Hello, Northern Arizona! Spring is upon us and with it, the city and the state legislative session. I have been in municipal government for more than a decade now, and I can tell you I truly enjoy the work that goes into making the city function. I love making sure Flagstaff fixes potholes and makes our libraries accessible. I believe that proposals from governing bodies should be pragmatic solutions that seek to address the challenges before us.
Something I have noticed in the last decade of service is that not all elected officials share this view, especially in an election year. I want to be clear, I do not believe responsible governance should take a back seat to getting reelected.
That might be a view adopted by those of us in local government, those closest to the people and their daily concerns, responsible for the potholes, the fire department, the recycling facility. Governance should seek to make people’s lives better, to improve local schools, roads and services, but all too often we see elected officials at the state and federal level introduce legislation that’s designed to generate headlines. Arizona has had enough of headlines, enough of laws passed that are immediately challenged in court. Year after year, legislation that would keep college students from voting in local elections is proposed even though this is something the Supreme Court has already ruled unconstitutional. Year after year, it is proposed that Arizona seize federal lands even though this is not something the state can do. Proposals like these, ideas that are completely impractical and out of the realm of possibility, are a waste of time and money. The only people they benefit are the lawyers who profit off the inevitable lawsuits.
Arizona deserves better. We deserve a state government that proposes initiatives that improve neighborhoods. We have challenges: an underfunded public education system, crumbling highways, worries about water in rural areas. At the City of Flagstaff, we have taken steps to improve access to pre-K, to fund before and after school care. We have taken steps to improve the city owned roads. We have made water conservation a priority. Government exists to help society function, to make sure we all have safe and healthy communities; it does not exist to push an ideological agenda. As we get closer to the election, I hope everyone remembers that. FBN
By Coral Evans
Coral Evans is the mayor of Flagstaff.