Mayor Rothschild: Focus on five ways to create jobs fits Tucson to a T

2014-01-05T00:00:00Z Mayor Rothschild: Focus on five ways to create jobs fits Tucson to a TBy Mayor Jonathan Rothschild Special to the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

In Arizona, we grew up learning about the Five C’s. Cattle, citrus, copper, cotton and climate played important roles in our history.

But today, Tucson has a modern economy. Today, it’s not Five C’s, but Five T’s: technology, trade, transportation, tourism and teaching. Teaching, of course, is fundamental to economic success. Good jobs need skilled workers, and workers want good schools for their children.

My two-year plan focuses on the five T’s as a way to create jobs for Tucsonans.

Tucson needs to build on existing strengths, and technology is one. We’re home to industry leaders in aerospace and defense — a sector we continue to support. We have the technical, scientific and management expertise to lead in solar and water technologies. We have the treatment and research facilities, the hospitals and providers, to be a leading health-care and wellness destination. And we have a tech innovation engine in the University of Arizona.

To turn that innovation into companies that provide jobs, the city is partnering with the university — working to attract investment to our region and make sure entrepreneurs have the resources they need to get their products to market.

The next T, trade, is another area where Tucson is positioned to grow and prosper. Located along major trade routes just 60 miles from the border, Tucson makes an excellent home base for companies looking to expand in Mexico. In addition to continuing our regional diplomacy, the city is partnering with the Arizona Daily Star to publish a database of manufacturing, import and export activity in the border region. And we’re working with partners in Southern Arizona and New Mexico on a regional strategy to develop manufacturing.

To benefit from trade, you need another T — transportation.

I continue to advocate for transportation infrastructure improvements from Guaymas, Sonora, to Tucson. Through the port at Guaymas, Tucson gains access not only to Mexico but also the Pacific Rim.

The Arizona Department of Transportation sees this as a priority, not just for Southern Arizona, but for the entire state. I’ve been assured of cooperation on the Mexican side. We need to make sure our federal government also sees this as a priority.

The next T, tourism, has benefits beyond the dollars tourists bring.

Companies locate in cities where people want to live. And tourist destinations are often cities where people want to live.

Here, too, we’ll work from our strengths – continuing our focus on downtown; on youth, international and amateur sports; on raising the profile of our many festivals and events; and on making Tucson a more bikeable, walkable city. There’s little downside to making Tucson a more enjoyable city to live in. If tourists don’t materialize right away, we still have a city we like, that suits us.

The last T – teaching – supports the rest. Our universities, colleges and schools draw talent to our region. They train our workforce and educate our children. We need to make sure every Tucsonan can read and write, graduates from high school, and has the skills to go on to higher education or job training.

Through programs like Reading Seed and Teach the Parent, Reach the Child, we’ll continue to work on early and family literacy. School attendance is another area to work on. As with literacy, effective early intervention makes all the difference.

The Five C’s look to our past. The Five T’s are our future. All of them, teaching especially, lay the foundation for economic success.

Let’s build on these strengths. Let’s create our own opportunity. Like Tucson, it all starts with the letter T.

Read the mayor’s two-year plan at mayorrothschild.com

Jonathan Rothschild is mayor of Tucson. Contact him at mayor1@tucsonaz.gov

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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