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In times like these

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By Lorenzo Sierra

Why would you run for office in times like these? It’s a question I was asked by a government relations professional from a large healthcare firm. It’s a good question that deserves an honest answer.

Times like these are defined by an Arizona in crisis and headed toward disaster. We’ve lost more than 300,000 jobs in the past four years and rank second in the nation for foreclosures. Arizona ranks third in the nation in child homelessness and our state has cut more than $1.5 billion from education from fiscal 2009 through fiscal 2011. 

No matter when, we expect the priorities of our elected officials to reflect the pressing needs of our state. Instead, lawmakers passed legislation to create a Tea Party license plate and an official state gun. They chose not to vote on legislation that would have extended unemployment benefits to our neighbors who can’t replace the jobs they’ve lost. And they chose to “balance” our state budget on the backs of the most vulnerable by decimating education funding and kicking more than 100,000 people off of AHCCCS. 

Times like these offer a chance and a choice to take Arizona from the bottom of virtually all socioeconomic indicators and move our state upward. 

It’s because of times like these that I’ve chosen to enter the race for the Arizona House of Representatives in the new Legislative District 19, which, once maps are finalized, will include Avondale, Tolleson and Southwest Phoenix. District 19 residents reflect the strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit that defines the Arizonans I know and respect. It’s one I understand personally and champion because of my own experience.

As an Arizona native with family roots within the mining community of Morenci, I grew up in a poor neighborhood in southern Tucson. We were poor, but my parents and neighbors had a strong sense of community pride. My parents worked hard and sacrificed to ensure my success. 

With this family foundation, I worked five part-time jobs to put myself through ASU. I was the only one in my family to graduate from college with a four-year degree. This work ethic, instilled by my parents, has given me employment opportunities at three Fortune 500 companies, two nonprofits and a small Arizona-grown business. 

My career has given me the chance to give back to the community through service on several professional and community boards. Currently, I am on the boards of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Chicanos Por La Causa’s Parenting Arizona and Xico, Inc. I was also appointed by then Gov. Janet Napolitano to serve on the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism. 

As the only candidate with senior-level Fortune 500 experience, my background and professional accomplishments are important to Arizona—especially in times like these. In both the community and the boardroom, I’ve been given the unique opportunity of bringing people together to solve problems. Those solutions have enabled businesses to grow and have empowered communities to establish centers of help and hope. In times like these, our state cannot afford anything less than this passion and proven experience.

Neighbors I meet talk about creating jobs, investing in small businesses and making sure our children get the education they need to be successful. My neighbors not only understand a tough economy, they live with the sacrifices it demands. These neighbors, many of them unemployed or underemployed, don’t want a handout—but they do need a hand up to help them rise above a devastated economy. I share their priorities. 

As an accomplished problem solver, I’m focused on putting Arizonans back to work and taking our state from the bottom of economic and educational indicators to the top. When Arizona reaches that place, we’ll look back at times like these as the impetus to inspired action. It was times like these that caused us to say “no more” to ideological extremists. And it was times like these when we rallied behind a kid from one of the poorest neighborhoods in Tucson to establish the new priorities and new leadership to get us there.

Learn how you can join me in times like these by visiting sierraforaz.com. Together, we’ll establish new priorities and new leadership that create a better, brighter future for Arizona!

One Response to In times like these

  1. samnlu@cox.net February 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Lorenzo, Arizona needs Hispanic leadership now more than ever. As a native Phoenician, I regret to say that there has been a void, no, an abyss, in Arizona politics and a depressing lack of Hispanic leadership. In my 77 years, I have never been approached, or invited to join a worthy Hispanic cause. I believe, that once we’ve accomplished that ellusive goal of leadership, we will see great things begin to happen. As a starter, Hispanics need to be motivated to vote. There is nothing more powerful than a citizen’s vote.

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