Despite what people see in the media, Congress is working together to find a solution to education and immigration issues, according to two members of Congress who addressed the crowd at the East Valley Partnership’s Statespersons Luncheon on Monday, May 12.

Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema and Congressman Matt Salmon took part in a discussion during the event. When asked about education both agreed there should be local control over standards and both said they are working on making sure college is affordable for the middle class.

“We have in our state constitution a provision that says higher education should be as close to free as possible,” Salmon said. “Right now the funding levels for higher education are at about 1963 funding levels. I think we need to do a lot better for that… I think as leaders we all need to step up to the plate.”

Salmon said he hopes during the race for governor education is an issue that is focused on.

When it comes to immigration both agreed that something needs to be done, and will be done, but not before the election.

“I do believe that the speaker wants to get it done,” Sinema said. “He just needs to find the courage… We have the votes to get it done. It’s vital for Arizona’s short-term and long-term economic interests.”

This was the Seventh Annual Statespersons Luncheon. The event brings together members of Congress from opposing sides to have a public discussion about the issues.

“I think it was very encouraging,” said Rep. Jeff Dial. “I think Arizona has done a good job in the tax reform area. Some of the areas we need to concentrate on are infrastructure and education. I think both sides of the aisle recognize that and I think that’s something we’re concentrating on in the next two years.”

For more information on the East Valley Partnership, visit

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