Sen. Sinema urges business leaders to prioritize Arizona’s best interests, reject extreme partisanship

At the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s annual Update from Capitol Hill luncheon on Tuesday, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) urged business leaders to overcome partisan divides and advocate for commonsense legislation that puts Arizona first. Sinema called on the business community to engage in the legislative process and avoid extreme political rhetoric.

“Arizona’s success is at risk if businesses don’t step up and help solve problems,” she said. “The leaders in this room must look to the future and ensure commonsense legislation is passed to protect it.”

The event was sponsored by Philip Morris International.

“At Philip Morris International, we’re on a mission to end cigarettes and believe the nearly 30 million adult smokers in the U.S. should have smoke-free alternatives that are scientifically substantiated to be better than continued smoking,” said Amanda Wheeler, PMI’s regional director of external affairs for the Southwest. “By working together, we can get there faster, and that’s why we’re proud to partner with the Arizona Chamber as the presenting sponsor of its 2024 Update from Capitol Hill luncheon.”

A strong record of legislative accomplishment

In her speech, Sinema highlighted her contributions to the passage of bipartisan legislation, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the CHIPS and Science Act. 

These legislative successes have brought many investments to Arizona, positioning the state as a national hub for research, innovation, and economic freedom. 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, she noted, has provided over $1.5 billion for high-speed internet and $1 billion for clean water infrastructure in Arizona. Also, the CHIPS and Science Act secured $15 billion for semiconductor facilities in the state. Arizona is now home to two of arguably the most important construction projects in the world: the construction of new fabrication plants for TSMC in North Phoenix and Intel in Chandler.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema speaks to Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Danny Seiden at the group’s 2024 Update from Capitol Hill luncheon.

A call for business community to back thoughtful candidates

Sinema urged Arizona businesses to support candidates who demonstrate independent thought and prioritize real solutions over partisan loyalty.

“I encourage you to support people with whom you agree 60 percent of the time because that means they are thinking for themselves,” Sinema said. She emphasized the need for leaders who are willing to compromise to achieve meaningful results for Arizona.

During a question-and-answer session with Chamber President and CEO Danny Seiden, Sinema reflected on her political journey, while Seiden praised Sinema’s long record of service to the state, noting the positive impact of her legislative efforts.

Social media’s effect on Congress

When asked about how today’s political environment compares to the past, Sinema discussed the increased polarization.

“It is worse than it was before,” she said, reflecting on her 20 years of experience across various legislative bodies at the state and federal level. She attributed much of the increased polarization to the rise of social media, which increases partisan divides and limits opportunities for genuine problem-solving. “We live in an instant social media world, but we don’t live in an immediate work product world,” she said.

Seiden also asked about Sinema’s decision to re-register as an independent, a move she described as a natural progression given her focus on independent thinking and bipartisan collaboration. 

“It’s who I am, and it’s who I’ve always been,” she said.

Sinema explained that the hyper-partisan environment and the pressure to conform to the expectations of the loudest voices motivated her to officially break away from the Democratic Party, but also not to join the Republicans.

“They’ve built these multibillion-dollar industries that are really not focused on moving forward with an agenda for our country. They’re really focused on just winning and beating the other guy,” she said. 

By advocating for commonsense legislation and supporting independent-minded candidates, the business community can ensure long-term success for the state. As Sinema said, “By putting Arizona first, businesses can thrive for the long term.”

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