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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Arizona needs governor more than Obama does

    We weren’t surprised to learn that Gov. Janet Napolitano is high on the list of rumored appointees to the new president’s cabinet.

    Napolitano, who was named to President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team last week, is one of Arizona’s brightest stars in the political spectrum. In 2005, Time magazine named her one of the country’s five best governors, calling her “”a no-nonsense, pro-business centrist.””

    As Americans, we think there’s no one more qualified than Napolitano to serve in President Obama’s cabinet. But as Arizonans, we can’t help but hope she doesn’t get asked.

    For one thing, if Napolitano left for Washington, her place would be taken by Secretary of State Jan Brewer. A solid, consensus-building reformer would be replaced by a rank-and-file Republican, and the GOP would tighten its grip on Arizona politics.

    As the results of last week’s presidential election showed, Arizona is becoming an increasingly “”purple”” state. Turning the state government over to the Republicans would do a great disservice to Arizonans.

    Napolitano would also be leaving Arizona at a time when the state has seldom needed an able helmsman more. Only a couple of years ago, Arizona’s economy was booming, but the collapse of the housing industry and other national factors dealt it a serious blow this year.

    With the state facing what looks like a $1 billion budget shortfall, we desperately need someone in charge who’s willing to cut excess without sacrificing the most necessary public expenditures. That person isn’t Brewer.

    As university students, what worries us most of all about losing Napolitano is that it would mean losing our strongest voice in the state. She’s repeatedly fought against cuts for higher education, even as pressure has increased to slash our universities’ budgets further and further.

    We’re going to see funding for higher education shrink no matter who the governor is. But we’d rather see that decision rest in the hands of Napolitano – who has been a steadfast and imaginative supporter of public education, even raising $445,000 from the private sector to give every first-grader a book – than Brewer.

    We also need Napolitano to tackle the immigration problem. Arizona’s politicians have a decided tendency to take a reckless stance on immigration, calling for draconian laws that would turn the border into a fortress and hurt the state economy. In short, they’ve pandered to some voters’ prejudices and prevented the debate over immigration from getting anywhere.

    Napolitano, on the other hand, has rightly pushed for the federal government to take greater responsibility for securing the border and called for them to replenish

    Arizona for the coffers we’ve emptied trying to deal with the problem.

    America certainly needs a statesperson of Napolitano’s courage and character. But right now, Arizona needs her more.

    Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Andi Berlin, Chris Carter, Justyn Dillingham, Lauren LePage and Lance Madden.

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