Recipients to be honored for their support of technology and STEM education initiatives at the virtual Governor’s Celebration of Innovation event on November 4, 2020
The Outstanding Technology Senator of the Year, Outstanding Technology Representative of the Year and the Tech 10 Legislators were announced today by the Arizona Technology Council, in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority. The winning legislators will receive their honors at the 2020 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Awards (GCOI), which will take place during a live virtual event on Wednesday, November 4 from 4 to 7:30 p.m.
“The rapid growth of Arizona’s technology industry over the last 10 years can be attributed to our future-focused, technology-conscious legislators,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “Without the support of these champions in our state’s government, none of what we do would be possible. It’s a privilege to work side-by-side with them and present these well-earned honors.”
“The technology industry is a significant driver of Arizona’s economy and provides high-value job opportunities for our residents,” said Sandra Watson, president & CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We’re very proud to recognize the contributions of this outstanding group of Arizona legislators, and we thank them for their dedication to supporting technology and innovation statewide. Congratulations to all of the 2020 honorees!”
Due to COVID-19, the 2020 GCOI awards program and tech showcase will be streamed live during a virtual event. The virtual tech showcase will have more than 50 companies representing their innovations, culture and future in Arizona. The showcase will include virtual networking rooms, which will allow each organization to host private discussions with attendees. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.aztechcouncil.org/event/gcoi2020.
The winners of the 2020 GCOI legislator awards are:
Outstanding Technology Senator of the Year: Sen. David Gowan, District 14
Sen. Gowan was instrumental in the 2020 legislative session in extending the R&D tax credit at the current levels for an additional 10 years, as well as extending other key economic development programs essential to the growth of the technology industry. He always has been an advocate for a balanced budget complete with the needed incentives to attract and retain both businesses and their workforce, which is especially important in his role as Appropriations Chair.
Outstanding Technology Representative of the Year: Rep. Michelle Udall, District 25
Rep. Udall sponsored our priority STEM legislation in the 2020 legislative session that would have created a STEM ecosystem giving more access to STEM education in rural and urban areas of the state. As chair of the education committee, she is a great voice for public education and has championed legislation to close the achievement gap to make sure students from all walks of life have access to quality education and are ready for the jobs of tomorrow. She also has supported economic development programs that have helped Arizona’s tech industry thrive.
Tech 10 Legislators:
Sen. Karen Fann, District 1
Senate President Fann once again was a champion of the technology industry in the 2020 legislative session, continuing a trait she has demonstrated during her entire tenure as a legislator. She strongly advocated for extension of the Small Business Capital Investment Incentive (commonly referred to as the Angel Investment Tax Credit) and has been instrumental in getting the program recapitalized in previous sessions. She is a strong leader who focuses on advancing and supporting policies that will help Arizona’s businesses and economy thrive.
Sen. Sine Kerr, District 13
Sen. Kerr helped champion extension of key economic development programs and sponsored the strike-everything amendment for the R&D extension in the 2020 legislative session. As a family business owner, she understands the importance of government not creating roadblocks or burdensome regulations. She has been very supportive of initiatives that have advanced the technology agenda, and has proven to be a thoughtful legislator who is truly open to listening and supporting policies that help make Arizona a great place to work and raise your family.
Sen. Heather Carter, District 15
Sen. Carter has been honored almost every year by the Council at the Governor’s Celebration of Innovation for her tireless advocacy on issues of importance to the technology and business community. She continued her advocacy for education and workforce development options, such as creating STEM internship opportunities, in the 2020 legislative session. She has been a leader in the areas of health care, education and public safety, and a fierce fighter for the policies in which she believes. She has been instrumental in creating the environment where Arizona’s tech industry thrives today.
Sen. Sean Bowie, District 18
Sen. Bowie has been recognized for his support of the technology industry since he was first elected in November 2016. He is a strong advocate of community college funding and sponsored legislation for community college grants for CTED students. He also sponsored legislation to address student suicide prevention, which is a priority of his. He has helped advance many crucial economic development initiatives that helped Arizona transform into a technology hub and has worked to build bipartisan coalitions for programs proven to benefit the state’s economy and families.
