U.S. Sen. John McCain speaks to an audience of business and community leaders Aug. 16 during the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Political Insider event.

U.S. Sen. John McCain speaks to an audience of business and community leaders Aug. 16 during the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Political Insider Series event.

Arizona’s senior senator described the upcoming presidential election as “one of the most important in history” while urging an audience of state business and community leaders to be sure to get out and vote during the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) Political Insider Series event Aug. 16.

McCain struck a cautionary tone when discussing this year’s unprecedented presidential election. He urged attendees to get their fully completed ballots in, since the next president may appoint up to three new U.S. Supreme Court judges. Those judges’ influence will direct the court during at least the next two decades.

“We Republicans have got to make the case of the importance of keeping the Senate in Republican hands…” he said.

McCain’s Arizona pride showed through early in his remarks as he complimented the state’s robust, proud defense industry, one of his favorite topics.

“The United States is still the best, strongest nation on Earth. We have the best military, best equipment and the best training,” McCain, a Vietnam veteran and POW, said. “The best helicopter ever made is manufactured right here in Mesa. Everybody wants an Apache helicopter. You go to Raytheon, you’ll see the best missiles are being made there.”

Speaking of Arizona points of pride, McCain also touted ASU President Michael Crow’s work, highlighting the school’s new Arizona Center for Law and Society building in downtown Phoenix, which houses ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

McCain voiced strong support for Arizona trade with Mexico, the state’s most valuable trading partner. He invited anyone who doubts the two-way benefits of that trade relationship to visit the Mariposa Border crossing at Nogales with him to “see what’s flowing both ways.”

“All you have to do is go down to the border to see the trucks lined up on both sides. You’ll see the businesses that are dependent on our trade,” he said. “I’m not interested in cutting off our trade with Mexico.”

McCain pivoted from discussing the necessity of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to advocating for a Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) that not only works for the United States economically, but also keeps China in check.

“Two-thirds of the world’s economy lies to our west. We need to be competitive there. If there needs to be changes to (TPP)… fine,” he said. “But to abandon a trade agreement with the Pacific region I think would be a serious mistake. I think the disaster is to let China take over as the dominant economy in East Asia.”

When considering the recent actions of other nations including Russia and terrorist groups like ISIS, McCain sees a world in turmoil. But he reiterates that the United States is the world leader in combating forces seeking to do harm.

“Leading from behind is not what America’s role has been in all of the 20th century, and it shouldn’t have been in the 21st,” he said. “As long as the United States doesn’t lead, evil influences will assert themselves.”

McCain ended his remarks by reminding everyone why he has been reelected so many times as a senator representing the great state of Arizona.

“My first obligation is to the people of Arizona. My second obligation is to the Republican Party,” he said. “I’ve been honored to serve and I hope to be able to continue. The great honor of my life has been to represent the people of this wonderful state. Thank you.”

– Written by Josh Coddington, marketing and communications manager, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. This article is part of the Chamber’s Arizona in Focus newsletter.

Posted by Josh Coddington