Creating job opportunities is a high priority for ASU journalism and public relations alumnus Taylor McArthur, 24, as he seeks a seat in the Arizona Senate.
Growing up, McArthur’s parents told him if he worked hard, he would succeed in life, but he said politicians should actively create opportunities so others can succeed.
“It’s pretty simple (that) if you work hard then you can succeed, but there is another part of that equation,” he said. “If you work hard and there are opportunities available to you, then you can succeed, but we see it right now that you can work as hard as you want, but if there are no opportunities, then you can’t succeed.”
People work hard to get through college but don’t have opportunities to get the jobs they want after graduation, McArthur said. He said that he decided to run because other candidates campaigning for an open state Senate seat representing parts of Mesa, Apache Junction and San Tan Valley weren’t focused on that.
“I think that we need people in the state Senate who are focused on making sure that there are opportunities for everyone who is willing to work hard for them,” he said. “We want to make sure there are opportunities and people are creating jobs, and I feel that the candidates who were coming forward weren’t really focused on the right things.”
Deciding to run for office wasn’t easy, but it was something McArthur and his wife, Lindsey, felt was the right thing to do, he said.
“Lindsey and I really like Arizona and will probably stay here for the rest of our lives if we have any say in it, and we are getting ready to start a family,” he said. “So for us, we were talking to each other about what we want for our kids, and we just want our kids to have more opportunities than we ever had.”
Running on a platform of opportunity, McArthur said he wants people to know he is focused on creating jobs and making education better.
“My entire platform is we need to increase opportunity in Arizona, and we need to focus on the right things, and the right things for me are jobs and education,” he said.
McArthur started his first company, McArthur Janitorial, when he graduated from high school and received a grant from the Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative at ASU for another startup business, Abel Foods, in 2011. He said his background in entrepreneurship drives him to help job creators and students connect.
“We need to do things that will enable entrepreneurs to create jobs that will help people after they graduate from school, and we also need to make sure our kids have the absolute best education we can offer here in Arizona,” he said.
Making these changes may be difficult, but having new energy in the Senate will make them happen, McArthur said.
“What we need some more of in our state Legislature is passion, optimism and energy to make these things happen,” he said. “I think that Arizona is a leader in a lot of areas, so we are doing well, but there is a lot more we can do to make it better.”
McArthur said being young will help him create opportunities for Arizonans.
“Being young is a real benefit for me right now, and my wife and I plan on being in Arizona for a long time,” he said. “We want to do everything we can right now to make Arizona the best possible place it can be to raise our family.”
McArthur’s journalism background will also help him achieve his goals in office, he said.
“You learn to be inquisitive, which I think is extremely valuable for someone who is running for office,” he said. “You want someone who is asking the right questions, and you want someone to make their decisions based on the facts, and in journalism school, you learn how to do that.”
Understanding the facts and not making preconceived determinations of issues are important and something he wants people to know he will do while in office, McArthur said.
“A lot of people go into this and have their minds made up already on many issues,” he said. “I have principles. I’m a conservative Republican, and I believe in the Constitution and I believe in enabling entrepreneurs and business, but I will make decisions based on the facts when I am a state Senator in order to do what is best for the state of Arizona.”
Staying focused and seeing how focused someone is makes it easy to predict how successful someone will be in any position, McArthur said.
“I look around and see too many young people who are stuck and can’t move forward,” he said. “We can’t lose sight of what is important, and we can’t lose sight of the fact that we need to keep our economy moving in the right direction to increase opportunities for people.”
McArthur’s former professor Dan Gillmor said he saw early on the potential McArthur had for politics.
“I thought it was fairly clear that he had the skills that someone in that business needs, like the ability to speak,” he said. “He is very smart, and I thought this certainly made sense that he would move in this direction.”
Abraham Hamadeh, McArthur’s former colleague at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, said he thinks being young will benefit McArthur if he’s elected to the Senate.
“Taylor is young and he is driven and motivated and very bright,” he said. “The Arizona Senate really needs some young folks in there to get our economy moving forward and represent Arizona, especially the new generation.”
McArthur said he doesn’t know if he will ever run for another office, but he is focused on the job he wants to do in Arizona.
“I don’t know if I’ll continue on or ever run for anything else,” he said. “This could be the only thing I ever run for, but I believe I can make a difference right now.”
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