There’s no need to look at a calendar. Fitness centers have reached maximum capacity, politicians are boasting about their plans for a productive term, and a collective new-year-new-me mindset has stirred the customary seasonal hustle and bustle.
Yes, it is January, which promises New Year’s resolutions and hopefulness for the future.
At a recent event hosted by the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, members met newly elected officials from across Arizona and heard the primary goals and strategies for their terms and for the new year.
Prior to inviting the on-hand politicians to the front of the room, Rick Heumann from the chamber’s board of directors joked:
“This is the hardest thing for any elected official: talk about just one or maybe two key issues you’re going to focus on this year.”
The audience took a collective deep breath, anticipating lengthy pep talks from each of the 50 or so politicians waiting for their chance to speak.
Among them were Chandler’s newly elected mayor, Kevin Hartke; Arizona’s new superintendent of public instruction, Kathy Hoffman; and Sean Bowie who will continue to serve LD18 in the Arizona Senate.
A leading manager of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also gave a presentation on the current climate in Washington, D.C., and how it relates to businesses in Chandler.
According to the U.S. chamber’s expectations , Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally are two of the most business-friendly senators in their respective political parties. This, chamber planners expect, could help Arizona continue to thrive in an increasingly turbulent business climate.
Among other primary issues that were addressed by each official, tax policy clearly divided the room due to the controversy it brings between Democrats and Republicans, who typically have opposing views on the matter.
J.D. Mesnard, elected as state senator for LD17 and a member of the State Finance Committee, spoke plainly regarding the tax policy in Arizona.
“We have a $1.1 billion surplus—$1.1 billion. I don’t know why we would take more of your money when we have a $1.1 billion surplus.”
Mitzi Epstein, re-elected state representative in LD18, opposed this view, saying the surplus is not over the debt and the responsibilities of the city, which include restructuring bridges and funding public education.
In addition to the introduction of each newly elected official, the chamber unveiled its 2019 edition of “How We Stand,” which serves as a guide for legislative and political issues in the city.
The booklet received a national Award of Excellence from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives in 2018, and can be found online at chandlerchamber.com.