Here’s who AAED honored as 2022 Economic Development Champions

Dennis Hudson
Dennis Hudson

The Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) honored three legislators at the Wesley Bolin Plaza at the Arizona State Capitol on Monday for their commitment and support in growing Arizona’s economy at the annual Lunch on the Lawn that recognizes the organization’s Economic Development Champions.


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Since 2014, AAED has honored and recognized elected officials who have sponsored and supported bills and causes that are important to the growth of the Arizona economy. 

This year’s honorees were Sen. Frank Carroll (R-Peoria), Sen. Lela Alston (D-Phoenix), and Sen. Rick Gray (R-Peoria).

“These honorees have been champions for transportation, education, the tourism industry, and numerous other economic drivers important to the people of Arizona,” said AAED President, Wendy Bridges, Economic Development Director with the City of Goodyear. “Economic development is a team sport, and economic developers across the state could not drive Arizona’s economy forward without the help of our legislators. We are also grateful for generous support for this event from SRP and APS.”

Carroll sponsored several bills that extended the Maricopa County Regional Transportation Tax throughout the past two years. His legislation would ensure a balanced approach to transportation through investments in roads and transit. 

Alston is considered one of Arizona’s most respected public education advocates. She has been a member of the Phoenix Union High School District Governing Board since 2008. She was instrumental in planning the Arizona State University West Campus and spearheaded the efforts to establish Metro Tech High School’s licensed primary care facility in partnership with Banner Health.

Gray was elected to the House in 2011 and completed his service to the people of Arizona last year in the Senate, representing the constituents of LD -21 as Majority Leader.Throughout his tenure in the legislature, he sponsored legislation that helped preserve Luke Air Force Base, helped the tourism industry, bolstered education, and made transportation investments in Arizona.

The three awardees were nominated and voted on by the AAED Government Affairs Committee and confirmed by the AAED Board of Directors. 

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