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The Arizona We Want 2.0

The Arizona We Want 2.0

The Arizona We Want 2.0: The Case for Action

(reprinted from Az Republic, Jan. 19, 2013)

​Lattie F. Coor, Chairman and CEO

​Center for the Future of Arizona

Capturing a complete and accurate picture of Arizona is a difficult task for, in reality, we are a state of contrasts.  We have vast, beautiful open spaces and yet we’re one of the most urban states in America. We have a significant number of senior citizens yet we also have one of the youngest populations in the nation.

So, too, are we a state of contrasts in our social and political endeavors.  We have high educational aspirations, yet low investment and performance. We recognize the need for a diverse, balanced economy that will yield a larger number of high paying jobs, yet population growth and housing remain our dominant economic identity. We will be one of the first states in the nation in which our “minority” population will be the majority, yet we are not adequately educating the younger members of our new majority for success in the economy of the future.

How do we turn our contrasts into strengths as we chart a clear and coherent way forward? In The Arizona We Want 2.0, a new report our Center is releasing this week, we are presenting a roadmap that will enable us as Arizonans to sort through the elements of the future we want for ourselves and the state in order to direct our collective activities in a more coherent manner.  Building on the insights gained from The Gallup Arizona Poll in 2009, and the vast array of meetings, discussions and activities that have occurred since the release of the original Arizona We Want report, the 2.0 report turns now to presenting very specific next steps we can take to move us toward that desired future.  Those specific steps are organized around the 8 goals expressed by Citizens in the original report.  Five of the goals – Education, Job Creation, Environment and Water, Infrastructure and Health Care — are leader driven requiring the collective action of leaders around the state.  Three of the goals – Young Talent, Civic Engagement and Community Involvement – are citizen driven, requiring individual and collective action of citizens everywhere.

Making significant improvements in education and the economy are at the heart of the action plan presented by the report.  “Fix Education – Fix the Economy” is the way the recent Morrison Institute report entitled Dropped put it.

Fortunately, major improvement in Arizona education is on the horizon with the full implementation of the Common Core Standards in the coming school year along with a more rigorous set of assessments, called PARCC, year after next.  The 2.0 report calls for adequate funding for these steps as well as a substantial increase in the number of Arizonans receiving college degrees and certificate-based job training over the next 10 years.  The recommendations not only tie education funding to student, teacher and school performance but also, seek to ensure that quality education is provided to all students regardless of socio-economic status.

Similarly, for job creation, the report not only calls for a significant increase in new jobs, 75,000, but also recommends focusing on jobs that will increase the average wage over time by 30% county by county. There is also an emphasis on strengthening and/or recruiting businesses that export at least 75% of their product, as well as a challenge to move our research and development expenditures into a ranking among the top 10 states.

Highlights of the remaining 6 goals of The Arizona We Want 2.0 include recommendations for the Environment and Water that 30,000 acres a year be thinned from our National Forests to reduce the fire danger and that at least 600,000 acres of State Trust Land be preserved for open space use.  With respect to water, the report recommends the adoption of at least three new regional and community plans to ensure sustainable uses of water and it also urges Arizona to establish itself as the nation’s leader in water conservation and usage. The goals for Infrastructure call for high speed broadband to be available throughout the state and for citizens to support local community commitments to upgrade streets, water and sewage treatment facilities and public transportation.  Health Care goals include a recommendation that we build upon the success of AHCCCS to provide coverage to more Arizonans, maximize federal dollars and that we develop a health workforce plan to meet Arizona’s future needs.

Since the Gallup Arizona Poll indicated that only 11% of our citizens thought Arizona was a good place for young college graduates, our report places major emphasis on recruiting and retaining talented young people.  It urges communities throughout the state to demonstrate that they value young people and recommends that we involve young people on boards and commissions and foster spaces and events that attract young talent

The final two goals of the report focus on civic engagement and community involvement and present the findings of the 2012 Arizona Civic Health Index report to guide the development of programs in each of those two areas.

Having worked with individuals and organizations throughout the state in preparing The Arizona We Want 2.0 report, we believe key leverage points for action are now ready for implementation.  We believe also that this is a critical moment for Arizona: we all have a vested interest in mobilizing around the citizens’ goals of the 2.0 report and aligning our efforts to achieve these goals. Success will be contingent on the collective effort of individuals and organizations throughout our state.  In light of the urgency and significance of this work, we have created The Arizona We Want Institute, chaired by Don Smith, President and CEO of SCF Arizona, to lead our part of the effort.  We strongly encourage individuals and organizations from across the state to join with us in forming alliances that will help us achieve the Arizona we want




  1. Harris Shirley says

    The author of this missive clearly has *never* truly lived in urban America when he says, “… and yet we’re one of the most urban states in America”

    Mr Lattie, that sir is Bravo Sierra.

  2. Personally, I think this is the type of clear, non-partisan vision we need for Arizona.

  3. But isn’t it refreshing to read that someone is pursuing some new ideas without blaming one or the other political party? The goals stated don’t seem attached to a political agenda and perhaps we can all hope for something productive to come of this.

    • Harris Shirley says

      Elaine these are not new ideas. The Left of Center crowd has been singing from this sheet music for many years now.

  4. Harris Shirley says

    WoW, Mr Lattie continues to demonstrate his dismal lack of knowledge of the matter in the second paragraph!

