Get out a map of the East Valley and find the spot where Mesa, Gilbert and Queen Creek converge. Now grab your shovel and head your pickup in that direction, because that’s where the gold will be.
Occupying this sweet spot of wealth that will come from jobs, commerce and learning are Williams Gateway Airport and Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus. To pull that gold out of the ground requires investment in more than sweat equity. That’s why it is so important that lawmakers from the East Valley are championing $108 million for three new buildings at what used to be called ASU East.
Fighting for a piece of a state budget surplus of more than $801 million on behalf of the campus and development of an area critical to job generation in the East Valley are Reps. Gary Pierce, R-Mesa, Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, and Bob Robson, R-Chandler.
In doing so, they are acting on an agenda pushed by the East Valley Partnership and political leaders in the region at the beginning of the legislative session.
Some 5,000 students are enrolled at the Polytechnic campus, with ASU officially projecting 15,000 by the year 2020. But we wonder if that number is on the low side, since every other projection has so far underestimated the super-charged rate of growth in the far East Valley.
With the downtown Phoenix power structure focused on biotechnology and the development of an ASU campus there, it’s gratifying to see these East Valley representatives use their clout to work for investment in the East Valley.
Pierce is majority whip and Robson is speaker pro tempore in the House. Russell Pearce is chairman of one of two House appropriations committees.
If they don’t bring this investment home for the East Valley’s future, we can’t expect anyone else to.