2019 HIGHLIGHTS OF FORUMS, EVENTS, ADVOCACY AND MORE.
MAYOR AND COUNCIL FORUM
Arizona Forward invited the City of Phoenix Mayoral and Council candidates to participate in a forum with our members. Candidates shared their views and action plans as it related to sustainability and environmental issues.
DROUGHT CONTINGENCY PLAN (DCP) FORUM
Many Arizona Forward members were involved in the Drought Contingency Planning process for Arizona and were instrumental in the agreement that was ultimately signed by Congress to reduce risks from ongoing drought and protect the single most important water resource in the western United States. Arizona Forward held a forum for expert panelists to provide a statewide perspective to our members on this critical issue for our state and the Lower Colorado River Basin.
STATEWIDE SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT
The record-breaking member attendance participated in conversations with leaders and experts to address Arizona issues in water, forest health, transportation and city resiliency. The summit feedback was incorporated into our Issue Committee strategies and guided our efforts to begin to formulate a Statewide Sustainability Roadmap.
SUSTAINABLE TOURISM LUNCHEON
Arizona Forward hosted a luncheon in Flagstaff that focused on opportunities, challenges and solutions that encourage economic progression, while balancing the impacts an influx of tourism can have in the Northern regions of our state. Sustainable tourism respects both local people and the traveler, cultural heritage and the environment.
ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS & 50TH ANNIVERSARY GALA
Another record-breaking event with more than 650 registrants and 30 elected officials in attendance. A total of 93 projects were recognized, and 50th anniversary awards were presented to all three state universities. We celebrated our 50-year history and reflected on how we can continue to make a significant impact for the next 50 years.
EMERGING SUSTAINABILITY LEADERS PROGRAM
In May, 2019, 14 early to mid-level professionals graduated from the successful inaugural class, and 15 new professionals were selected for the program that began in October 2019. Arizona’s future is in the hands of upcoming generations, and this program is designed to develop and engage future leaders for the state.
PROP 105 ADVOCACY
Arizona Forward advocated against the Prop 105 ballot initiative for the City of Phoenix including authoring an op-ed, sharing digital campaigns, and hosting informational meetings and phone banks. We are pleased with the outcome for Phoenix metro’s light-rail extensions.
CLIMATE CHANGE ROUNDTABLES WITH CONGRESS
Our members participated in roundtables with Congressman Stanton and O’Halleran and Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s office to address the impacts of climate change in Arizona. These roundtables began a dialogue that will continue in 2020 and is one that will also be expanded to other Arizona congressional leaders.
STATEWIDE AUTONOMOUS AND CONNECTED (AV/CVs) TRANSPORTATION TOWNHALLS
Members from Arizona Forward’s Transportation Committee traveled across the state to collect feedback from communities about AV/CV adoption. The information collected from the townhalls will be provided to the Arizona legislature and statewide policy makers to help them prepare and plan for this transportation shift. A white paper will also be published by year end 2019.
Arizona Forward’s long-time support for the Grand Canalscape project was instrumental in the successful completion of this project in 2019 which will be celebrated in the spring of 2020. A section of a once dry riverbed west of downtown Tucson is now receiving treated effluent to restore the riparian area and help replenish aquifers as part of the Santa Cruz River Heritage Project. And, Arizona Forward continues to advocate for the Rio Reimagined project and the eight communities along the river corridor who are working to create a vibrant urban riverfront for the Valley.
Arizona Forward is excited to add value for our members this year by including additional opportunities for advocacy, events and new ways to help them network, stay engaged and informed in 2020. Following are a few initiatives in the works. More details on these efforts will be shared in the coming months.
In September 2019, Arizona Forward distributed a survey to our entire membership base. The feedback helped shape our strategy and defined focal areas for 2020. We listened to our members and heard that they are interested in more advocacy efforts and increased involvement in outlying areas – both is a priority for Arizona Forward in 2020. Results of the survey also revealed top reasons why members find value in Arizona Forward.