AZ 19 Welcomes the Local First Rural Policy Forum to
Beautiful Southern Arizona

AZ19 Regional Tourism Alliance will host the  Annual Local First’s Rural Policy Forum. AZ 19  Regional Tourism Alliance is a group of  Chambers, Tourism Groups, Associations and other like businesses that have joined together to promote the educational, historical, cultural heritage and economic attributes of southern Arizona.  Our focus is on sharing the unique beauty and inspirational sites along the 101-kilometer drive from South Tucson to Nogales, AZ.

The Forum usually draws 300 people.  The attendees come from all around  the State as well as from out of state.  The Forum will begin on Wednesday, August 4 with the Economic Development Tour and close on Friday, August 6.  The Economic Development Tour will start at the Town of Sahuarita in the Town Council Chambers.  Featured speakers at the Town of Sahuarita will include Dr. Manny Valenzuela, Superintendent Sahuarita Unified School District.  He will share the success and impact of the WINS program.  The WINS program is a collaboration between, the District, JTED, Pima Community College and local business leaders.  The most recent successful program designed through this collaboration is the Air Conditioning and Heating Technician Program developed to train high-demand technicians.   

Town Manager, Kelly Udall will share the plans for a Town Center for Sahuarita.  The plans have been drawn up for this exciting project.  The Town Center will give residents and nonresidents of Sahuarita a place to gather and create a real sense of Town Spirit.  The start date for this project has not been announced.  However, residents are supportive and eager to see this project become a reality.

Victor Gonzales, Economic Development Director for the Town of Sahuarita will share with the attendees how  to increase the economic value of your community through writing a successful grant.  Victor successfully wrote  a $3 million grant to develop the SAMTEC project.  A project designed to encourage clean,  light manufacturing employers to the area or entice local existing businesses to rent space and hire local talent.  The key to economic success is jobs, jobs, jobs!

The group will also hear from Jamie Chamberlain, President of the Port Authority in Nogales, Arizona  and member of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.  Jamie will offer an overview of the local and global economic impact of the international trade occurring in the AZ-19 corridor, specifically fresh produce and the products built in the maquiladoras (American manufactures across the US border in Mexico).

From the Town of Sahuarita to group will travel to Framers Investment Corporation (FICO), where Rick Walden will talk about the economic impact FICO has on the State as well as the  Community. He will also  discuss the impact of agriculture to the total State and National Economy. Then the group will reboard the bus and Tim Campbell will  join the group and talk about the  orchards, the water conservation project and how Farmers Investment Corporation (FICO’s ) water conservation project add values to the orchards.     

The next stop will be  La Posada,  where VP of Marketing, Paul Looman and Joni Condit, Board Trustee, President and CEO, will showcase La Posada and talk  about the economic impact the organization has on the local and the state economy.

The group’s last stop will be the Tubac Presidio where Shannon Stone, Park Director, will show a short video on the Presidio and then take the group on a tour of the Presidio. As the bus travels up to the  TOS Parking Lot the group will hear about many existing places to visit on the weekend or on another visit to our beautiful area.   They will hear about the great dark skies star gazing, the Historic Canoa Ranch, Madera Canyon, the year-round recreation area for hiking, cycling, camping, picnicking, viewing majestic sunsets, and  great fall foliage, CPAC, Titan Missile Museum, Golf Courses and Resorts, and much more including wine tasting and  great Southwest Cuisine.

After an exciting educational day, the group will finish their first day at the Longhorn Grill and Saloon in Amado at the Launch (networking) event enjoying tasty finger foods from five or our local restaurants while listening to music by local artist Angel Perez.  The next two days the group will be at Quail Creek all day and have the opportunity to learn about diverse Economic Development Opportunities for Rural Communities.   The goal is to learn about new opportunities that can be replicated in their own rural areas.   AZ 19 is pleased to bring this Forum to our area and showcase the beauty and culture of Southern Arizona.