Governor Doug Ducey today delivered the State of the State address in a live broadcast to the opening session of the 55th Arizona state legislature and the people of Arizona. The Governor outlined his vision for 2021, focusing on the continued fight against COVID-19, the distribution of the vaccine, prioritizing K-12 education, creating jobs and helping Arizonans who have been impacted by the economic consequences of the pandemic.
Highlights from the Governor’s 2021 State of the State Address:
Honoring Our Medical Professionals And Lives Lost:
“We must be hopeful for the future — but we cannot forget the challenges we face in the immediate. The nurses and doctors, tired and exhausted as they work overtime to save lives. The Arizonans who are grieving loved ones lost. We must all do our part, by doing what we know works: Following public health, wearing a mask, and practicing personal responsibility. With resilience and compassion, we move forward, allowing nothing to get in our way, and showing in the end the best kind of unity there is – the unity of caring about one another.”
Last week, the Governor announced the state launched a 24/7 vaccination site at the Arizona Cardinals Stadium, located in Maricopa County. The Governor said during his address:
“… we need to work faster. So now, even more resources will be brought to the fore. At my direction, the state has launched a 24/7 vaccination site at a large and notable location: State Farm Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals. Everyone needs this vaccine. And the sooner we all receive it, the more quickly we can get on with life as it should be.”
Continued Economic Recovery
Arizona went into the pandemic with a booming economy. This time last year, our state was in the top five for job creation and personal income growth — and it still is today. To ensure continued economic recovery, the Governor is committed to continue lowering taxes to ensure Arizonans and small businesses get to keep more of their hard-earned money. He said:
“My goal has been to make Arizona the best place in America to live, work, and do business – by letting Arizonans keep more of their hard-earned money. And having come this far, as other states chase away opportunity with their new taxes, why on earth would we ever want to follow their failed and depressing example?
“So I propose, in this session, we work together to reform and lower taxes and preserve Arizona’s good name as a responsible, competitive state. On tax reform, let’s think big.”
The pandemic has taken a toll on Arizona’s students and their education. The Governor will continue to work with community partners and education leaders to get students back in the classroom, and to narrow the achievement gap — which has grown due to distance learning. The Governor said:
“… it’s time to get our students back where they belong. With every public-health professional, from Dr. Fauci and the CDC on down, saying that the safest place for kids to be is in school, we will not be funding empty seats or allowing schools to remain in a perpetual state of closure. Children still need to learn, even in a pandemic.”
The Governor highlighted the need for policies that protect parental choice, especially in light of the pandemic:
“By necessity during this emergency, many parents have been more engaged than ever in the daily education of their children. Quite a few have found temporary educational options they want to make permanent. It’s their right. Public policy should keep pace, and empower them to make that choice.”
He also called for students falling behind to get the resources they need to catch up:
“There’s been severe learning loss. Kids have missed out on so much. So let’s put our resources on getting them caught up. Before COVID, we had an achievement gap in our schools. And it’s only gotten worse. It’s a problem detailed in a report just last week from one of the state’s leading business organizations – with data showing the gap in student achievement often falls squarely down economic and racial lines.
“Distance learning has not been good for these students, who often don’t have wi-fi or a laptop available. So starting now, let’s direct resources to helping these children catch up. Summer school, longer school days, one-on-one targeted instruction, tutoring. It should be our goal that every student graduates high school on time and at grade level.”
Conducting Ourselves With Integrity
“In the United States of America, violence and vandalism have no place in the people’s House. Perpetrators should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Let us condemn it and resolve that it never happens again. With that in mind, let us treat each other this year as one of our nation’s greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, suggested: ‘With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.’
“And Arizona will do its part to bind up the nation’s wounds. Here, we will conduct ourselves with integrity, and respect for each other and for the United States Constitution.”
Other Issues Deserving Attention:
“In the coming weeks, legislators and I will have a lot more to talk over. There’s general agreement, for instance, on COVID liability protection, so that a statewide emergency doesn’t line the pockets of trial attorneys with frivolous lawsuits. There’s also an opportunity for a modernized gaming compact that will bring in more revenue for our tribal nations and our state budget. Among other agenda items requiring our attention, let’s work on broadband expansion . . . greater access to telemedicine . . . better roads and bridges… continuing to be a global leader on water innovation… better equipment and training for law enforcement . . . criminal justice reform… and guarding against wildfires, so we stay on top of that ever-present risk.”