Outstanding Young Americans


Jose Cardenas:
Good evening. i'm Jose Cardenas. as we wait for a new governor to officially take office in arizona how will the transition impact our state and issues facing the state legislature? also teachers honored for making a different in students' lives. And meet a valley man named one of 2008's ten outstanding americans. all these stories coming up on horizonte.

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Jose Cardenas :
Good evening. Welcome to Horizonte. as Governor Napolitano prepares for her new job as homeland security secretary, secretary of state jan brewer begins her transition to take over issues facing arizona. in addition, when the state legislature convenes in january, there will be new Republican and Democratic leaders in charge. Joining me to talk about this transition is house democratic leader representative David Lujan and senate minority assistant leader senator Rebecca Rios. thank you for joining us on "horizonte."
lots of surprises in many respects from this election. one relates to the state level, representative lujan, that the democrats didn't do as well as many thought they would. in fact they did much worse. what happened?

David Lujan:
Well, certainly we were hoping to increase our numbers in the legislature, but i think there's a number of factors. we're examining them now.

Jose Cardenas:
What was the change in numbers as a result of the election?

David Lujan:
We lost two seats in the house. We went from 27 democrats to 25.

Jose Cardenas:
And in the senate?

David Lujan:
In the senate they lost one seat, from 13 to 12.

Jose Cardenas:
How did that happen? everyone was optimistic you would make gains, maybe take over control of the legislature.

David Lujan:
I think so. looking at it, i think there's a number of different factors that may have been responsible. certainly having john mccain at the top of the ticket in arizona running for president had an impact.

Jose Cardenas:
You knew that. that was a given. yet people were still pretty optimistic.

David Lujan:
Yes. I think so. i think there are other factors. the marriage amendment being on there, as democrats maybe we were stretching ourselves a little too thin because we were trying to take the majority, so maybe we put too many resources in too many districts trying to take the majority where maybe we should have focused on protecting the seats we had. i think there's a number of different factors but i think over all if you look at it we have democrats in washington d.c., we've gained an additional democrat in our congressional delegation in arizona. we gained two democrats in the corporation commission in arizona. actually, the races for the legislature were very close. we actually if you look at the vote differential i think we came closer to taking the majority in the legislature than we have in a long time. so we're still moving in the right direction as a party in arizona. i think 2010 is going to be the year when we can really see great gains in the state, particularly in the legislature.

Jose Cardenas :
Senator Rios, another impact of these elections wasn't necessarily because people lost races but because of retirements and so forth is that the Latino Caucus is smaller.

Rebecca Rios:
Correct. currently we still have 16 latino members, however with the retirement of senator soltero out of tucson, long time representative pete rios who has run for county supervisor, we also lost charlene pescada, who decided not to run for election. we have seen our numbers go from 16 to 13. there was a latino republican elected in the house of representatives. but again, when you're looking at over all population numbers, latino caucus has some work to do to make parity and have some members in adequate numbers representative of our population.

Jose Cardenas:
Let's talk about leadership changes on both sides of the aisle. First Democrats in the senate, then Republican changes there.

Rebecca Rios:
In the senate we are seeing a change in leadership from a much more moderate republican leadership that we had with president bee to one that I think will be more conservative with president burns. chuck gray out of east valley and pamela gorman out of anthem. I think that although we only lost one seat in terms of numbers when we look at the senate there was a drastic shift to the right. we lost a moderate republican, o'halloran, who oftentimes was very supportive of issues that democrats were like education and health care, replaced with a more conservative member as was the seat that Pescada gave up, a very conservative republican was put in that seat. not only are we now looking at the loss of one seat, we're looking at a very sharp turn to the right and the fact that with the current makeup of the senate, we have more Republicans now that i think are going to vote in a block and vote really strongly republican and that will minimize the need i think for them to perhaps engage the democrats in the senate.

Jose Cardenas:
You picked up one of the most conservative members of the legislature, former representative russell pearce is now a senator. i assume that adds to the shift you're talking about.

Rebecca Rios:
Absolutely. i think that will add to the shift and the types of legislation that we see and the fact that this is going to be a more conservative senate than we have had in the last couple of years.

Jose Cardenas:
Representative Lujan in some respects you had more significant changes on both sides of the aisle in the house. beginning with the Republicans.

David Lujan:
The Republicans were actually encouraged by the new speaker elect Kirk Adams. He's expressed publicly a desire to work in a bipartisan fashion and we're hoping that he will do that. he had run a pretty public campaign in running for the leadership position, but Mister Weiers has been our speaker for the last four years. a lot of people expected he would continue on, so it was a bit of a surprise that Kirk Adams was able to get the votes to be our new speaker.

