Saturday, January 24, 2009

Goodbye Governor Napolitano

So Janet Napolitano has left for Washington [the new US Secretary of Homeland Security] after roughly six years as governor of Arizona. I am not exactly sure how I feel about her. In 2002, I voted for Matt Salmon because at the time I was foolish enough to believe that voting anything but Republican was wrong. In 2006, I reversed my voting trends and voted for a Democrat for the first time in my life. I thought she had a done a great job in her first term, I didn't think Len Munsil was ready to be governor, and I desperately wanted to see someone serving who valued education. The economy of the state of Arizona is in the crapper right now, but then again that simply matches the economy of the rest of the United States. Can we blame that on Napolitano? She hasn't exactly cut any spending so chances are likely that some of the blame must fall on her shoulders. She never won over any conservatives with her abortion or illegal immigration stances, but you had to respect how much she did for education and social services. As new Secretary of State [of AZ] Ken Bennett said of Napolitano, "In general, I think she gave people a feeling of confidence and optimism and competence," he said. "In other areas, unfortunately, I think she's leaving the state worse off than she found it."

How do you evaluate a politican is the question then. As a historian (I will qualify myself as one since I will be graduating with my history degree this May) I recognize that time is needed to truly evaluate anyone. Looking back at Napolitano's leadership will deem whether or not it was effective. In reality that is what we are all left with. We must bust our tails in the present and hope that our legacy is that of leaving the future well-stocked and prepared for. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices now to prepare for the future. My hope is that the sacrifices we make now we don't do to appease a short term budget goal and therefore crush our future generations of Arizona. [HINT: Do not cut the education budget of this state Gov. Brewer!]