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Leaders discuss Arizona’s future during Phoenix conference

PHOENIX — Several state leaders will be talking about Arizona’s future for the next two days in downtown Phoenix.

The second annual VerdeXchange Arizona conference is happening at the Sheraton Phoenix hotel.

Founder Doug Bruhnke said the conference is about sustaining life in the state.

“What does it take for the next 10, 20, 30, 50, 100 years for Arizona, Phoenix, the cities, the communities to survive and thrive in a better way?” he asked.

He said that the conference is focused on more than just cleaner water and air.

“What about jobs? What about creating wealth by having investment come here? What about infrastructure? What about having surface transportation? What about having it be a great place for old people and young people?” said Bruhnke.

Over 100 leaders will be speaking at the event. Bruhnke said that they’ve been asked to talk about projects that they are involved in.

“Projects that are impacting the future, including water and things like that, but also business initiatives, like the Great Cities Initiatives that GPEC (Greater Phoenix Economic Council) is organizing right now,” said Bruhnke.

That initiative is designed to highlight why Valley cities are great for business.

Bruhnke said that many of those involved in the conference are leaders in Arizona cities.

“There are 25 mayors,” said Bruhnke. “Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix is going to be headlining the conference.”

U.S. representatives Kyrsten Sinema and Matt Salmon are also on the schedule.

Also speaking will be Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Dr. Lattie Coor of the Center for the Future of Arizona, Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona, State School Superintendent John Huppenthal and former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.

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