In his final State of the State Address that also doubled as a potential Coronavirus superspreader event, Governor Doug Ducey struck familiar notes as in his previous speeches to the Arizona State Legislature on economic stewardship, education choice, water, and the border.
He also recited the extreme right lyrics on critical race theory, border security, and parental involvement in schools that would make any fringe alt right extremist sing and salivate.
He also ignored the vital issues of the ticking time bomb on public school funding and the Coronavirus surge.
It was also not hard to tell the difference between the Democrats from the Republicans in attendance at the event.
- Republicans stood up and applauded at virtually every sentence Mr. Ducey uttered, even the questionable and tasteless ones.
- Most Republicans including the Governor, the House Speaker, and the Senate President were maskless.
The Good Parts of the Ducey Address
The best parts of the Governors address were where he highlighted the areas of bipartisan agreement on wildfire solutions, the tribal gaming pact, record investments in infrastructure (no thanks to the Arizona Republican Congressional Delegation and the Governor likes to take more credit for himself then he deserves,) and advances in telemedicine.
The Governor was also eloquent honoring veterans and proposing further tuition breaks for them and their spouses.
His ideas on a summer camp for helping children catch up on reading, math, and civics that they missed from not attending school during the COVID 19 pandemic makes sense provided it is done correctly and not on the cheap with a right wing tilt.
He also spoke well on the need to help foster children in kin care with grandparents or other relatives and increase payments to them.
Finally, his words on securing and maintaining the Grand Canyon state’s water supply appeared to strike all the right notes.
The Bad Parts of the Ducey Address
The Governor’s glorification of his economic stewardship through tax cut after tax cut during his term, including the flat one enacted in the last session was playing with economic mirrors.
If it were not for the growth in Arizona’s population over the last several decades that have overflowed the Grand Canyon state’s revenue coffers, Mr. Ducey would be presiding over a different economic situation.
He also repeated his call, without mentioning the words, school vouchers which has been proven to be nothing more than another glorified hidden tax cut for the well off.
The other bad parts of the Ducey address are the components that were not there like the pending budget crisis with Arizona’s public schools unless the Legislature acts to remove the expenditure limit. He also ignored the severity of the Omicron COVID 19 crisis that is causing the latest surge in Coronavirus cases across the state.
The Ugly Parts of the Ducey Address
The Governor made unfair attacks on public schools, accusing them of putting “masks over math” and critical race theory over critical thinking.
What bull fecal matter. Those statements, designed to appeal to a rabid fringe base for a future run at a higher political office, are tremendously false.
Mr. Ducey also tried to appeal to the extreme right by calling for schools and teachers to share curriculum and children’s assignments with parents. What self respecting school or teacher does not already do that? Those remarks do nothing except inflame the lunatic parents that have been burdening school staff and board members with their unhinged fanaticism over the last several years.
He also played the Republican Party’s greatest fringe hits and big lies, going after the Biden/Harris Administration on inflation (corporate greed apparently does not factor into Mr. Ducey’s thinking,) border security, and law enforcement (really, what mainstream Democrat is for defunding the police.) He also did his annual blue state bashing on California, New York, and Illinois and accused Democrats of being the party of tax hikes (this coming from the party whose members in Congress did not vote for expansions of the Child Tax and Earned Income Tax Credits.)
Please click here to see the fact check completed by the Arizona Democratic Party on the more ugly and inaccurate portions of the Ducey State of the State-Super spreader event.
Democrats in the Arizona Legislature Offer a Positive Vision to the Ducey/Republican Prescriptions.
Earlier in the day before the Governors State of the Address, Democrats in the Arizona Legislature gathered in the Capitol Garden to present their goals and vision for the 2022 Session.
Please click here to watch the video of their presentation.
Unlike the Governor’s supply side forever and pro top one percent prescriptions for the Grand Canyon state, the Democrats, led by Senate Leader Rebecca Rios and House Leader Reginald Bolding, offered a plan for 2022 based on reality, inclusiveness, compassion, and what people actually want.
Their plan calls for:
- Planning for a post pandemic economy.
- Protecting the right to vote and the integrity of elections.
- Fully funding public schools , paying teachers what they are worth, and stopping the war on school boards.
- Reducing the child poverty rate.
- Dental coverage for pregnant women.
- Expanded KidsCare.
- Common sense prison sentence reforms
- Defending women’s rights.
- Protecting the water supply and devising sustainability strategies that will reduce pollution and make the state less hotter.
After the Governor’s Address, the Senate Democrats posted:
"A right-wing panderfest" that made it clear "our Governor has abandoned Arizona to COVID-19."
–Senate Democratic Leader @Rios_Rebecca on Governor @dougducey's State of the State Speech today. #AZLeg #StateOfTheStateAZ pic.twitter.com/jPKdN62s2T
— Arizona Senate Democrats (@AZSenateDems) January 10, 2022
Arizona House Democrats released:
— Arizona House Democrats (@AZHouseDems) January 10, 2022
Rather than calm the partisan right-wing attacks on teachers and school boards, Gov. Ducey throws gasoline on the fire by ramping up the racially tinged culture war on schools. No educator is interested in telling families how to parent. #sots22 1/2
— Arizona House Democrats (@AZHouseDems) January 10, 2022
Additional Democratic Reaction to the Ducey State of the State Address
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman wasted no time in criticizing the Governor’s anti public education agenda, posting on social media.
While pushing his anti-public education agenda, our governor failed to mention that without legislative action, our public schools will face devastating budget cuts or even closures by April. https://t.co/j5zDRWSYfW
— Kathy Hoffman (@kathyhoffman_az) January 10, 2022
Children’s Action Alliance head and former Arizona Democratic Legislative Leader David Lujan offered:
“It cannot be very reassuring to most Arizonans that the Governor failed to mention anything about some of the biggest challenges our state is facing, like a plan to deal with our state’s increasing number of Covid cases, or the $1.1 billion in cuts our public schools face this March, or any plan to deal with our lack of affordable housing. He did spend a lot of time talking about his tax cuts for the rich. So I suppose if you are part of the top one percent of wealthiest households who are getting an average tax cut of more than $19K, you are probably happy, but not so much for the majority of households, like those with incomes of $64K who are only getting a tax cut of $47.”
Charlie Fisher, the Executive Director of the Arizona Democratic Party, relayed:
“Governor Ducey has spent his time in office prioritizing his political ambitions, his political donors, and his lobbyist friends at the expense of the people he was elected to represent. As Arizonans continue to navigate through an economic downturn and a global pandemic, Ducey has stayed focused on the only thing he cares about: his own career. Regardless of his attempted victory lap in today’s State of the State, there’s nothing Ducey can do to disguise the simple fact that he has failed Arizonans.”
Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Aaron Lieberman commented on the Governor’s presentation, stating:
“In the Governor’s remarks today, incredibly he offered nothing substantive about investing in our public schools — where 90% of our children are educated. This omission is even more glaring given the fact that we have 2000 classrooms with no full-time teacher as a result of our low pay. And anyone who has been anywhere near a school this fall knows all staff have been overworked by a dramatic shortage of staff and substitutes. Let me be clear — if I were Governor, I would have used my state of the state address to call for investing $1 billion of our $2 billion surplus in our public schools — including moving our teacher pay to 25th in the country. Every child in Arizona public schools deserves a Governor who will first and foremost be their advocate down at the Capitol — that’s what I will do every single day.”