By Congressman Greg Stanton
I learned early on in my career that if you want to get things done, you have to be willing to work with anyone. This approach has served me well in Washington—whether it’s attracting new high-wage jobs, protecting our water supply, investing in infrastructure, and especially as we worked to shield Arizonans from the economic effects of the pandemic.
When COVID hit, I immediately got to work to help craft relief bills that would provide Arizonans relief to weather the storm. We responded the right way—many times in a bipartisan way—to make sure the revenue loss for local government wouldn’t mean job loss. We set up lifelines for small business owners, keeping their doors open, and workers on the payroll. In addition, we also put relief programs in place that would support mortgage holders, renters, and landlords alike.
We kept thousands of Arizona businesses open and saved our economy from collapse.
Today, many of the fundamentals of our economy are strong: people are getting back to work, unemployment is at a record low, and wages are up. We’re also seeing a rise in the creation of small businesses, which is partly why our national GDP is growing faster than it has in decades.
But the pandemic showed us that we still have work to do to create an economy that works for everyone.
We can continue the work to strengthen Arizona’s economy by revitalizing local manufacturing and creating good jobs here in Arizona. We’re in the midst of a global shortage of semiconductors that has created a backlog of cars, appliances, and consumer electronics. That creates higher costs for consumers; it’s a significant contributor to inflation.
Arizona is already well-positioned in the advanced manufacturing of semiconductors and we’re ready to take the next steps. That’s why I’m part of a bipartisan coalition to expand manufacturing to make more chips in the United States which will help create tens of thousands of new, high-paying jobs in Arizona.
But to make these investments in our economy and support future development and population growth, we must protect our most precious resource: water.
Let’s be clear—our economy cannot grow without a secure water supply. It affects every industry, from retail to real estate. Water is one reason why I was an early supporter of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law because it provides millions of dollars for water conservation efforts in the American West. And in my first term, I worked to create a $150 million fund exclusively for Arizona water infrastructure projects to help small communities meet their resident’s needs.
We’re laying the foundation for a resilient and forward-looking economy, from manufacturing to our main streets. I worked across the aisle to secure COVID assistance for small businesses—and now they’re powering our recovery from the pandemic.
In Arizona, more than 1,300 restaurants received assistance through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and the Paycheck Protection Program provided millions of dollars in aid to keep small businesses from shutting down for good. These investments saved livelihoods and preserved the character of our community.
But I know there’s still work to be done.
I’ve often shared stories about my family and the house I grew up in. I came from modest means—my dad sold shoes at JC Penney and I watched him take the bus to work every day. But my parents worked hard to keep a roof over our heads, put food on the table, and send us off to good neighborhood schools.
However, that story is getting more difficult for families to realize today.
Anyone looking for a place to live in Phoenix right now is navigating one of the toughest and most expensive housing markets in recent history. They’re working harder, saving and stretching their dollars, and still struggling to find housing options that meet their needs.
That’s why I’ll keep working with realtors, home builders, and local governments to support new affordable housing and put Arizona families on the ladder to success. If we have the courage to reach across party lines and focus on delivering results, then there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.