But then Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew from Barack Obama’s cabinet-select. But still Manitoba Premier Gary Doer has a good relationship with Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and Manitoba officials are hopeful Napolitano’s presence in Washington might help some of the causes near and dear to Manitoba, because they are also near and dear to her – namely cap and trade, renewable energy and border issues to ensure security while allowing easy tourism and trade.
There is even some hope she might help Manitoba’s voice against various North Dakota water projects reach a little further.
Doer and Napolitano became friendly through the Western Governor’s group – Doer regularly attends meetings of the western governors, as governors often attend meetings of the western premiers. They are also both among the initial parties signing on to the Western Climate Change Initiative, the closest thing North America has to a cap and trade system at the moment (though it has a ways to go and doesn’t involve every state and province).
Napolitano also delivered the keynote address - at Doer’s invite - at a big conference on climate change in Manitoba in 2007.
Napolitano has a strong record behind her and she isn’t afraid to tackle tough battles. She’s a democrat in a pretty strong red state (Arizona is the home state of John McCain and has voted for a democrat for president just once in the last 40 years) but she is popular there and won re-election in 2006 by a considerable margin over her republican opponent. (She got over 62 per cent of the vote).
In 2005 she was named by Time magazine as one of the coutnry’s top five governors, recognized for slaying Arizona’s $1 billion budget deficit within two years of taking office without raising taxes.
She has also been lauded by many for her work against the illegal immigration that haunts U.S. border states with Mexico, and also for her environmental programs, including legislating emissions reductions and pushing for more use of renewable energies.
Someone close to Doer said Doer and Napolitano have a lot in common – "She’s got that common-sense, pragmatic approach – to that end, her and Gary Doer are politicians cut from a similar cloth."
Now the economy obviously is going to trump a number of other issues in the short run. Surely Napolitano will have a lot of things to worry about when she is sworn in and Manitoba’s water woes with North Dakota aren’t going to rank high on her list of priorities.
But it can never hurt to have a friend in high places. Right?