Arizona is a great place for millennials. It’s the perfect example of an ideal state for our generation to live, work, and play. We are the generation of start-ups, entrepreneurs and Internet campaigns, with a burning desire to express our innovative ideas. And in November 2014, we solidified Arizona as the ideal breeding ground for these ideas when we elected a governor who has proven to us that he wants millennials to have every opportunity to succeed.
Generation Y is all about speed. We like to see change, and we like to see change happen quickly. After one of the shortest legislative sessions in Arizona’s history, our governor made it clear that he likes to see change happen quickly, too. In just 81 days, millennials saw a number of new bills pass that will keep us pursuing innovation for years to come.
Let’s begin with a topic that my generation is particularly passionate about: craft beer. Arizona is proud to call itself home to dozens of craft breweries that are equally popular among tourists and locals. With so many breweries within close proximity to Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, students in the 21+ age range have become quite fond of Arizona’s homegrown beers. When many beloved breweries were threatened with having to close their restaurants due to a statewide production limit, our generation immediately took to social media to express our concern. Thanks to our well-connected and social media savvy governor, our voices were heard. This session, the governor signed Senate Bill 1030 which allows our favorite microbreweries to continue to grow and thrive. Thanks to him, we can continue to boast about our state as home to some of America’s best breweries.
We’ve already established that millennials enjoy craft beer. But another thing we care about is our ability to get to and from a brewery safely and affordably. That’s why you’ll notice almost every single Generation Y smartphone user has a Lyft or Uber application on their phone. We’re crazy about ridesharing. It’s easy, safe, and affordable. Near a college campus, it’s practically a travesty not to take advantage of ridesharing and its advantages. That’s why we thank you, Gov. Ducey, for making Arizona a place where start-ups like Uber and Lyft can be given a chance to succeed, while making sure those of us who use their services are well protected and insured. In a national debate over the regulation of ridesharing, our governor has put Arizona ahead of the curve.
Like ridesharing, our generation loves coming up with new solutions to old problems. We love to be our own entrepreneurs and find innovative ways to make and raise money. That’s why many millennials have embraced online money-raising platforms, like Kickstarter, to help fund our ideas. This is another example of how our governor has protected our interests by helping us cultivate our spirit of innovation. By signing House Bill 2591, he has allowed small businesses and entrepreneurs in Arizona to raise capital from investors and offer equity to them through crowdfunding, making it clear the governor wants to see entrepreneurship thrive in this state.
The governor’s belief in entrepreneurship and cutting-edge technology extends to the medical field as well. He signed into law H.B. 2645, which allows anyone to get laboratory medical testing without a physician’s orders. This means companies like Theranos, which is helmed by 31-year-old self-made billionaire Elizabeth Holmes, can thrive in Arizona. The Theranos technology allows for a battery of tests with just a tiny drop of blood, empowering patients with knowledge and driving down health care costs.
On a similar note, Gov. Ducey has also protected us from being pushed into higher tax brackets should we ever receive a raise. Our generation appreciates follow-through on promises, and we certainly need to thank the governor for following through on this promise made during his State of the State address. When he said he would protect taxpayers from being pushed into higher tax brackets, he meant it. By signing House Bill 2001, the governor made it clear yet again that he wants Arizona to be a place where businesses can thrive and taxpayers won’t be punished for making more money. We like the sound of that.
If you’ve ever had the fortunate opportunity to meet Gov. Ducey, you’ll instantly be reminded that his respect for young people is genuine. In the private sector as CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, his company gave many teenagers their first job, so he understands who’s entering today’s workforce. He’s also a dad. Gov. Ducey has three children, and it’s clear when talking to him that he wants to make Arizona a place where his children and all other children can thrive.
As a millennial, I want to thank Gov. Ducey on behalf of my generation for protecting our interests. I look forward to seeing our state continue to grow under the leadership of a governor who embraces our entrepreneurial spirit and does everything he can to protect it.
Melanie Lehnhardt is the assistant to the president and CEO at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry. She’ll be graduating from Arizona State University’s W.P Carey School of Business later this month.
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans. http://www.azchamber.com/.