Representative Mark Finchem, Elected Chairman of The Legislative Rural Caucus
On January 15, 2019 The Legislative Rural Caucus announced leadership changes for the 2019 legislative session. Representative Mark Finchem (R-11) was elected chairman, and Representative Timothy Dunn (R-13) was elected vice chairman.
The Legislative Rural Caucus is a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators who meet weekly to discuss common challenges for rural communities that often conflict with urban needs and examine legislation that is intended to solve those challenges.
“While water supply is on everyone’s mind, there are many other challenges that rural Arizona faces,” said Representative Finchem. “This year members have voiced support for three major issues including: internet service infrastructure to increase availability, Arizona Department of Transportation infrastructure (roadway repair and maintenance), and employment opportunities. It is interesting to note that all three of these priorities are related to infrastructure, education and workforce availability.”
As the session progresses, the Legislative Rural Caucus will watch bills that come forward that might diminish the ability of rural counties to provide vital service to those who live outside of the city centers of Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff. Members all recognize that there is an untapped resource in the rural communities, which with the right infrastructure would bloom with prosperity and contribute even more to the quality of life for all Arizonans and visitors.
Last week Representative Finchem, Chairman of the Federal Relations Committee, hosted a presentation on how Arizona has been affected by Congressional overreach and public lands. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is interested in working with the western states to clean up our public lands, make them more user-friendly and make them self-supporting. The deferred maintenance that is pervasive across most public lands is an embarrassment and is a major factor driving major wildfires in the west. More to come on this important change in public lands policy.