the budget and other issues, since we represent the majority of people in southern Arizona.

I wish Gov. Brewer well and will reserve judgment on her until we see what she does in her new office. I and other Dems are ready to work with her to find fair solutions to Arizona's economic and other troubles.

The people want the positive spirit surrounding the new Obama era to have a positive effect on Arizona state politics, and Gov. Brewer could capture and use that energy if she wants to.

I had my first meeting of the Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee today. We heard from commanders of all major military installations in Arizona, including Davis-Monthan Air Force base in my district 29. An issue I've long worked on, encroachment from urban sprawl, was a major concern of the military.

Army Major Ireland from Yuma Proving Ground said reported controversial plans to expand the range by as much as 500,000 acres on to BLM public lands was 'on hold'.

I appreciate that I am hearing strong opposition from many constituents and people statewide to the proposed education cuts in the budget options presented last Thursday by the Republican appropriations chairmen. As I made clear last week, I do not support these cuts, and will do everything I can to protect education funding.

So far, serving in the House has been a fascinating privilege and honor.

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