Local Opinion: Come on, Arizona leaders, focus on real issues, not imaginary ones
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Local Opinion: Come on, Arizona leaders, focus on real issues, not imaginary ones

Scott Blades

The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.

Recently, I lost productivity and wasted more than an hour of my time because of an inefficient Arizona state agency. That would be bad enough, but then I read that instead of focusing on the issues that Arizona businesses (and individuals) need our government to fix, some of our state senators would rather focus on trying to sanction bias and hate.

In trying to update my company’s online business listing with the Arizona Corporation Commission, I ran into a mess of a bureaucracy.

The commission’s website suddenly wouldn’t recognize my account password that has always worked before. I tried to reset my password and that system wasn’t working. I called their customer support number.

I waited on hold for 35 minutes, finally giving up to try to get some more work done. Eventually, I called back, and waited on hold for an additional 40 minutes this time.

Finally, their customer service employee answered. Obviously, this state agency has some issues.

But instead of addressing this and so many other important issues affecting our state, such as childhood education (Arizona ranks among the worst 10 states for education funding) or poverty (Arizona ranks in the bottom 10 states for people living in poverty), I read that our state senators would rather spend their time (on our taxpayer dimes) dreaming up “solutions” to problems that exist only in their minds.

Some of these senators are spending our state resources trying to create a new law that would require public school staff to use the sex or gender pronoun that “corresponds to the sex listed on that student’s birth certificate” — regardless of direction or desires of the parents or child.

Here’s another attempt to sanction someone’s personal religious values into state law: House Bill 2080 would require that any document issued by any agency, board, commission or department of the state only indicate an individual’s sex as either male or female, in an attempt to try to erase people who are trans or nonbinary.

Yet another example: A state senator has decided that her biggest priority for Arizona becoming better is to spend her time trying to pass a law to prohibit discussion of homosexuality during sex education classes in schools.

The list goes on.

I sure don’t know which Arizona businesses would prefer that our legislators focus on those issues instead of fixing our state.

Personally, I would prefer that Arizona’s Legislature work to make our infrastructure better, make our kids safer and healthier, prepare our people and businesses for the future.

What I do know is that some faith communities would prefer that our legislators spend their (our) time and resources to codify their own personal version of Christianity and their own religious views into state law, and are successfully electing and lobbying our elected representatives to do their bidding — instead of making our state more accepting and inclusive, instead of addressing the poverty and lack of resources, instead of making our state government effective.

The version of Christianity that I practice teaches something that is very different, and I’m not fond of these elected officials who get in office to impose their “morality” instead of leading Arizona into creating more healthy kids and families.

Come on, Arizona. Let’s focus on helping our kids, our families (of all kinds), our businesses, our communities our state to thrive.

Arizona deserves leaders who focus on the challenges we face, and then craft solutions that will make us better.

If the people of Arizona can focus on getting people elected who care about that instead of codifying their morality, we’ll all be better off.

Scott Blades is a business executive.

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