Sen. Lupe Contreras, District 19
Sen. Contreras has been a strong leader at the Legislature during his tenure, always willing to work across party lines on policies that make sense for Arizona. He has a passion for education, workforce development and economic development programs that help create employment opportunities, especially technical jobs in his district and around the state. He looks at issues based upon their merits and focuses on policies that create a safe environment for people to raise their families and programs that create the opportunities for Arizona residents and businesses to succeed.
Rep. Daniel Hernandez, District 2
Rep. Hernandez has been a leader in the fight for non-discrimination and equality to make Arizona an inclusive environment for people to live, work and play, and sponsored legislation in the 2020 session to ensure those protections. He understands the importance of having a business-friendly environment to attract and grow technology companies that bring high-paying, high-quality jobs to the state. He has worked across the aisle and helped build bipartisan coalitions to advance legislation that not only supported the technology industry but also paid large dividends to Arizona’s taxpayers and the economy as a whole.
Rep. Regina Cobb, District 5
Rep. Cobb once again has been a champion for the technology industry and business community. In the 2020 legislative session she championed extension of the Angel Investment Tax Credit program, which helps Arizona’s startups that don’t have access to normal bank financing. COVID-19 may have caused that bill not to cross the finish line but she has proven herself to committed to the cause time and time again. She also supported key economic development programs, such as the extension of R&D and Qualified Facilities programs, that have helped make Arizona a growing technology hub.
Rep. Jennifer Pawlik, District 17
Rep. Pawlik is a strong advocate for education. She sponsored legislation to ensure freshmen have access to CTED programs that help address Arizona’s workforce needs. She also authored an amendment that extended the Qualified Facilities and the current levels of R&D programs by 10 years while also reducing the carryforward for future R&D credits. She balances her passion for education and ensuring schools have the necessary funding and ability to educate Arizona’s students with ensuring the state’s economy has the programs it needs to help fund those priorities.
Rep. Jeff Weninger, District 17
Rep. Weninger has become known as the technology guy during this time at the Legislature and the 2020 session was no different. He sponsored legislation dealing with blockchain, cryptocurrency and unmanned aircrafts. His passion for ensuring Arizona is open to innovative companies looking to start or grow here has been instrumental in laying the groundwork for the state to be a place where the technology industry has been able to flourish. As a business owner himself, he understands having the appropriate business environment for these companies and economic development programs in place truly does pay large dividends to Arizona.
Rep. Ben Toma, District 22
Rep. Toma championed legislation in the 2020 session that extended multiple key economic development programs including Qualified Facilities and keeping current levels of the R&D tax credit that have proven themselves to be instrumental to the technology industry and have great returns on investments for the taxpayer. During his tenure at the Legislature, he has become known as a leader in tax policy by helping lead the charge on tax conformity and updating Arizona’s statutes to ensure a fair tax environment for businesses in the ever-growing digital marketplace.
About the Arizona Technology Council
The Arizona Technology Council is Arizona’s premier trade association for science and technology companies. Recognized as having a diverse professional business community, Council members work towards furthering the advancement of technology in Arizona through leadership, education, legislation and social action. The Council offers numerous events, educational forums and business conferences that bring together leaders, managers, employees and visionaries to make an impact on the technology industry. These interactions contribute to the Council’s culture of growing member businesses and transforming technology in Arizona. To become a member or to learn more about the Arizona Technology Council, please visit aztechcouncil.org.
About the Arizona Commerce Authority
The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state’s leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona’s economy. The ACA uses a three-pronged approach to advance the overall economy: attract, expand, create — attract out-of-state companies to establish operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to expand their business in Arizona and beyond; and help entrepreneurs create new Arizona businesses in targeted industries. For more information, please visit azcommerce.com and follow the ACA on Twitter at @azcommerce.
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