Gov. Janet Napolitano received a warm reception Monday at a new Scottsdale senior center where she commented on the city’s photo enforcement program and statewide issues ranging from education to border security.
About 75 primarily senior residents attended the city-sponsored Scottsdale Policy Forum to hear the governor give prepared remarks and answer audience questions read by Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross.
Napolitano, seeking re-election in November against Republican challenger Len Munsil, talked primarily about statewide issues but did answer a question about Scottsdale’s Loop 101 photo enforcement program, which concludes its test run next month and will then undergo an evaluation.
“My view is the equipment should not be removed while (the evaluation) is under way,” Napolitano said. “Without predicting what the process will show, anecdotally, it’s been a successful complement to having additional (Department of P ublic Safety) officers.”
Napolitano used the forum to tout the state’s economy, citing how the state went from a deficit to a surplus during her term, as well as increases in teacher’s pay and the funding for voluntary full-day kindergarten starting in 2008 — all of which received applause from the audience.
Napolitano discussed adapting education curriculum to include a greater emphasis on science and math, which she said is necessary to prepare students for 21st century jobs.
Jean Deschriver, who recently moved to Scottsdale from Alabama where she was a teacher, was impressed by Napolitano’s education policies. “She is truly the education governor,” Deschriver said. There was only one question to Napolitano on illegal immigration: “When are you going to put your foot down on illegal immigration?” Napolitano said securing the border is a federal responsibility. While Congress has failed to do so, Napolitano said, she has sent National Guard troops to the border and continues to push for additional funding.
The last two questions, about solar energy and pollution, preceded a proclamation ceremony to recognize Scottsdale for its Green Building program and specifically the new senior center, which is seeking certification as the first municipal building in Arizona to be awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s gold certification.
Before Napolitano arrived, five of the governor’s policy advisers addressed the audience on education, the environment, her legislative agenda, public safety and freeways.
Napolitano is scheduled to visit a Payson elementary school today and tour Gila Community College in Globe.