Gov. Ducey: working to make Arizona best place to live
The Daily Courier
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PRESCOTT - Before a politically cordial crowd of predominantly women Monday, April 20, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey won accolades for his first 100 days in office that saw him emerge victorious on key campaign promises, particularly fiscal restraint, economic growth and education reform.
The Republican Women of Prescott's luncheon guest at the Prescott Conference Center was proud that as a newcomer to the office he has been able to forge partnerships with like-minded citizens, as well as garner bipartisan cooperation on certain issues, to enhance life in this state for all.
"You're truly the backbone of the party, and we couldn't do it without you,' Ducey said to his appreciative audience of some 450 party faithfuls who gave him three standing ovations. The Republican Women of Prescott is the largest organization of its kind in the nation. "Prescott has been so good to me.'
With particular pride, Ducey highlighted his push to make Arizona the first state to require high school students to pass a civics test before they graduate. The first bill he signed as governor was not a political victory, but a sign of "patriotism,' he declared.
The reduction of the state's more than $1.5 billion budget shortfall was "not easy or popular,' requiring sacrifices and compromises to cut it back to about $250 million without raising taxes, said Ducey, the former CEO of the Cold Stone Creamery chain who prior to becoming governor was the state treasurer.
But Ducey said he believes the Legislature's endorsement of a historically lean, $9.1 billion budget shows that fiscal prudence is a state priority. And he does not buy the argument that the state will suffer; rather he is confident the state is now better positioned for success.
"Government is supposed to work for us, not over us; to stand by us not ride on our backs,' Ducey said.
In keeping with his focus on state finances, Ducey boasted the arrival of some new corporate entities, including Apple, investing major money into this state. He wants to assure that Arizona does everything possible to recruit corporations even as it remains open to smaller entrepreneurs.
He said he favors regulations that encourage rather than discourage small business. He, too, hailed getting rid of an outdated policy that imposed higher taxes on employees given a cost-of-living increase.
As for education, Ducey was clear about his directive to the state Board of Education to replace the Common Core with standards that meet Arizona's educational goals, rather than those of the federal government.
His pledge to Arizona is to "pitch this state' as the best place for children to be educated, for companies to do business, for employees to work, for families to recreate and retirees to spend their golden years.
The only time Ducey was a bit terse was when fielding a radio reporter's question about whether or not he will endorse a bill to legalize recreational marijuana.
"No,' a clipped Ducey said as he started to depart, quickly edifying that his reservations stem from his upbringing as the son of a police officer and as the father of three teenage sons. "I don't see how this is a good idea....we'll see how it works (in other states).'
For organization member Barbara Phillips, Ducey has a solid agenda, and is clearly determined to make a difference. She said she particularly appreciates he wanted to face some of the harder issues right away.
"It's like making children eat their vegetables before they can have ice cream,' Phillips said. "He's on top of things.'
"I was charmed, and pleased,' said member Dani Lerberg. "I think he did an excellent job explaining the budget.'
Lunch guest Vici Poteet summed up Ducey's visit with one phrase.
"It was amazing,' she said.