Sinema Launches Rural Development Working Group in Pinetop-Lakeside

Mar 6, 2023

Senator’s working group brings Arizonans together to develop and deliver lasting solutions to the issues facing rural Arizona communities

PINETOP-LAKESIDE – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema launched her newly-formed Rural Development Working Group – an assembly of local leaders from rural communities across the state – to deliver real results on the issues impacting families and communities in rural Arizona.
“Thanks to our partnerships with Arizonans from across the state, we’ve delivered real results on water security, economic opportunity, wildfire prevention and forest management, mental health care, and more. Our new Rural Development Working Group allows us to keep working side by side with all Arizonans to deliver lasting solutions,” said Sinema.
The partnership represents the participants’ shared dedication to focusing on the unique issues impacting rural Arizona – from wildfires, to forest management, to rural health care, to substance abuse, to broadband, and more.
Members of Sinema’s newly-launched working group who attended the first meeting in-person include: Pinetop-Lakeside Mayor Stephanie Irwin, Pinetop-Lakeside Vice Mayor Sterling Beus, Navajo County Supervisor Daryl Seymore, Winslow Economic Development Director Una Wirkebau, Show Low Vice Mayor Connie Kakavas, St. Johns Mayor Spencer Udall, Snowflake Mayor Byron Lewis, Navajo County Supervisor Fern Benally, Winslow Mayor Roberta Cano, Holbrook Mayor Kathleen Smith, Taylor Vice Mayor Jason Brubaker, Apache County Supervisor Nelson Davis, and many more who attended the inaugural roundtable virtually.
Click HERE for photos of Sinema’s event.
During the pandemic, Sinema held weekly phone calls with elected leaders and their staff to share information, answer questions, and hear firsthand from officials around the state to coordinate an effective response and better advocate on behalf of all Arizona communities’ needs. The newly-launched rural working group builds on Sinema’s success facilitating a cooperative network of elected officials during the pandemic to understand the challenges uniquely impacting families and communities in rural Arizona.  
In recent years, Sinema has accomplished multiple bipartisan victories that deliver long-lasting solutions to rural communities across Arizona. In particular, Sinema’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law – legislation she wrote, negotiated, and ushered into law – addresses many of rural Arizona’s biggest priorities, including water infrastructure and security and wildfire prevention and mitigation.
Sinema’s infrastructure law provides $3 billion to implement a 10-year plan to fight wildfires in Arizona and across the country, $61 million of which will be invested directly in Arizona for the implementation of the Four Forests Restoration Initiative (4FRI) as well as in four critical recovery and mitigation projects: the Museum Fire Sediment Reduction Project, the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project, the Coconino National Forest Cragin Watershed Protection Project, and the Tonto National Forest Cooperative Forest Restoration Project.
Sinema additionally led negotiations on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – legislation reducing community violence by expanding mental and behavioral health resources for vulnerable populations. In a particular win for rural Arizona, Sinema’s law invests over $8 billion to fully-fund high quality mental health and addiction services through Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, which are required to provide crisis services that are available 24/7 and serve anyone who requests care for mental health or substance abuse, regardless of their ability to pay.