Arizona hasn't done enough to foster a better relationship with Mexico.
Over and over again, we have heard about the importance of building concrete relationships with our neighbor south of the border. However, have we as a state done enough to guarantee the confidence of Mexico in order for us to work together?
About three years ago, House Speaker Andy Tobin approached me to become a part of the ad-hoc committee that would explore the venture of doing business with Mexico. Initially I explained to Speaker Tobin that in order for Arizona to do business with Mexico we needed to start building relationships with key individuals. One of my recommendations to the delegation that traveled to Mexico was that we needed to make changes to the policies that impeded Mexican individuals from being able to contribute to our state. Upon our arrival to Mexico City, the first question Mexico's elected officials had was, "Why should we do business with a state that does not want to do business with our people in their state?"
This week Gov. Doug Ducey is visiting Mexico and we still have not been able to justify that first question asked. Arizona was one of the states that suffered the most during the recession and we haven't fully recovered. There is considerable untapped potential in Arizona-Mexico trade. However, we still have not developed relationships with main stakeholders. Growing up in South Phoenix the most important trait that I was surrounded with was trust, trust within the community. Mexican culture is based on trust amongst families and friends, and if you are able to prove that you possess this quality then it will not just be one individual that will do business with you but their entire network.
We cannot continue to sit on the sidelines and allow Texas or New Mexico to establish a concrete relationship wherein Arizona would miss out on a golden opportunity. Governor Paul Fanning once said about Mexico and Arizona, "God made us neighbors, let us be good neighbors."
To move forward we must first change policies and examine behaviors that have made Arizona ground zero for bad legislation and oppression.