Jose Cardenas:
On the Democratic side?

David Lujan:
I'm going to be the incoming leader of the Democratic Caucus. Kyrsten Sinema will be the assistane leaders, Chad Campbell will be the Minority Whip..

Jose Cardenas:
What do you see in the differences between the relationship of the majority and minority as a result of the fact we have had new leaders on both sides of the aisle?

David Lujan:
I think you'll see a real willingness on both sides to work across the aisle, to work on those issues when we can find common ground for get of all the state. i think that's what arizona voters want. they want us to put aside partisan bickering and ideologies and focus on the issues we need to focus on to get us out of difficult times. that's what the democratic caucus will be focusing on.

Jose Cardenas:
Are there any issues you see as common ground right now going into this next session?

David Lujan:
Ithink there's a number of issues where we could find common ground. in terms of education, i have been working with rich crandall, sharing the house education committee in terms of accountability and having a real college-going focus, making sure we're developing that quality work force for future. i think when it comes to solar energy i think there are some republicans willing to work with us in helping develop this vast potential in arizona to create an economy that will encourage solar investment in the state of arizona. then i think in terms of transportation we all realize that we need to build the infrastructure in the state and the transportation needs to meet the growing needs that we have as a state. i think when it comes to education, solar energy, transportation, those are areas we'll be able to find common ground on.

Jose Cardenas :
Senator Rios, I think the sense is in the senate the gap is bigger and it's going to be harder to find common ground, but are there some issues where you think you'll be able to form some coalitions with some republicans?

Rebecca Rios:
I think representative Lujan has hit on the issues that are important in the senate, particularly transportation and trying to identify now that time initiative is gone a revenue source. do we put that in the referendum for an election for voters to decide? what i think you'll see up front and taking the majority of the time into the budget, the fact that we have an extreme budget deficit and the president of the senate clearly saying that is the issue that we're going to focus on first before any bills are introduced. i think you'll see a lot of work on the budget. not only in appropriations but he's saying he's going to use standing committees to act as the sub appropriations committee so we can tackle not only the '09 budget but the 2010 and until that issue is resolved he's saying we're not even going to begin to touch on any of the others.

Jose Cardenas :
Speaking of the deficit, what happened for plans for a special session?

Rebecca Rios:
That depends who you ask. we had met senate and house democrats and republicans with the governor and my understanding and i'm sure representative lujan and the governor's understanding was that we were going to go into special session this december. the governor had provided to all of us a $1.2 billion plan to get us out of the current deficit for '09, and then we get an email from the current speaker and president that said all opportunity and time has evaporated and we're not going to go with it and we'll leave it for next year. i think that was very surprising for us because we had all come to an agreement that we were going to address the issue. in fact the response that we had was they weren't willing to tackle the 1.2 billion they would at least tackle about a quarter of it, then we were told, never mind, we were just going to put it off. very discouraging a very disappointing. my concern is that begins to speak to the tone of what's going to happen in this legislature, that we are seeing the republican controlled legislature starting to basically dismiss our current governor and just wait until they have all their players in place and their governor before they begin to address some of these issues. i think that's a real disservice to the entire state of arizona.

Jose Cardenas : representative lujan, what impact do you think a governor brewer is going to have on the legislative process generally and more specifically on the budget negotiations?

David Lujan: well, i think she is going to set the tone. so i think as we go through this economic downturn, she can decide whether she wants to manage the state so that we manage our way through and come out of this stronger and more competitive for the future when we do come out of the economic downturn or is she going to enact policies that are going to stunt our growth and really cut into education and prevent us from building the infrastructure that we need in this state?. i think she can also set the tone by is she going to follow the will of the arizona voters and include democrats and independents and let us all come to the table. we're going through very difficult times in the state, but let's come to the table and work together to work our way through them. lastly, is she going to be a caretaker governor or is she going to try to set her own agenda? is she going to recognize the fact she's replacing a governor that won with 65% of the vote and just as recently as last week polled at 70% job approval rating with popular programs like all day kindergarten and teacher raises. is she going to try to follow and keep the policies the governor has implemented or is she going to try to set her own agenda?

Jose Cardenas : what do you think? on several of the areas you mentioned in terms of dealing with the legislature as a whole, specific subjects, what are your expectations based on what she said so far?

