Changing Of The Valley Guard

Near the end of Americano!, a just completed, box-office record setting original musical at The Phoenix Theatre Company, the hero, Antonio Valdovinos, is told just before the finale that he is the “face of the New America.”

The musical was based on the true story of Valdovinos who was inspired by the events of 9/11 to serve in the Marines. But when he went to enlist on his 18th birthday he learned he was undocumented, unable to serve. Undeterred he went on to serve the only country he had ever known in other powerful, reform-oriented ways including pivotal assistance to elect a Latino and Marine to the U.S. Congress.

As a DREAMer, or DACA recipient, the fate of Valdovinos and 900,000 others like him sits in the hands of the United States Supreme Court, which is expected to rule in June.

But the achievements of Valdovinos and many others are already in motion as we look anew around the Valley as it too begins to reflect the intriguing, powerful new face of America.

In Phoenix, a youngish mother, Mayor Kate Gallego, presides over a “Mom Majority” on the City Council which also features 2 Latinos and 2 Latinas.

In Tempe, the ultimate establishment candidate, Mark Mitchell, was just defeated by the relentlessly positive Corey Woods to become the city’s first African American Mayor.

And who can forget the onslaught of electioneering that resulted in a youngish woman and bisexual named Kyrsten Sinema being elected to the U.S. Senate.

In Scottsdale, 5 of the 7 seats on the City Council are occupied by women.

Arizona’s pioneering spirit has long been portrayed by the cowboy.  But then a cowgirl from southern Arizona, Sandra Day O’Connor, came along decades ago to show the country that Arizona had more to offer than white males. Then arrived Rose Mofford, Jane Hull and Janet Napolitano. And now comes Gallego, Woods, Sinema and Valdovinos.

Arizona still at its best, and perhaps better than ever, because of the new energy behind some of the compelling new faces for our state.