The Arizona We Want 2.0

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Dr. Lattie Coor, Chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona, talks about the latest update to the Center’s 2009 report, ‘The Arizona We Want.’

Ted Simons: In 2009, the center for The future of Arizona Published a report titled "The Arizona we want." it represented a vision for The state based on citizen-driven data. Today an update was released In the form of a new report called "the Arizona we want 2.0." here to tell us what's Changed is Dr. Lattie Coor, chairman and CEO of the Center for the future of Arizona. Good to see you again. Thank you for joining us.

Dr. Lattie Coor: Thank you, good to be here, Ted.

Ted Simons: The original report, what was it designed to do and why was it necessary to update?

Dr. Lattie Coor: We were interested in finding the citizens' voice for establishing a framework for Arizona's future. That is why we went to the gallop organization and got the most exhaustive voice that has ever been done about Arizona. What people wanted. What they liked. What their basic characteristics were about thinking about the future. And from it we found eight major goals that citizens identified. Education, job creation, access to health care. But interestingly, some civic engagement goals that were part of it as well. We began taking the report all over the state, more than 100 meetings. We invited Arizonans to take the gallop poll. Over 10,000 did that so that they could see how their views matched with Arizonans and we invited organizations to do the same so that they could get a view of how their whole group stood with respect to Arizonans views in general. From all of these discussions, meetings, and explorations, we gathered a much deeper sense of how we could then take what we learned three years ago and put it in to a form of specific actionable items for each one of those eight goals. Items that are true to the citizen voice and the gallon poll, but that items increasingly aligned with other leadership organizations in Arizona that are trying to advance those goals.

Ted Simons: So, with that in mind, 2009 report is released and you have some ideas on how to move forward. We fast forward to now. Were some of those goals met and how did we do? How are we doing?

Dr. Lattie Coor: Some of the goals have been met, most importantly, think the stage has been set to now move from more actively into the future. Let's take education. Citizens wanted students to graduate high school, college and or career ready. Measured by national and international standards. We have on the table, passed by the Arizona legislature common Coor standards and the new assessment that will replace AMES could PARK-- they be absolute prototypes of that kind of improvement that the citizens were calling for. In this report, we identify that and we say here is a goal now. Let's take this one and all get behind making sure it is funded properly and accomplished in 2014 to 2016.

Ted Simons: Did you find trajectories of ideas or thoughts that -- did they change at all from one report to another?

Dr. Lattie Coor: No, they have been quite constant. Citizen voices remain quite constant. What has happened there has been movement, some kind of uneven movement, but nevertheless movement towards the goals that now can we think be captured and put in very specific terms. Management consultants say to any organization, if you can't put your mission and goals on a single card and put it in your shirt pocket, you will never get there. We have tried to take these eight goals and put them in those clear, explicit ways that we will be -- that can go in our shirt pocket, all of us, as to where Arizona itself is going.

Ted Simons: Do you see the results of the polls maybe in this area and the results of political elections in which we elect folks to achieve these goals in this side? I mean, is there a bit of a disconnect? I think some folks would say there is.

Dr. Lattie Coor: There is a big disconnect. There are some instances where it is, but there is a big disconnect. Unfortunately, the election cycle does not usually focus specifically on the kinds of things that are stated here. They may have larger goals. Let's take job creation for example. Arizona we want 2.0 says 75,000 jobs should be created. Now, that is constant with what the Arizona commerce authority is talking about. There is that policy. But it has never been part of the electoral process. It also says makes sure that the jobs raise the salary by about 30% over the existing salaries. Get high-quality, good-paying jobs, in fact. And there have been steps taken with them, but it is rarely part of the election cycle.

Ted Simons: There are incentive programs that require big-time jobs or high-paying jobs to get those incentives. That process seems to be working a little bit but you are saying it could work a little more.

Dr. Lattie Coor: It could work a bit more and we can be much more specific about it, it will work even better.

Ted Simons: Did health care change because of the affordable care act? In 2009, health care was A and it turned into B. How much of a difference did that make?

Dr. Lattie Coor: I think it depends on how the governor's proposal to embrace the Medicaid through access affairs in the legislature. That will make a major difference in terms of the reach of health care into the population, and I think quite significantly so.

Ted Simons: So, the study basically helps citizens and helps leaders with agendas and with benchmarks and these sorts of things. Do you move the benchmarks just a touch out of reach to keep things moving forward? How do you work things?

Dr. Lattie Coor: You never want to do something that isn't a significant goal. So, we have set them in ways that -- to us are represented in what this report calls for, but they're reach goals. They're accomplishable goals, but they're reach goals. And everyone one of them is understandable. Measurable, embraceable. We believe they can become in a sense the way all of us think about what we should be doing to make Arizona the place we want it to be.

Ted Simons: You talked about education and job creation. We mentioned health care. Things like the environment. What are people saying there, where do you think and your organization and judging from what people are saying, where should we be going?

Dr. Lattie Coor: Get active in sending -- reduce the forest fires. 30,000 acres a year this report calls for annually. Modernize the state trust land process. But as you do so, protect 600,000 acres for open space and natural areas. So, it helps to move that forward. Let me tell you one of the most interesting things we think has come from this. Five of the goals are conventional policy goals. Leader-led goals. You need policies made to make them happen. Three of the goals, recruiting and retaining talented young people. Our study found that Arizonans don't think Arizona is a good place for talented young people. Very significant for the health of the state. And get much more heavily engaged in civic engagement affairs, register, vote, discuss your political issues and in building the community. Those are citizen driven goals. What we have realized if you strengthen the citizen driven goals, you in turn put yourself in a position of much more positively affecting the policy-driven goals.

Ted Simons: I have about a minute left here. It is not necessarily a horse race with citizen here and leader here, but which side seems to be taking the most action so far?

Dr. Lattie Coor: I think both, but I think there is a growing -- activities going on now. O'Connor house has a project called speak out Arizona. 200 organizations. Getting citizens to be much more interested in the issues. Embracing the issues. The alliance for nonprofit organizations, 5 or 600 organizations in that, are doing the same. So, I think there is a growing potential that is showing itself on the citizen-based side of the ledger.

Ted Simons: With that said, what do you want people to take from this report?

Dr. Lattie Coor: That there is a clear way of expressing what Arizona's goals should be for the future. Look at this, at "the Arizona we" and embrace it. Organizations get yourselves behind it and let's make sure that we move each of these goals forward.

Ted Simons: Another update in three years or so.

Dr. Lattie Coor: I will be here.

Ted Simons: Thank you.

Dr. Lattie Coor:Chairman and CEO, Center for the Future of Arizona;

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