By Maria Polletta | Arizona Republic
In his sixth — and, at 64 minutes, longest ever — State of the State speech Monday, Gov. Doug Ducey returned to familiar topics to paint Arizona as a model for the nation. Reducing red tape. Rewarding good schools. Protecting the public. Keeping the economy humming.
“If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, then Arizona should be blushing,” the Republican leader said, highlighting a decade of changes in the Grand Canyon State.
“We were the first state in the nation to pass the American Civics Act. Thirty-four others have followed suit,” he said. “Our unanimous work on opioids was the most aggressive and comprehensive policy in the nation and prompted other states and the federal government to take notice and take action. And way back in 2016, we protected free speech on our college campuses.”
The governor also cited a stronger economy, broader job opportunities and better international relationships, saying, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
While the themes and goals outlined Monday were familiar, some of the specific plans Ducey announced came as surprises.
The tough-on-crime governor said he would shut down the state prison in Florence, for instance. Ducey wants to relocate people incarcerated there — including those facing the death penalty — to other facilities throughout the state.
And, after working for years to repair the state’s relationship with Mexico, Ducey announced an effort to “give all Arizona voters the opportunity to say ‘yes’ to the rule of law and ‘no’ to sanctuary cities'” on the 2020 ballot.