Pictured from left to right: Pinal Partnership President/CEO Tony Smith, Rose Law Group President/Founder Jordan Rose, Senator T.J. Shope and Representative David Cook.
By Madelaine Braggs | Rose Law Group Reporter
Representative David Cook (R) and Senator T.J. Shope (R) say they’re working across chambers to make sure Pinal County is getting equal attention in the state legislature.
Pinal Partnership hosted an event Friday at the Windmill Winery in Florence, inviting the Arizona lawmakers to give the community an update on local legislature. Representative Cook and Senator Shope were interviewed by Rose Law Group and founder and president Jordan Rose, where they discussed top priorities like water, transportation infrastructure, legalized sports betting and education.
“Water is the #1 question developers have when coming to Pinal County.” – Rep. David Cook
Cook says it evened the playing field to get Governor Doug Ducey to sign a bill giving Pinal County a better grip on the water situation. He says many people don’t realize how much the water issues were moving development projects down their timeline and the solution was almost held up in the House by one vote, until they got on the phone for hours to turn that nay into a yay.
For a time, when developers had to make changes or redo a plat, the Department of Water Resources would automatically move them to the back of the line for approval. But Cook and Shope worked to change that with a measure that made Pinal County the only place in Arizona where a development project wouldn’t lose its place in line if the adjustments meant there would be less water usage. Cook says once other counties realized that was happening in Pinal, they advocated for the same regulation changes across Arizona, which were supported by the governor.
$ports betting legalized in AZ
Senator Shope and Representative Cook believe their efforts behind the recently passed sports betting bill could be the jumpstart to Arizona’s economy needed to bounce back from the pandemic. They’re projecting hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the state, 60% of which would be coming from out of state spending. He says for Arizona, it’ll now be as easy as having a smart phone to get in on the sports waging industry.
“It was a huge bill and a huge achievement bringing gaming off the reservations and with support of the tribes. These bills are opening avenues for Arizona that makes the state more attractive to tourism.” – Rep. David Cook
Bills in the works
One unique legislative focus for Shope is boosting early childhood literacy, especially in children before 3rd grade. “It’s proven that a child being able to read by third grade is crucial to success through the rest of their lives,” he said. After ten years of talking about it, Shope says he’s also happy to finally see the money to work on expanding the I-10 as new economic corridors are built around the state’s main transportation highway. Cook also shared his excitement for a healthcare bill that was signed by the Governor, making for a more efficient process in discharging patients. Next, they’ll be focusing on debt reduction and “paying [Pinal’s] bills.”
The tale of two chambers
As Jordan Rose noted, Pinal County has two very passionate gentlemen with profound ideas representing the community. Shope says, “It’s worked out even better with us in opposite chambers, being able to text each other across the aisle and work together on what bills need to get passed.”