Marco Lopez, the first candidate to declare for the Arizona governor’s race in 2022, came to Globe Friday for a lunch with several community leaders.
From his seat in Globe’s Copper Hen Café, Lopez, a former mayor of Nogales and director of the Arizona Department of Commerce who now runs an international business advisory firm, heard the concerns of local leaders including Globe Mayor Al Gameros and Superior Mayor Mila Besich. These issues included broadband development, mental illness, trade schools, communication between the governor and rural communities, and partisanship in the State Capitol.
Lopez, a Democrat, declared his candidacy on March 16, 2021. He is currently the only candidate running to succeed Governor Doug Ducey, who cannot run again in 2022 because of term limits.
Lopez grew up in Nogales, where his parents were small business owners, then earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and political science at the University of Arizona. He was elected mayor of Nogales in the year 2000, at the age of 22, and served in that office until 2004. Lopez said he was inspired to run for mayor by Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign.
In 2003, Governor Janet Napolitano appointed Lopez executive director of the Arizona-Mexico Commission. He went on to serve as executive director of the Arizona Department of Commerce and chief of staff for Customs and Border Protection. In 2011 Lopez founded his own small business, the business advisory firm Intermestic Partners.
Lopez said solving problems, not playing politics, should be the priority for the governor’s office. “I understand that business and government need to work together to solve our problems.” He added that education was “our economic development future,” and that health coverage also needs to be prioritized.
Lopez said his would be a 15-county campaign, aiming to think about all of Arizona. “It’s going to be a hard-working 17 months,” he added.
The former mayor said he was committed to a 10-year plan, working together with rural communities like his hometown. He said those communities should be part of the leadership: “You know best what you need in your community.
“I don’t want to solve next year’s problems; I want to look further ahead.”