David Lujan: i mean, i think she has expressed an interest in wanting to run for governor herself in 2010 and actually be elected to that position. i think if she wants to do that i think it's going to be wise for her to try to play the role more of a caretaker governor and recognize that she needs to keep some of these popular programs that governor napolitano has put in place. i don't know. i just don't know what direction she is going to take us in. we won't know until she takes office.

Jose Cardenas :
Senator Rios, the governor to be Jan Brewer did say that everything was on the table including tax increases, something that governor napolitano shied away from, made clear they were not part of her proposals in any of the legislative sessions for which she was governor. what do you make of that and what does it say to you about this governor to be?

Rebecca Rios:
I found it actually quite curious because while she is saying the potential for tax increases on the table, her republican legislature is as of today drafted a bill to permanently get rid of the county equalization tax when we put in place when times were good. that means a $250 to $300 million cut to the state fund for education. at the same time she is saying let's consider a tax increase. I don't necessarily see that philosophy falling in line with a lot of her more conservative members, but again, i think it speaks to kind of a disconnect going on there. she's acknowledging the budget is so bad that she as a republican is even willing to consider tax increases, but yet the first bill ready to be signed is a permanent tax cut.

Jose Cardenas :
What do you see as the battle lines on issues such as education, all-day k, so forth?

Rebecca Rios:
I think it's telling when the superintendent of public institutions storm horn says he fully expects his Republican colleagues to look at cutting full-day kindergarten. that's an issue we'll have to contend with. i think there are going to be probably resurgence of a number of bills that had been vetoed over the past six years. Clearly governor napolitano was kind of a backstop. she had the record for vetoing the most bills because she had probably the most bad bills presented to her on her desk. So i would expect we will see a resurgence of a lot of those pieces of legislation that folks want passed, likely be issues on abortion, immigration, the tax cut, but -- guns in schools. i would expect we might see a number of those reintroduced.

Jose Cardenas :
Representative Lujan, we have about 30 seconds left. What's going to be the role of the hispanic caucus?

David Lujan:
I think the role as we go through difficult times make sure that we are advocating for those issues that are important to the latino community and make sure that we are including them in the process and we are representing their voices down at the state capitol.

Jose Cardenas :
Representative Lujan, Senator Rios, thank you for being on "Horizonte." I'm sure we'll have more to talk about. thank you.

Jose Cardenas :
It's a special opportunity for the community to acknowledge the contributions of Hispanic teachers in Arizona. Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez tells us more about the recipients of the esperanza latino teachers awards.

Narrator:
education is something we have to keep in the forefront. we talk about it as being the equalizer. the fact that you are here is an example of our community commitment to education.
this year marks the ten-year anniversary of the chicanos por la causa teacher awards. the esperanza teacher awards is presented to arizona teachers who go beyond their educational duties to assist students achieve academic success. each award winner is recognized for their education and presented with a cash stipend at the annual awards reception this year's teacher award winners are -- Luis Valencia is a third grade teacher in the dual language program at encanto school. peter acosta specializes in welding at east valley institute of technology. richard trujillo, best known as coach trujillo, is a football, baseball and basketball coach at tempe high school. gloria rivera was a former teacher, now a multi-cultural services coordinator for the murphy school district.


Jose Cardenas :
All of us here would like to congratulate all of this year's winners. Chicanos Por La Causa will begin accepting nominations for next year's awards in march.

Jose Cardenas:
The ten outstanding americans awards program is one of the most prestigious and oldest in america. the United States Jaycees have sought out young men and women who best show the finest qualities of young americans.
Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez had the opportunity to talk with a Valley man who won this award.

Nadine Arroyo:
Thank you so much for joining us and sharing this great honor with us. you have been acknowledged by the United States Jaycee organization as one of the ten outstanding young americans. First of all, let's start by asking you to explain who the Jaycee organization is.

Andrew Ortiz:
Sure. United States Jaycees is one of the foremost service organizations in the country. in fact they are an international entity. They focus around leadership development, business development, support of our free enterprise system in this country. They have been doing that for 75 years, receiving this award in san diego this year we were celebrating the 75th anniversary. It was nice to be a part of that and to be a part of the rich history as far as building our country's leaders starting out with young professionals and working with them as they go forth into their careers and their endeavors to try to make our country better and the business enterprise stronger in our country.

Nadine Arroyo:
How did you get chosen for this honor? what did you have to do?

