Terry Goddard possesses the experience, wisdom and mettle required to lead Arizona through its ongoing economic crisis. He is an effective, decisive leader who has protected Arizonans and successfully promoted economic growth.
Underneath his low-key style is a bulldog dedicated to advancing Arizona as a place where all people can prosper, receive a good education and live in safety. Goddard's record of executive responsibility prepares him for the governor's office and he earns the Star's endorsement.
Goddard, a Democrat, is running against Jan Brewer, a Republican who became governor in 2009 when then-Gov. Janet Napolitano left to join the Obama administration. Libertarian Barry Hess and Green Party candidate Larry Gist also are on the ballot.
Goddard, in his second term as state attorney general, has a foundation of public service. He was mayor of Phoenix for four consecutive terms and spent seven years as the state director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
He has an inclusive approach that has been missing in the state Capitol but is needed. The business community, for example, is "a missing resource. They need to be at the table and they haven't been in quite a while," he said.
Arizona would also benefit from Goddard's emphasis on education as a long-term economic driver. He knows that school quality is vital to employers looking for a place to put down roots. State investment in all levels of education pays off and we share his determination. Of Arizona's level of education funding compared to other states, Goddard rightly asks, "How can anyone take pride in Arizona being last?"
He advocates for school choice and for giving individual schools more responsibility, saying that school districts "do a poor job of creativity." He is focused on making schools better rather than coming up with yet another yardstick to label them as good, bad or otherwise.
As attorney general, the state's top law enforcement officer, he has fought human, gun and drug smugglers along the border by going after their ability to move money around. As part of this effort he secured a $94 million settlement from Western Union. It may not be flashy, but Goddard's approach to fighting this vein of organized crime is smart and effective.
In the civil division of the Attorney General's Office, Goddard has fought mortgage fraud. He has protected Arizonans who have been victimized in the housing crisis and collected millions of dollars in fines.
Goddard is correct about the failure of the Legislature to represent the whole of Arizona. The last two state budgets were passed without one Democratic vote, he notes. His presence in the governor's office would provide a valuable counterpart to what will no doubt be ideological Republican leaders in the Legislature. Goddard told us, "I gain dramatically from arguing things out."
As governor, Goddard said he would seek advice on public policy, bringing together the most knowledgeable people possible. We believe it demonstrates the combination of confidence, pragmatism and intellectual curiosity necessary to lead Arizona in this difficult time.
Arizona needs a smart, experienced and innovative executive like Goddard. The Star endorses him as our state's next governor.