Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano dined at café MCC on Jan. 17, as the college hosted the “2008 Annual Breakfast with the Governor” in the Navajo Room. The event was co-hosted by the East Valley Partnership and the East Valley Chamber of Commerce Alliance.Napolitano reiterated much of what she said in her State of the State address on Jan. 14, as she spoke to over 300 East Valley business and education leaders with optimism about Arizona’s progress.
“The state of Arizona is fundamentally sound,” Napolitano said.
Bettering higher education was the primary focus of the governor’s discussion just as it had been three nights earlier. Napolitano has proposed several key plans to help reach a goal of doubling the number of bachelor’s degrees given in Arizona by the year 2020.
The first plan is to lock college tuition rates starting in a student’s freshmen year. Napolitano said doing so will help families plan better for education.
The governor also spoke on her proposed Centennial Scholars program. The program would allow students entering high school in the fall to sign a contract saying they will maintain a B average and stay out of trouble. If the students fulfill the contract they would receive free tuition to any Arizona state college or university.
Napolitano also addressed the state’s budget problems saying much of Arizona’s budget troubles have to do with its reliance on the residential housing industry.
“We are trying to grow and diversify the Arizona economy,” Napolitano said.
She briefly spoke on Arizona’s need to lower its energy consumption.
“There is no reason Arizona should not be the Persian Gulf of solar power,” the governor said.
Among other topics discussed were the needs to continue to fund anti-terrorism, anti-gang, and anti-fraud efforts across the state. Napolitano also pointed to the federal government in failing to do their part to improve illegal immigration problems saying Arizona has had to “fill in the gaps” where federal government has fallen short.
“We need a firm and fair immigration law,” she said.
Napolitano’s stop in the East Valley was part of a whirlwind, week-long tour around the state to speak about her State of the State address and receive feedback from citizens across Arizona.
The governor also refuted recent rumors that she would be a running mate of Sen. Barack Obama if he were to receive the Democratic nomination.