Scott Walker to Headline Arizona Chamber of Commerce Leadership Event

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Republican 2016 hopeful Gov. Scott Walker (WI) is headlining a Leadership Series event for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry on March 25 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown.

The event will be hosted by radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt and will feature welcoming remarks by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R).

According to the Chamber’s press release, the event is the first of the Leadership Series luncheons that feature “prominent political leaders from around the country who are considering a run for the White House.”

Regarding Walker, the Chamber says, “Job growth has marked Walker’s tenure, with Wisconsin adding hundreds of thousands of new jobs during his administration. Chief Executive Magazine in 2010 ranked Wisconsin as the 41st Best State for Business. By 2014, Wisconsin had climbed to 14th in the magazine’s rankings.”

“We are thrilled that Gov. Walker will be our first Leadership Series speaker,” Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry president and CEO Glenn Hamer said in a statement. “Gov. Walker brings a positive, pro-growth perspective to governing that will make him a formidable challenger should he pursue the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2016. We can’t wait to hear from him on March 25.”

Hamer was recently a vocal critic of Arizona’s newly elected superintendent of schools, Diane Douglas, who won the race for her position with a primarily anti-Common Core campaign. During a controversy that erupted last month between Douglas and Ducey, the superintendent fired two state Board of Education administrators who were proponents of Common Core, while Ducey charged that she acted illegally.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which lobbies in support of the Common Core standards, condemned Douglas’s actions.

“It’s bizarre and outrageous and offensive and she should apologize to all she’s offended,” said Hamer, according to the New York Times. “Her comments and behavior aren’t necessarily following a linear pattern at this point.”

Douglas has described Common Core as “a de facto mandate, only to be renamed Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards,” and called the initiative “the latest fad, top-down approach or cure-all sold as the solution for student achievement.”

As reported last year when the state Senate Education Committee voted to eliminate Common Core in Arizona, Hamer disagreed with the move, saying, “Our standards and our expectations were set too low,” and added that business leaders had worked with a group of governors to create new standards that would ensure high school graduates would have the skills necessary to go to work or move on to college.

Similarly, Chad Heinrich, lobbyist for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, said the move to eliminate Common Core could make Arizona students unemployable in the future.

“We have workforce needs that we would prefer to meet by hiring Arizona graduates,” Heinrich said. “If Arizona graduates are not prepared, our employers could be forced to look to other states to fill those needs.”


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