    Lets start here, “We have high educational aspirations, yet low investment and performance.” Per a 2009 study by Montana State University, Arizona ranks pretty much in the middle of all 50 states for educational performance. And for ” educational investment” the title given to us by our liberal friends is 48 out of 48 … a title claimed by the Democrats of no less than 6 other states! In point of fact, the Montana study found Arizona ranked 14th for “outcomes to investments”. In other words, the bang we get for our educational buck goes a long way.

    Furthermore an inflation adjusted review of Arizona’s educational spending from 1972 to 2012 shows that state spending has tripled while achievement scores have remained generally flat.

    As for his speaking for the “minority culture” he again demonstrates his lack of knowledge of that culture. In fact historically the males leave formal schooling to begin working and having families shortly after reaching their 16th or 17th birthday. That is the cultural pattern of a blue collar strata of society which is exactly what our “minority” culture is.

    That said, as with other minorities, it is usually the women who choose a path of higher education. This is the same as we see with the minority Mr Coor is speaking about.

    My question is: Mr Coor, how would you address these cultural differences to alleviate the issue you are so concerned about?

    And here is classic hubris of the Left, “… enable us as Arizonans to sort through the elements of the future we want for ourselves and the state” WE want Mr Coors or what your psudo think tank thinks we want?

    More liberal claptrap… “… that 30,000 acres a year be thinned from our National Forests to reduce the fire danger and that at least 600,000 acres of State Trust Land be preserved for open space use.”

    First of all 30,000 acres is a drop in the bucket and is the exactly number cited in the 4FRI which won’t be cutting any trees for at least another 48 months due to national red tape. As for more State Trust land for open space?

    Mr Coor are you crazy? Have you read the enabling act and do you know the purpose of State Trust Lands? In a state with a net of only 14% private property, the very last thing necessary is blocking off more lands from economic uses!

    I thought the management of this blog was conservative? This psudo report sure sounds like a RINO’s paradise and a Liberal’s utopia.

  5. I’m thoroughly impressed by Mr. Coor’s report. The goals he describes, from better education to sound infrastructure, are completely bipartisan. Now, let’s get to work and make it happen!

    • Harris Shirley says

      Garrett, do you always charge off without a solid plan to get where your vision seems to lead you?

      Much of what this report speaks about is already underway in Arizona, but that wouldn’t be as newsy as this report would it?

  6. I’ve always respected Dr. Coor’s vision

  7. A little ambitious, which is exactly what AZ needs

  8. Harris Shirley says

    Most of you would be amazed to know that most of this stuff has been underway for several years now. But you have to climb out of your favorite echo chamber to know that wouldn’t you?

    • Perhaps it’s because much of what he’s stating has gone awol in discussion and progress from our august leaders these past few years.
      And, hopefully, with the Tea Party supermajority gone, some semblance of sanity will creep back into said officials and these ideals will gain a re-birth.
      Then again, reading some of newly proposed legislation may not lend too much in the way of hope.

  9. Harris Shirley says

    Here’s a challenge, unless you’re students of Dr Coor, go look up Imagine Arizona and the vision statements by John Munger and Lisa Graham-Keegan. Much of what this article contains appears to plagiarize on Imagine Arizona (or Dr Coor is simply re-inventing the wheel?)

  10. I thought major decisions about the state’s direction were handled by the Arizona Republic, no?

    Anyway, that was a big failure so we look to those we elect to make those decisions (hopefully before they’re elected). I think, personally, that’s why we have elections, different branches of government, a constitution, and umpteen boards and commissions to provide “leadership.” Not to mention other big players in Society, like churches and think tanks and businessmen and industry leaders and professors and, you know, people we all look up to.

    Toss all these leaders’ conflicting opinions (just think about all that diversity!) into a pot and you’ve got a foul-tasting stew, according to Dr. Coor. But just season it with some of Dr. Coor’s Central Planning and serve it up with some forcefully imposed shame (on conservatives) and we’re on the doorstep of the Greatest Society that Has Ever Been.

    I thought all that was going to happen when they installed Light Rail.

  11. Larry Arroyo says

    I think it’s interesting that only 11% of residents think this is a good place for college graduates. The plan lays out a valuable plan to get these young folks on boards and community planning. It’s the only way to get young folks engaged, and I think the benefits over the long run are endless.

    • Harris Shirley says

      Who took the survey and of how many to determine this 11% figure? Larry gives us no answer.

      Why do we need a “plan” to get young people involved in their future? Once upon a time that was called “civic duty” and encouraged by such passe groups as the Boy and Girl Scouts of America.

  12. Krista Kelly says

    Arizona is a great city to live, and I fully support their vision.

  13. Dr. Coor’s plan for the future is aggressive, but it’s what Arizona needs.

  14. AnObservation says

    Mr. Coor is obviously a communist fellow traveler.

  15. Harris Shirley says

    To Devin, Wendy, Elaine, Garrett, Arthur, Jenny, Jeff, Kirsta and Justin … obviously young students of Dr. Lattie Coor. When you have some life experience and, when you’ve begun to think outside the echo chamber of your classes, perhaps you too will discover that what Dr Coor is proposing has been proposed before but more importantly, actually has been acted on by various leaders in Arizona.

    Now class, how do you propose paying for these wonderful visions of Dr Coor? You do have jobs don’t you? How much shall the state take from your income to achieve these lofty goals of centralized planning?

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