By Keren G. Raz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday October 30, 2002
Janet Napolitano, the Democratic candidate for governor, said "It's high time for a change" in Arizona.
After being the state's attorney general for the past four years, Napolitano said she has the "no nonsense" attitude and the long-term vision that is needed to lead Arizona toward a better future.
She said that with her practical solutions she will end the budget problems without raising taxes or cutting K-12 education.
Her numbers add up, she said.
Napolitano said that unlike her Republican opponent, Matt Salmon, she is willing to address the budget woes by closing corporate tax loopholes.
"I'd rather be known for biotech rather than call centers," she said, pointing to the current sales tax exemption for telemarketers.
Napolitano said that as governor, she would want to lead Arizona towards a new economy that is based more on technology than agriculture and tourism.
We're going to be a new-economy state," she said. "We'll increase activity with a knowledge-based economy."
Napolitano said that as part of her plan to reshift Arizona towards a high-tech economy, she will make education her top priority.
"I will fight, fight, fight for the universities and community colleges," she said.
She plans to minimize university cuts while also helping the universities find other sources of revenue.
"It's a good thing to have the university be more self-sufficient," she said.
Napolitano supports a change in the Arizona constitution to allow universities to invest in researchers' companies.
She also said that she wants to see more technology transfers between the universities and the private sector in order to generate additional revenue.
She said she wants the universities to begin to think creatively.
Napolitano points to President Pete Likins' Focused Excellence as an intriguing example of creative thinking.
"That's exactly the thinking outside the box that we should be doing," she said.
When thinking about tuition, Napolitano said she only supports an increase if two conditions are met.
"There must be resources to provide grants to help those who can't pay, and the revenue generated from a tuition increase should go back to the classroom," she said.
Born in New Mexico and a graduate of Virginia Law School, Napolitano began to climb the political ranks in Arizona after she moved here in 1983.
After working as a partner for the Lewis and Roca law firm, she was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.
In 1998, she was elected as Arizona attorney general.
Now as frontrunner in the gubernatorial race according to a Rocky Mountain poll, Napolitano said that she is hoping for the opportunity to improve Arizona's educational system.
She said that when her grandfather immigrated to the United States from Italy, he was limited by a fourth-grade education.
Only one generation later, her father became a scientist, a professor and then contributed to the first heart transplant.
Napolitano attributed her father's success to the public education system.
"We need to make our educational system be successful like that," Napolitano said.