Greetings from Sierra Vista, where today we continue our Southern Arizona swing as part of our 2015 Arizona Road Show.
Yesterday we were in Tucson and Nogales. I want to thank my friend Lea Marquez Peterson, the dynamic president and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, for setting up a great business roundtable with Tucson leaders where we had the chance to talk about the biggest issues facing the state, including our work with A for Arizona and Lisa Graham Keegan to grow the impact of ‘A’-level schools in high poverty areas.
We also had a chance to visit the Port of Tucson, a privately operated inland port that is quickly making Tucson an international trade hub. The port has a massive footprint on the east side of Tucson, offering nearly 2 million square feet of warehousing and distribution capabilities. We saw the impressive truck and rail transshipment facilities at the port where containers from Asia arrive via rail five times a week from Los Angeles and Long Beach and are loaded onto trucks bound for U.S. destinations.
We then headed south to Nogales for a tour of the Border Patrol’s facility there. We got a great overview of the agency’s efforts to curb illegal entries. Those efforts are making a real impact. In 2000, there were 616,000 total arrests in the Tucson Border Patrol sector. Today that number is less than 90,000. After the discussion of trade facilitation at the Port of Tucson, the conversation with Border Patrol was a great reminder of the enforcement aspect of border management.
As we’re doing at each stop, we also took the time to visit with the area’s education leaders. Inspiring things are happening in the schools in Santa Cruz County, proving that outstanding schools can thrive in any corner of the state.
More to come today from Sierra Vista, where we’ve already had the chance to visit with Mayor Rick Mueller and a group of education leaders.