We wrapped up the southern swing of our 2015 Arizona Road Show on Wednesday with a visit to Sierra Vista, home of the Army’s Fort Huachuca.
These stops through Southern Arizona – including to Yuma, Tucson and Nogales – have given us real insight into the economic might that exists in this region. Much of that is because of these communities’ proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, where every day a portion of the trade that flows between our two nations goes through its final inspections before entering the commerce of the neighboring country.
And it’s not just trade. Mexican visitors to Arizona spend $7 million a day in Arizona’s stores, restaurants, hotel and tourist attractions. Some business owners we met with in Sierra Vista shared that 30 percent of their revenues come from Mexican visitors driving across the border to shop. It’s obvious we should be pursuing ideas that make cross-border tourism easier, an issue the Maricopa Association of Governments has championed.
As we’ve been able to do at every stop, we visited with local elected and business leadership, including Sierra Vista’s dynamic mayor, Rick Mueller. We also were able to talk about the good work of schools in the area that are producing excellent results in low-income areas, proof positive that a great education can be had regardless of what part of the state a school is located. In fact, the highest concentration of low-income “A” schools are in southern Arizona. The no-excuses culture of high expectations for all is strong in the southern part of our state, and it was great to spend some time with the leaders who work hard for this distinction every day.
A real treat was the chance to visit Fort Huachuca, home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command. At 157 square miles, this traditional home of the Buffalo Soldiers boasts both an interesting history and an undeniable benefit to our national defense. Due to its unique geographic and geological features, Ft. Huachuca’s assets cannot be replicated anywhere else in the country.
This is where the global cyber war is being waged. The men and women each day are defending the U.S. against cyber threats from rouge nations, criminal enterprises and lone wolves. With the infrastructure of Ft. Huachuca, and the unique collaborations taking place between industry and the UA South to build a pipeline of students with intelligence-related training, Sierra Vista is uniquely positioned to defend our country against these new and emerging threats.
Next up on our tour: Northern Arizona!