We can imagine the smile of Gov. Janet Napolitano last week as she thought about copies of Parade magazine being delivered in Sunday newspapers, reaching millions of people across the country including Tribune readers throughout the East Valley and Scottsdale.
A Parade story featured Napolitano alongside seven other prominent female politicians, such as Sen. Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as possible contenders for president in 2008. The list was compiled by the White House Project, a New York-based nonpartisan group devoted to seeing a woman elected to the nation’s highest office.
The project believes these women have the best shot because they have generally strong public support from their natural constituents, and because these women are risk-takers who have demonstrated the ability to build coalitions.
This plum for Napolitano came just a couple of months after Time magazine profiled her as one of the nation’s five top governors. That news magazine said it was intrigued by Napolitano as an effective Democratic governor in a state where Republicans control the Legislature and hold a large advantage in voter registration.
There’s absolutely no evidence that Napolitano is contemplating a run for the White House at this point. But if Napolitano is having secret thoughts about “testing the waters” like Sen. John McCain, we feel it’s important to remind her of the issues that need to be addressed here in Arizona first.
There are the daily court fines the state is piling up for not adopting a permanent funding solution for English language learners. There’s her plan to bring state funding for full-day kindergarten to every school district, and her promise to sign into law a limited expansion of school choice with corporation tuition tax credits. Arizona is also looking to Napolitano to provide leadership on water planning during our long-term drought, and to identify additional ways to improve efficiency of our government while lowering our taxes. Finally, there’s this little matter of a gubernatorial election later this year.
Arizona’s voters will have to something to say about how long Napolitano keeps that winning smile.