Andrew Ortiz:
I was nominated by a good friend of mine. This is an interesting story. There's a former movie star actor named Hugh O'Brien. He's currently 83 years old, but he was famous for being Wyatt Aarp on television in the 1950s and 1960s. I currently serve on a board of directors for his youth leadership foundation in Los Angeles. We work with sophomores. he nominated me. He's nominated me the last three years. In 2006 and 2007 I was a semi-finalist for the ten outstanding young americans. That put me in the top 20. This year finally made it. Thanks to hugh's support of me, hugh has been a great role model and mentor to me. It's because of him that i'm sitting here talking about this award.

Nadine Arroyo: so you have your own business. Through your own business you do a lot of this work. tell us about your business, ortiz leadership assistance. Tell me more about what you do.

Andrew Ortiz:
Ortiz leadership assistance has two different components to it. One is a management consulting component. I work as a management consultant with for-profit and nonprofit clients across the board and start-up and nonprofits. It could range from a mom and pop organization to united way. those are the clients that I work with. it's really a labor of love because my mother, who passed away in 1999, was one of my great role models. She was a very religious lady. she told me when i was a little boy that to those whom much is given much will be required. So I have taken that ethic with me as i moved forward in my life. that was the seed that germinated into this business. When I graduated from law school in 1998, I founded this business because i wanted to go out into the community to make a difference. I felt like that was a vehicle to do that. working with the clients and organization which I do I see every day entities that are making a difference, people trying to solve problems in our community to try to make this a better place to live, work, play, ultimately to make our country and our world better.

Nadine Arroyo:
One thing you were acknowledged for, the 1,000 community service hours you have given of yourself since 1993. tell us some of the organizations you've worked with and what you have done.

Andrew Ortiz:
Sure. the magic number, magic date of 1993, I trace it back to my involvement with the program called congressional award. The congressional award, it was actually signed into law in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter. It's a youth award that recognizing outstanding young people ages 14 to 24 in our country. 1993 I received that award in washington d.c. I had been nominated by actually congressman ed pastor for that award. I used that as a platform. that year, 1993, really was the springboard to getting involved in community service activities, trying to get involved in leadership programming. so the organizations that I have been affiliated with since then are organizations ranging from voluntary like the american cancer society, american heart association, I referenced united way. I work with organizations that work with health and human services at the grass roots level, basic needs coalition which is now protecting arizona's family coalition. arizona community action association. here in my hometown of tempe working on community development with new town community development corporation, tempe community action agency working for anti-poverty working for those that really need a voice in our community. It's been a labor of love. Every day i feel I'm moving a step closer to where I want to be, but there's so much left to do.

Nadine Arroyo:
You're one of a group of well known individuals that have received this award, jfk, elvis presley. what message do you have for those who aspire to do the same?

Andrew Ortiz:
You know, i think martin luther king put it best when he said everybody can be great because everybody can serve. this honor, this accolade, is just really not the pinnacle. I take it with great humility and sincerity, but the thing is there's so much more to do, so i challenge the young people in our community and all the people, regardless of age, to give of themselves to their community. There is a quote that i like to share with people by anatole france, winner of the nobel prize in 1925 for literature. He said to accomplish great things one must not only act but dream, not only plan but also believe. everyone can do great things and i challenge them to do it.

Nadine Arroyo:
How does it feel to be acknowledged among people like j.f.k. and take this to move forward with what you do every day?

Andrew Ortiz:
It was a shot in the arm and i enjoyed it while it lasted. Now I know that work continues. so now i'm out in the community again trying to make a difference and get more people involved in volunteerism and making our communities stronger.

Nadine Arroyo:
And you continue to work across the state.

Andrew Ortiz:
Absolutely.

Nadine Arroyo:
Thank you. I appreciate you sharing this with us.

Andrew Ortiz:
My pleasure.

Jose Cardenas :
Next week valley journalists look back at the top stories of 2008 in arizona republic and across the country. that's next thursday at 7:30 on "Horizonte." That's our show. I'm Jose Cardenas. Thanks for joining us. Have a great evening.

Narrator:
If you have questions or comments about "Horizonte," please write to the addresses on the screen. your comments may be used on a future edition of "Horizonte."
Funding for "Horizonte" is provided by s.r.p. s.r.p.'s business is water and power but our dedication to the community doesn't stop there.

Meet valley resident Andrew Ortiz, J.D., M.P.A. The United States Jaycees named him as one of the 2008 Ten Outstanding Young Americans.

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In this segment:

Andrew Ortiz: One of the Ten Outstanding Americans, United States Jaycees;

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