Being the newest member of the Marana Town Council feels like walking uphill on snow; you make progress but you slip a lot. Government works much differently than owning a business, and things get done a lot quicker in my private working world than in my new political role.
But the challenges ahead are, frankly, exciting. Marana has an air of pent up energy, of ideas ready to come to life. There are community areas and rural; parks, trails and shopping areas throughout the town’s boundaries. The available space, location and diversity of the map make Marana one of the best places for business, and our transportation accesses through the I-10 corridor, a developing regional airport, and proximity to rail routes bode well for it becoming a major transportation and industrial hub.
I ran for office on a three-pronged platform: make the town more business-friendly, bring higher education facilities here, and develop our Heritage Arena in north Marana where rodeo and equine events are already occurring. The business of running a town involves important daily decisions, but I don’t intend to let them distract from these three reasons for which I was elected.
My first effort will be working to make Marana the best business town in southern Arizona. Permitting, zoning and plan approvals need to be streamlined so that people aren’t confused about the process. I want our town hall to help with location and facilities issues, information on tax entity and legal structure, and available advertising and promotion opportunities.
During my time collecting signatures to run for office I had the chance to meet dozens of interesting people. Those connected with the Marana Public schools extolled the caliber of dedicated teachers in the system, but lamented there were no local facilities of higher education. I intend to work to bring satellite campuses here to promote higher education, provide educational enrichment opportunities, and motivate our kids. I believe we can find creative ways of bringing this to pass with standalone facilities or joint ventures with local schools.
Marana has a real-time farming and ranching culture in the north. The Marana Stockyards has weekly cattle auctions. But there’s more: the Marana Heritage Arena along I-10 has a busy weekly schedule with bull riders, mutton-busters, and barrel riders helping to fill it out. Developed, this arena could become an even better venue for equine and livestock events. The dedicated people who show up all need to eat, sleep, shop and fuel locally which provides revenue for the town. It’s great fun to go and watch the bull riding action, too.
These three things make up the backbone of my efforts on behalf of Marana’s citizens over the next four years. I anticipate that I’ll use the first months of this term getting into the rhythm of council life, its schedule and duties, and relating to existing council members. I am jazzed about interacting with local leaders and working to represent the town’s interests with local and county governments. The next four years should be fun, and I believe the best place to be in Southern Arizona is Marana.
Dave Bowen is a member of the Marana Town Council.