It’s not every day that rural Arizona communities have direct access to the leaders of key state agencies. But that’s changing with a new program called Arizona on the Road, which brings directors and commissioners from 16 different state departments to developing communities across the state.
“The idea is to bring these professional leaders from the Governor’s cabinet to places around the state,” said Andy Tobin, Director of the Arizona Department of Administration. “Where not only can citizens come and ask questions… but the political, business and cultural leadership of these communities can be a part of the process.”
In total, 16 cabinet members are involved in the program. The first stop on the tour was in Flagstaff on June 14th, and state leaders also recently visited Prescott and Prescott Valley in mid-August.
Some of the represented agencies include the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing, the State Land Department, Veterans’ Services and the Department of Economic Security. All of the participating agency leaders also comprise Gov. Ducey’s 21st Century Economy Goal Council, which says it focuses on spurring economic development.
One particular focus area of the Arizona on the Road program is answering community questions related to new policies and state economic development projects. But Tobin says it’s also about learning what’s been going on in those rural communities.
“Many of them are interested in what legislation has recently passed and how it might affect them,” Tobin said. “And the local leadership wants to make sure that they’re sharing with us what they know.”
During their recent Prescott visit, the directors hosted a morning forum attended “by local elected officials as well as community and education leaders,” according to a press release.
The directors also toured Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s nearby campus and conducted a roundtable lunch with regional business leaders.
Sandra Watson, President & CEO of the Arizona Commerce authority, conceptualized the Arizona on the Road program.
“We’re very excited to visit communities around Arizona and have the opportunity to highlight the work of Governor Ducey’s 21st Century Economy Goal Council,” Watson said. “I am honored to co-chair the Economy Goal Council and participate in this important initiative along with my colleagues.”
Three additional stops in the Arizona on the Road series are currently scheduled for 2019 in the following communities:
- September: Kingman/Bullhead City/Lake Havasu
- October: Casa Grande/Coolidge/Florence
- November: Jerome/Cottonwood/Camp Verde
Tobin says the program will make additional community visits in 2020.