The spirit of bipartisanship, inclusiveness, and community filled the atmosphere and themes in the comments conveyed by the speakers at today’s inauguration ceremonies for Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Attorney General Mark Brnovich, State Treasurer Kimberly Yee, State Superintendent of Public instruction Kathy Hoffman, and Mining Inspector Joe Hart.
The winter storms that had blanketed the state last week made way for a beautiful and sunny day at the state’s capital where invited guests and citizens filled most of the available seats to witness today’s inauguration. Among the attendees were some of the newly elected and re-elected members of the State Legislature, Phoenix Mayoral Candidates Kate Gallego and Daniel Valenzuela, county and state party chairmen, former Governor Jan Brewer, Senator Martha McSally, Representative David Schweikert, Douglas Mayor Robert Uribe, students from high schools around the valley, and soldiers from the Arizona National Guard. The crowd warmly received all the statewide officials with Secretary Hobbs and Superintendent Hoffman generating the most enthusiasm.
The Master of Ceremonies at today’s events, Douglas Democratic Mayor Robert Uribe immediately harnessed the spirit of bipartisanship, inclusiveness, and community in his welcoming speech saying “we are all Arizonans,” thanking the elected statewide officers for “stepping up to serve,” and adding that “your success is Arizona’s success.”
The statewide officers in their inaugural remarks echoed these themes.
In an address that laid out what measures she would initially be pursuing as Superintendent (such as making the Education Department an agency of service, helping students in need gain greater access to technologies that will improve their situations, increasing funding for public instruction, and reducing the teacher shortage), Kathy Hoffman expressed enthusiasm for working in a collaborative fashion with the Governor and State Legislature on moving our public school system forward.
Both Treasurer Yee and Attorney General Brnovich gave moving and inspiring accounts of how they were children and grandchildren of immigrants and how their parents and grandparents (some of whom did not speak English) were galvanized by the dream and freedom that is America. Hearing their tributes to their families might make some wonder how they are in the same political party as Donald Trump.
Brnovich went further in his remarks (perhaps with an eye towards running for Governor in 2022) touting his accomplishments such as going after “con artists that scammed seniors,” going after criminals, and “trying to stop rising tuition costs.” In looking forward, he stated that a “bright future should be available to all” and the constitution “demands that university tuition be within the reach of us all.” He finished with several comments about civility, promoting opportunity and equality, concluding with “we should leave the state better than we found it.”
Secretary Katie Hobbs started her address by saying, “Welcome to this new day” and it is “time to move past partisan positions and create a transparent government that works for all of us.” Further stating that her greatest responsibility as Secretary is to protect our citizens right to vote, Hobbs vowed to “keep our elections fair…..more efficient…. and strengthen faith and confidence in the office of Secretary of State.” She said she wanted to create a cybersecurity task force to keep our voter information and election processes “safe and secure” and “oppose any restrictions on your right to vote.” She finished her comments by thanking her predecessor Michele Reagan for working with her during the transition and Governor Ducey for making her feel welcome in the state government.
After initially not making any remarks, Mining Inspector Joe Hart made several perfunctory remarks thanking voters for supporting him and vowing to keep the mines safe.
Ducey running for President?
Governor Ducey was the final statewide elected official that was sworn in and he also (possibly with an eye to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2024) followed the themes of bipartisanship, inclusiveness, and community relayed by the preceding speakers.
Saying that “Arizona was open for business” because of his policies of “getting government out of the way,” Ducey touted his accomplishments that have benefited people like the fight against opioid addiction, helping rape victims, and infusing $2.7 billion in public education with more to come.
Recognizing that the midterms increased Democratic Party presence in state and local offices, Ducey went further, commenting, “Civility and collaboration will carry us forward. This is not Washington D.C. Name calling and playing games will not work.” Proclaiming, “there are big things we can do together,” the Governor (while rejecting the notion of raising taxes) proposed bipartisan action on education, an increased rainy day fund, targeted assistance to people that need it, government reform, public safety, fighting human and drug trafficking, and securing the future of water (like in the 1980s when the State Republican and Democratic Leaders solved a similar crisis together.)
He introduced the Governor of Sonora, Mexico while hailing our state’s trade relationship with that nation (our number one partner in commerce). Amazingly, the Governor made no mention of securing our borders or fortifying/building a wall.
In closing his address, Ducey invoked some of the political giants of our states History, both Republican and Democrat (Hayden, Mofford, Castro, Goldwater, Kyl, and McCain). Further citing Senator McCain, Ducey called for everyone to “make an Arizona he would be proud of.”
Our new statewide officers all left a positive impression that they will work for bipartisan solutions that move Arizona forward and includes benefits for everyone. Hopefully, the spirit exhibited today will carry over into this year’s legislative session. There are many worthy ideas on the major issues of the day from both sides of the political spectrum that could be molded and compromised on that could lead to great advances for our state. All that is needed is for our public servants to govern the way the people expect them to.