Jobs and the economy in southeast Arizona
Here is the truth about the jobs situation in Cochise, Graham and Greenlee counties:
no matter what Republicans say there is no plan being put forth at the state level for significant jobs growth in the rural part of southeast Arizona.
Worse, the state has projected feeble job growth over the next 8 years. This projection was published over 2 years ago. My opponent, the current State Senator, has had nothing to say about this! Not a word other than "...create a job-friendly environment throughout Arizona. The result: New jobs, local businesses growing and hiring..." (source: District14Team.com). Apparently all the new jobs and growing is happening in Maricopa county.
It is time for change and my plan for creating a vibrant economy in rural southeast Arizona is below.
2018-2028 Jobs Annual Jobs Projection
|County||Annualized Growth (%)||Annual Job Growth|
|Pima (shown for comparison)||0.7%||2,929|
|Maricopa (shown for comparison)||1.9%||43,449|
Bob Karp's Five Point Plan for Jobs in Arizona LD14 - (details below)
Expand the Douglas Port of Entry
Build an inland distribution port
Build a 4-year college in Graham County
Invest in infrastructure
Create a 10-year regional development plan
(Bonus point) Support small business formation with micro loans
Bob Karp's plan for jobs and economic growth in rural southeast Arizona
- Expand the Douglas Port of Entry (POE). Currently (prior to the pandemic) the port was at near capacity for commercial traffic because of physical limitations. Expanding the port will create an alternative to the Nogales POE and along with the additional traffic, a need for new transfer warehouses on the U.S. side. Recently Yuma, AZ and Colubus, New Mexico received federal funds to modernize and expand their POE. Douglas has been waiting for over 5 years to get expansion funded!
- Build an inland port near Willcox, Arizona. (Suggested location is at I-10 and Arizona 191 to the west of Willcox) An inland port is a transfer hub for commercial goods such as produce, raw materials and manufactured goods. Such an in land port would create up to 1 million square feet of warehouse space, with 1 to 2 thousand jobs. The location is an excellent transfer spot with I-10 access to the west including Phoenix and California, and to the east for El Paso, Texas and north to New Mexico. With this location workers from the Safford/Thatcher area of Graham county, and possibly workers in parts of Greenelee county, with workers in the Willcox area would have more good-paying jobs.
- Put together a 10-year plan to open a 4 year state college in Graham county. The college could offer degree specialization in mining, sustainable agriculture, solar technologies. This possibly could be done in conjunction with the existing community college, Easter Arizona College, or another institution. Four year higher education institutions attract faculty, students, supporting institutions and businesses that work with the college in research.
- Provide state leadership to create a 10 year regional development plan that emphasizes the need for local businesses to get a majority portion of allocated funds for infrastructure repairs, maintenance & improvements so that southeast Arizona businesses are given multi-year contracts that will help them build local expertise in construction and technology. The plan should include targeted industries that will provide jobs for workers for all segments of labor market. This includes emphasis on trade schools, post-secondary education, as well as alternative forms of employment.
- Invest in road and high speed internet throughout rural Arizona to close the gap between urban areas of the state. Without good roads and multiple internet providers, we cannot compete with other areas of the state or other states in attracting the businesses of the future. I have proposed an increase in the state gas tax. which would be used to fund investments in roads, bridges, electric grid, and high speed internet in the counties in which the tax is collected. (See more here.)