Senior Advisor for Regional and International Affairs
Office of the Arizona Governor | Douglas A. Ducey
Juan is the Senior Advisor for Regional and International Affairs for Governor Ducey. He is a native of Hermosillo, Sonora and grew up in Tucson. He graduated from the University of Arizona and completed a competitive 1 year Public Policy Fellowship in Washington, DC. for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. As Vice President of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Juan led their growth to triple it in size. He also expanded the chamber’s presence in Mexico by promoting trade opportunities with Arizona. In February of 2015, Juan was appointed by Governor Ducey to serve on his Senior Leadership Team. In his current role as the Senior Advisor for Regional and International Affairs, Juan is responsible for the operations of the Southern Arizona office, the Governor’s Hermosillo office, and the Arizona-Mexico Commission. He leads the Governor’s efforts internationally, and serves as the Governor’s liaison with all Latin American Consulate Offices in Arizona. Additionally, he is part of a select group within the Governor’s Senior Leadership Team who review and interview judicial candidates before their appointment interview with Governor Ducey. Married to Laura, they have Zoe (8), Juan Jr. (6), Kenneth (3), Lily (1) and Lucas Noe (newborn) as their proudest accomplishments.
D. Patrick Lewis: We’re always looking for international opportunities. Obviously, we border two very large countries and having good relations with them is important. I know you’re on the Arizona-Mexico Commission. What can you tell me about that, what is coming out of that commission right now?
Judy Lowe: The Arizona-Mexico Commission is a group (that) encourages and fosters cross-border collaboration between Sonora Mexico, which is our counterpart on the other side of the border, and Arizona.
I co-chair the Real Estate Committee with Mike Hammond, who is a commercial realtor in Arizona. He’s from the private sector. We work with our counterparts in what is known not as the Real Estate Department, but ICRESON, which is the government real estate entity in Sonora.
We work on opportunities for networking and we also interact with the business community in the economic opportunity growth of each of our states.
D. Patrick Lewis: Do you see some exciting things happening with them over the next couple of years?
Judy Lowe: We do. In Sonora, up until very recently, the real estate professional didn’t have to have a real estate license. The shoe shine boy on the corner could really sell a beautiful, beach condominium to an American buyer who maybe felt that they were working with a real estate licensee.
We’re putting in place real estate license law in Sonora. The challenges around it are — how do you enforce the requirement when you don’t have a department that has a regulatory arm to it? We’ve been very, very instrumental in working with our Sonoran counterparts in putting that together.
Boots on the Border: Good for the Border
Earlier this month, Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona, along with Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, introduced the Boots on the Border Act. This legislation is designed to remove the onerous, and at times duplicative, polygraph testing that is currently imposed on applicants that are veterans, military service members and members of other law enforcement entities that are applying for positions with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
CBP has not been able to fill 1,100 positions that were funded in the 2014 budget because the overly burdensome polygraph process is eliminating many veterans and current military personnel that are considering a career protecting our nation and our borders. CBP is reporting that the Tucson sector alone has over 21% of its fulltime positions unfilled. This condition is perpetuated by the extremely low ratio of job applicants to actual hires at CBP.
Arizona and its federal partners, CBP and the General Services Administration have invested over $400 million in port of entry infrastructure over the last 8 years but there is simply not enough staff to open-up every lane that is available. Port Directors have to play a constant game of taking from one to open up another in order to minimize the impacts to our ports of entry and to our border communities. Officers are forced to work extensive amounts of overtime and at times max out and cannot work anymore overtime. CBP needs to have the necessary staff to ensure the security of our nation along with facilitating trade and tourism that are critical to the Arizona and national economy.
Arizona’s border communities report that at least 70% of the sales tax generated in each community is directly attributable to the Mexican visitor and shopper. But if visitors have long delays to cross the border then they simply will not come to our stores and our restaurants. Additionally, Arizona’s trade relationship with Mexico totals over $15 billion in imports and exports and without efficient ports of entry we cannot maximize the opportunities that exist for Arizona companies.
CBP has made great efforts to streamline the recruiting process but they still have a long way to go. The Boots on the Border Act offers a new tool and a tremendous opportunity for Customs and Border Protection to recruit and hire some of the most qualified individuals our nation has to offer. We urge the entire Arizona Congressional delegation to support this legislation.
The Honorable Gerardo Sanchez, Mayor, City of San Luis
The Honorable Doug Nicholls, Mayor, City of Yuma
The Honorable John Doyle, Mayor, City of Nogales
The Honorable Robert Uribe, Mayor, City of Douglas
John S. Halikowski, Chairman, Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance
Jessica Pacheco, President, Arizona-Mexico Commission
Guillermo Valencia, Chairman, Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority
The Honorable Matias Rosales, Chairman, Greater Yuma Port Authority
Carlos Fernandez, Chairman, Douglas International Port Authority
Patrick Scherden, Chairman, Douglas Regional Economic Development Corporation
Gonzalo Avila, Chairman, Fresh Produce Association of the Americas
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