Sen. Kelly sees technology driving Arizona’s economic future

May 20, 2021, 10:33 AM

(AP Photo)...

(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – Computer chips may be tiny, but U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona is convinced they will be big part of the state’s future.

Kelly is pushing support of bipartisan legislation introduced by fellow Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and others that seeks to invest about $50 billion to enhance semiconductor chip production and research in the country.

And Arizona is on the brink of becoming a serious producer of those chips.

“We are poised to be one of the leaders not only in the country, but possibly in the world, if we can get some legislation,” Kelly told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday. “We intend to get this Chips Act passed.

“It’s critical to our national security, but it’s great-paying jobs in the state of Arizona.”

A monthslong global microchip shortage has disrupted production of televisions, toasters and even cars.

In March, Intel announced plans to invest $20 billion to expand its semiconductor operations in Chandler. That could mean up to 3,000 jobs at the two new factories.

A month later, rival chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. said it was pouring $3.5 billion in a second U.S. manufacturing site, in north Phoenix, as concern grows over heavy American reliance on sources in Asia for high-tech components.

“For us in this country, it’s an investment in our future,” Kelly said.

He added he had visited the Intel facility last week.

“If you haven’t seen one of these fabrication facilities, it’s incredible the amount of processes that you have to go through to make one of these high-tech chips,” Kelly said.

The Senate was scheduled Tuesday to start debate on a $110 billion technology bill that includes the chip funding.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the talks could last up to two weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Sen. Kelly sees technology driving Arizona’s economic future