Arizona May Follow Indiana’s Lead with New Agency

Get rid of the Department of Commerce. Move away from politics to policy. Create a new public-private agency that is squarely focused on job creation and economic development efforts. Indiana did it earlier this decade. Arizona’s plan sounds similar.

Gov. Jan Brewer plans to issue an executive order within the next month that will allow her to move ahead with a plan to create a quasi-public agency that will eventually replace the Arizona Department of Commerce.

Brewer first proposed abolishing the department in mid-April, saying the move was key to boosting the state’s economic-development efforts, including attracting and retaining business, growing jobs and competing in the global economy.

She wanted the Legislature to authorize her changes, but lawmakers adjourned before that happened.

It’s not clear exactly how much authority Brewer has to move ahead on her own, but her staff said this week that a legal analysis suggests the governor could use her powers to create the new authority, put in place its 15-member board of directors, establish parts of its budget and begin efforts to target new business and jobs.

Other aspects, including dissolving the Department of Commerce, would take legislative action; lawmakers aren’t expected to reconvene until January.

"We’re in the drafting phase now," Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said. "We think we can do quite a bit. . . . We can do most of it this way."

Republican legislative leadership said Wednesday that they were not aware of the governor’s plans, although both Senate President Bob Burns, R-Peoria, and House Majority leader John McComish, R-Phoenix, indicated there was "broad acceptance" that the Department of Commerce needed to be revamped.

Arizona Could Be Going Nookyular

Forgive me. I allowed a certain former President to draft the headline.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer spoke about Arizona’s economic future last week, offering her contention that the Grand Canyon State should strive to become an energy hub. Like many states, she suggested Arizona focus on renewable energy. Additionally, however, she sees nuclear as a "cornerstone" option for the future.  

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer says Arizona’s economic future may hinge on making the state a hub for renewable- and nuclear-energy development that can both power the state and drive job creation.

Speaking Tuesday in Phoenix at a gathering of the Business Summit of the West, Brewer laid out what she called "a vision for Arizona’s second century." It’s one that leans heavily on the production of wind, solar and other leading-edge technologies as she looks to position the state as a leader in green energy.

Brewer also said it’s time to revisit an older power source: nuclear.

"Let there be no doubt. Let there be no mistake. Let there be no mischaracterization: I’m a strong advocate for the development of more nuclear energy in Arizona," Brewer told the conference of elected officials and business leaders at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa. "Nuclear power is at the cornerstone of our clean-energy future."

Her words come two decades after the completion of the state’s Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. The triple-reactor plant 50 miles west of downtown Phoenix was the nation’s last such facility to come online.

Despite a few horrific accidents in the past, nuclear power is making a comeback as a low-emission energy alternative due to many safety improvements in the past few decades.