Chairman, the Goldwater InstituteTom Patterson has been the chairman of the Goldwater Institute since 2000. He was elected to the Arizona State Senate in 1989, and served as Minority Leader from 1991 to 1992 and Majority Leader from 1993 to 1996. Patterson was the author of Arizona’s 1994 charter school legislation, which made the state a national leader in the education reform movement.
Until 1998, Patterson was a practicing physician and president of Emergency Physicians, a 60-doctor practice serving emergency departments in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Patterson is critical of the Arizona legislature for poor spending decisions that have resulted in a huge debt burden. In 2008, Arizona had the largest per capita budget deficit of any U.S. state. “We’re heading for some tough times because we kind of lost our mooring,” Patterson told The Arizona Republic. “[The legislature] forgot one of the basic principles of government: only spending what you have and being prudent.”