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Cross-border opportunities to improve the economies of Arizona and Sonora were the focus of an Ari-Son Megaregion meeting that brought together Valley mayors and recently-elected Sonoran officials.

Hey, Neighbor!
Local Governments in Arizona and Sonora Explore Economic Development Opportunities

Economic Development

MEGAREGION ARISON LOGOCross-border opportunities to improve the economies of Arizona and Sonora were the focus of an Ari-Son Megaregion meeting that brought together Valley mayors and recently-elected Sonoran officials. Ari-Son is a coalition of local elected officials from Arizona and Sonora who work together on economic issues of interest to both of the neighboring states. 

About 140 business and elected officials met in late August to discuss the impact of Mexico’s recent presidential election and to share updates on tourism and other economic development initiatives. Border communities in attendance were Douglas, Naco, Nogales, Sasabe, Lukeville, and San Luis. 

“It is important to continue to build communication bridges between Arizona and Sonora,” said Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) Chair Gail Barney, mayor of Queen Creek. “It was helpful to learn more about the newly elected leadership in Sonora and how we can best work with them to increase economic development in both our regions.”

Mesa Vice Mayor David Luna, who emceed the event and is a member of the MAG Economic Development Committee, stated that a number of members from the new party in Mexico attended. The National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) won 53 percent of the popular vote in Mexico, with the president beginning his term in December. Although only in existence for four years, the MORENA party controls 53 percent of the Senate in Mexico and 61 percent of Congress.

“The MORENA party has incredible legislative influence over the majorities of both Congress and the Senate in Mexico,” said Vice Mayor Luna. “There will be more consolidation of power in some of the gubernatorial elections as well as the mid-terms in 2021. This was a great opportunity to start bridging relationships with individuals from this new party.”

The agenda included a welcome by Juan Ciscomani, senior advisor to Governor Doug Ducey on regional and international affairs. Other topics included a discussion of SkyBridge Arizona, the nation’s first international air cargo hub to house both Mexican and United States customs. The service will be operated out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and will enable e-commerce companies, manufacturers and other commercial interests conducting business in Mexico and Latin America to more efficiently transport goods between countries.

Along with Mr. Ciscomani, Mayor Barney, and Vice Mayor Luna, speakers included Intermestic Partners President and CEO Marco Lopez; Ramirez Advisors International President Luis Ramirez; Visit Tucson Executive Vice President Felipe Garcia; and Buckeye Mayor Jackie Meck, who chairs the MAG Economic Development Committee.

An optional economic development tour followed the meeting, with visits to ASU Skysong and Galvanize, a Phoenix incubator for companies building tech-enabled innovations. 

Published November 1, 2018

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