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Political analyst sees economic recovery of Arizona as Gov. Brewer’s top achievement

PHOENIX — With Wednesday’s announcement that she will not seek a third term in office, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Valley political observer said history will be kind to her.

Conservative analyst Stan Barnes said Brewer will go down as one of the most successful politicians in Arizona history.

Brewer will forever be linked to signing Arizona’s tough anti-illegal immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, but Barnes said her signature accomplishment was guiding the state’s economy back after the recession.

“She took over at the worst possible time when it came to the budget and she did whatever it took to bring Arizona out of this mess,” Barnes said. “Without her in that spot, it would have been much different. No, she didn’t do it all by herself but she provided leadership that came from nowhere else.”

Barnes said after taking over from former Gov. Janet Napolitano in 2009, Brewer asked the legislature for a billion dollar tax increase and that took courage on a Republican scale not seen for many years.

“Eventually she won her battles with the legislature and history will treat her well because the state did well,” Barnes said.

Brewer’s former campaign manager, Doug Cole, echoed Barnes’ sentiments.

“She inherited the biggest budget deficit in the United States that she took over and turned around,” he said. “That is no small feat.”

Cole also said Brewer should be remembered for her work on education and mental health.

KTAR’s Bob McClay contributed to this report.