Arizona Governor Doug Ducey visited Yuma on Thursday to deliver his final state of the state address as he prepares for his final year in office.
Governor Ducey says education continues to be one of his top priorities. He says funding for schools has increased by billions since he took office in 2015.
Ducey says the state’s education system has grown more than any of its counterparts in other states, despite a shortage of teachers. He adds that the state has plans to deal with it.
“We also created the Arizona Teachers Academy, which has now graduated thousands of young people where they graduate debt-free and will commit to teaching in Arizona public schools for more than five years, along with the increase in teachers’ salaries. So we’re going to hit it, all of the above and we need to recruit more teachers for it. I think part of the flexibility of some of the innovations in K12 teaching that we’ve talked about is bringing more people into teaching and getting them better pay in that profession.
The governor also addressed the veteran population of Yuma County, noting a proposal to honor them and others across the state with tax relief on their military pensions.
Ducey also touted the state’s GI Bill, which allowed veterans to attend Arizona state universities and community colleges for free, as well as a program to do the same for military spouses. .
Earlier this month, Ducey launched a plan to double veterans in the roster. The multi-year interagency veteran hiring initiative aims to increase the percentage of veterans in the state’s workforce from 8.5% to 15% by 2025.
On border security, the governor continues to call out the Biden administration for lack of action along the US-Mexico border in Arizona. Ducey says he will continue to send troops from the Arizona National Guard to provide backup to federal Border Patrol agents, but says there is little he can do to stop drug traffickers and of human beings to create what he calls a humanitarian crisis in Yuma County.
“To hear it first hand from the men and women who work on the border every day, the border is truly heartbreaking. It is shocking to me. That the Biden administration will not provide more support or action. faster on all of these issues at all levels, we see that the number one cause of death in southern Arizona is fentanyl, and it’s crossing our southern border into Arizona, so we’re going to continue to deploy the National Guard. Having the border strike force and supporting law enforcement, but there’s a protocol and there’s a law that people have to follow after the checkpoint and that’s what the feds do.
In October 2021, Ducey announced a $30 million investment to help prevent the Lake Mead reservoir from falling to critical levels, a major step forward, he says, in the long-running effort to protect the system from Colorado River, a vital source of water. for Yuma agriculture.
“Well, when it comes to water management and increasing water for Yuma, I think our plan around desalination is something that will secure hours on its water future for the next 100 years. . We have $1 billion available. I will work with President Rusty Bowers and President Karen Fannon, Democratic and Republican leaders, to make this happen.
Ducey says he has over 300 days left in office and intends to finish strong. He says this isn’t his last trip to Yuma, as he plans to return soon and looks forward to partnering with community leaders to address issues and improve the local quality of life.
Asked about future plans, Ducey continues to say he will not be running for a US Senate seat this year. “I answered this question. The answer has not changed.