Interview with Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix, in the Celebration of 30 Years of Friendship between the Cities of Chengdu and Phoenix by Phoenix Sister Cities Chengdu Committee
After some talk about Beijing and the resort city of Dalian, Stanton said, ''I do have four more years left as mayor. Chengdu is a very important sister city and I'm looking forward to visiting it. I think there is a trip being planned in the next couple of years and I definitely plan to be a part of it.''
Phoenix and Chengdu are similar in that they are both important cities but are not as well-known as they should be. ''When people in China think of the United States, they think of New York and Los Angeles and maybe Chicago, but not Phoenix. In thirty years, Phoenix will definitely be among the top three or four cities, both demographically and economically. Chengdu is also a hugely important world-class city. Many Fortune 500 companies have operations there. If you're doing business in China and you're someplace other than Beijing and Shanghai, then you're probably going to be in Chengdu.''
As an example of international cooperation, Stanton mentions that the Marriott Hotel is being paid for with Chinese investment money. ''Chinese investment is benefiting Phoenix right now. But in order to get the Chinese investment, you gotta tell your story. You've got to get out there; you've got to bring visitors here from Chengdu and let them see what's happening here, so they'll feel confident in their investment.''
''The relationship with Chengdu is a longstanding one of thirty years. When we send teachers to Chengdu and other sister cities, it makes them better teachers for their students back here to be able to talk about their international experiences. And we've done artist exchanges.''
''When it comes to issues of climate change, I'm super-excited about forging additional economic relationships with the companies and people of Chengdu. Forget what the federal government can do. What we as cities can do is to reduce our impact on global warming and climate change. What we can do is encourage resilience and try to make our cities better prepared for it.''
''Obviously we have a growing Asian community moving to Phoenix. It helps to build a global mindset in this community. We've got to participate in the global economy.''
''Chinese people are entrepreneurial almost by nature and we've got to take advantage of that. If a Chinese business wants to open up in downtown Phoenix, we make that possible. We don't have programs that are particularly geared toward the Asian community other than we want to promote small businesses in general. We want to make it as easy as possible to do business with the City, to get permits so that they can get up and run as soon as possible.''
Left to right- Dianna Noli Hill-Chengdu Sister City Committee Chair, Laura Pastor-Phoenix city councilwoman, Eva Li- Phoenix Chinese Week President, Greg Stanton- Phoenix Mayor, Kimberly Yee-State Senator, Paula West-Phoenix Sister Cities CEO & President