Governor Doug Ducey
Today, February 14, is Arizona’s birthday. The number-one best state in the U.S. for people to live, work, and play — and it’s only getting better
So, to celebrate, I want to share seven reasons that Arizona is unique and beautiful to me and to the nearly seven million people who live here —
1. We Embrace The 21st Century Economy. Some states and cities did everything they could to stop new and exciting companies from operating: restraining orders, lawsuits, you name it. Arizona? We embrace innovation. One of my first actions as governor was to allow ride-sharing services throughout the state — encouraging companies like Uber and Lyft that offer Arizonans a safe and reliable means of transportation to expand.
Soon after, Uber opened a Center of Excellence in Phoenix that is set to employ several hundred people over the next few years while delivering support services to riders and drivers in cities around the world. You can now hail an Uber anywhere in Arizona, including at Sky Harbor International Airport, and the company’s economic partnership with the University of Arizona is promising to deliver strong results related to the research and development of new technology.
And, only a few weeks ago, Uber relocated its self-driving vehicle programfrom California to Arizona — putting our state on the map of the future.
2. The Weather And Climate Are Unbeatable. The long-running joke is that, even when it’s hotter than can be outside, the weather is still “120° and beautiful.” Our climate is one of the five C’s of Arizona’s economy, the others being copper, cattle, cotton, and citrus.
It doesn’t get any better than 300 days of sunshine per year, and the breathtaking sunsets, mountain trails, and dry heat to go with it attract visitors (“future residents”) year-round. Around every corner, and every moment of the day, there’s a “Wow” moment waiting to stun you.
3. We Pursue Nothing Less Than Educational Excellence When Investing In Our Children. Arizona is home to three of the top ten public high schools in the nation. And Arizona has one of the most comprehensive school choice programs in the United States because we agree that parents have a right to choose the best schools for their children regardless of what zip code they live in.
Our universities and educational institutions are top notch. Arizona State University was named the most innovative university in country for the second year in a row. The University of Arizona is a leader in optics research. And Northern Arizona University is known for producing some of the top teachers in America.
The Executive Budget for fiscal year 2018 increases our investment in education, with a focus on our kids in the lowest-income neighborhoods, and provides signing bonuses for educators who commit to teaching in low-income schools — all without raising taxes. That’s what responsible fiscal choices over the past two years have allowed us to do while keeping our promise to taxpayers.
4. Avocados, Anyone? The food scene in Arizona is unparalleled. Mexican plates, American plates, and more — we have it all. Food trucks, just like Uber, are welcome in Arizona. And you can’t leave without testing out the craft beer industry. In early 2015, I signed legislation to reform an outdated law that was stifling craft brewers and hurting jobs. Four Peaks Brewing Company is a testament to what can happen when businesses are allowed to flourish. (See Four Peaks’ story here.)
Love to ski? Check out Flagstaff. Traveling to Tucson? Go a few miles south and experience a burgeoning wine country in Sonoita.
5. New Businesses And Jobs Are Flocking To Arizona. If there’s one hash tag that describes our state, it’s #OpenForBusiness. Over the past few years, Arizona has seen significant economic gains — including dozens of businesses expanding or relocating from neighboring California alone. In just the last two years, we’ve seen more than 100,000 new private sector jobs land in our state. That’s because we offer businesses a steady, common-sense regulatory environment and tax policies that reward hard work and success.
Apple announced a major $2 billion expansion, one of the largest investments in the company’s history. Google launched a self-driving vehicle program, explaining that “Arizona is known as a place where research and development is welcome, innovation can thrive, and companies can set up roots.” Lucid Motors selected our state for its electric car manufacturing operation, expected to bring more than 2,000 new jobs and $700 million in capital investment to the region by 2022.
These are only three of the many companies expanding in Arizona because of the opportunities our economy provides.
6. We Embrace Outsiders. Between 60 and 70 percent of Arizonans are from somewhere else — including me. I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, and came to Arizona for college. There’s no good old boys club or dynasties here. In Arizona, you can write your own tickets. As our first governor, George Hunt, once said — all you need to grit, will and determination. The opportunities are boundless for newcomers.
7. We’re Strengthening Our Relationship With Leaders In Mexico. Solidifying Arizona’s reputation in the world as an incredible destination to live, work, and play means going out of our way to strengthen our relationship with our state’s largest international trading partner: Mexico.
In June 2015, I completed the first Arizona governor-led trade mission to Mexico City in nearly a decade. The Arizona Republic’s editorial board praised the trip as having “opened doors” to a relationship that has “long brought economic benefits on both sides of our international border.”
I have met with Sonora Governor Claudia Pavlovich and Mexican business leaders on several occasions to discuss how the United States and Mexico can cultivate a thriving economic partnership in the coming years, and I will continue to meet with other leaders in the country to do the same.
These are only 7 reasons Arizona is a great place to live and work — in reality, the reasons are countless. So I encourage everyone to purchase a plane ticket, hail an Uber, and visit Arizona whenever you can.
Be warned, though: The next thing you might be doing is loading up a U-Haul truck.
Happy birthday, Arizona!
Doug Ducey is the governor of Arizona, currently serving in his third year in office.