Summer Recap: Covering Ground in Arizona’s 9th District
I spent the last six weeks at home in Arizona’s 9th District for the Congressional District Work Period — meeting and working with our residents to find ways to better serve them.
My time away from Washington was an opportunity to dig in deep on the issues impacting Arizona: transportation and infrastructure investment, economic activity and trade relationships at the border, and planning for our state’s water future. We covered a lot of ground this summer to check in with some of the people, businesses and organizations that make our community so great.
Investing in Smart Transportation and Infrastructure
Building local transit options→ I checked in on Tempe Streetcar construction and visited businesses along the future route with Downtown Tempe Authority. This is the first modern streetcar line in the Valley and will serve one of the highest transit ridership centers in our region.
The future of transportation→ Arizona’s Ninth District has been ground zero for autonomous-vehicle testing in our metro area for a few years now. I visited Waymo — formerly known as the Google Self Driving Car Project — to catch up on their vehicles and testing.
Infrastructure on the Navajo Nation→ I saw first-hand the serious need for infrastructure improvement and investment on the Navajo Nation, where 86 percent of the roads are unpaved. Without reliable infrastructure, access to education, jobs and emergency medical services become even more difficult.
What’s next for our airports→ Leaders in our region’s aviation industry came together for the PHX Aero Club meeting. I shared updates from our Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Aviation Subcommittee, where I’m representing Arizona’s best interests.
Promoting Trade and Economic Activity at the Southern Border
A visit to Yuma border facilities→ I traveled to Yuma to visit the Port of San Luis II and Yuma Border Patrol Holding Facility with State House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez to tour the border facilities and meet with local leaders in agriculture, trade, transportation and economic development. We heard directly from Customs officers about the commercial inspection process and from industry experts about the ways trade benefits Arizona.
Educating Arizonans about the USMCA→ Governor Doug Ducey and I held a tele-town hall to discuss the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) with thousands of Arizonans. We shared the importance of trade to our state’s economy and heard from residents who could be impacted by an agreement — representing perspectives from agriculture to small business.
Planning for Arizona’s Water Future
Water’s role in the economy→ At the Congressional Conference on Water hosted by ASU, I moderated a panel of experts and business leaders to explore the consequences of ignoring our state’s water challenges. By working together, we can plan for water security and protect our economy.
Advancing research on water→ During a bipartisan listening session with the National Science Foundation at ASU, Rep. Andy Biggs and I heard from professors and students who are leading the way in water desalination and solar power research. Much of their work is thanks to NSF grants. I advocated for NSF funding increases, and the House approved more than $8.5 billion earlier this year.
Listening to Arizonans
A conversation about Valley Fever→ Rep. David Schweikert and I hosted a bipartisan round table about an infectious fungus that uniquely affects our region: Valley Fever. We heard from public health experts about why the difficult-to-diagnose disease is on the rise, as well as from patients who have confronted Valley Fever first-hand. We’re cosponsoring legislation that would support more research to find a cure.
Sharing health care stories→ Groups representing our Asian-American community in Arizona gathered to share personal stories about the specific challenges they face accessing quality health care. Whether it’s ensuring our health care professionals are bilingual or that they are sensitive to cultural traditions, there’s more we can do to provide health care experiences that serve everyone.
Sending off our soldiers→ I had the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to members of our Arizona National Guard being deployed to the Middle East. I’m so full of gratitude to the men and women in service — and their families — for making the sacrifice to keep our nation safe.
Support for Startups→ I’ve been a longtime advocate for entrepreneurs and startups — those early-stage companies are creating a foundation of innovation that fuels our economy. I met with a handful of entrepreneurs on Congressional Startup Day to hear from them how Congress can better support the startup community.
Connecting with faith leaders→ Phoenix hosted the seventh annual Christian Methodist Episcopal Church Unity Summit. This an incredible gathering of faith leaders from across the country gave me a special opportunity to share an update from Congress and connect with CME’s priorities.