This afternoon, Gov. Doug Ducey delivered his eighth and final State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate. In his 51-minute speech, the governor laid out his priorities for the upcoming session, vowing to use his final 357 days in office to bring additional legacy projects to fruition—including a $1 billion investment in water for a desalinization plant.
Dubbing his 2022 agenda “Arizona Unstoppable,” Gov. Ducey focused on pay raises for law enforcement, border security, and creation of a free summer school program designed for students who have fallen behind after a year of virtual learning.
While there was a brief mention of hospitals and healthcare workers, election reform, and rural broadband connectivity, the majority of the speech was focused on the following:
Through targeted investments, the governor is proposing to establish six advanced manufacturing training centers facilitated by community colleges across the state. Arizona’s advanced manufacturers will partner on the project, streamlining the student-to-skilled-labor pipeline and ensuring skills training aligns with in-demand jobs. Details will be included in the release of the Governor's Budget Proposal on Friday.
Free Education for Spouses of Veterans
The governor's agenda includes a proposal to waive higher education tuition for the spouses of veterans.
Summer Learning Camp
Gov. Ducey today announced the launch of a free statewide summer learning camp initiative aimed at helping Arizona kids get caught up in math, reading and civics. To qualify, a student must attend an Arizona public school and have a demonstrated need for academic support, with an emphasis placed on serving students who scored below "proficient" on the Spring 2021 AZM2. The governor is allocating federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act to fund the camp.
Pay Raise for Law Enforcement
In his address, the governor called to significantly increase state trooper pay and bolster cybersecurity. The proposed raise, which will be included in the Governor’s Budget Proposal, would increase Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) trooper salaries by 15% and would place starting trooper pay at the top of Arizona law enforcement agencies.
In what was perhaps the most animated part of his address, the governor called on Arizona's congressional delegation to adopt a five-point plan to address border security. The governor even offered his own draft legislation, which calls for more resources, stricter criminal penalties, and stronger coordination with federal leaders.
$1 Billion Water Investment
Gov. Ducey proposed setting aside $1 billion to bring a major desalination project to fruition, but offered no details as to how he plans to make that happen. While he didn’t say where he’d like to build the desalination plant, water policy experts have long discussed the possibility of using water from the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.
The governor announced plans to accelerate a project to reduce congestion and traffic accidents on a 25-mile stretch of the 1-10 between Phoenix and Casa Grande.
And there you have it. If you have a game of Buzzword Bingo going, you can go ahead and mark off "critical race theory," "mask mandate," "build the wall," "second amendment," "spending lobby," and "school choice." And it wouldn't be a speech from Arizona's 23rd governor if it didn't include a dig at California, so give yourself a bonus point if you accurately predicted that one.
For a primer on the governor’s policy agenda, click here.
For the full transcript of the governor’s remarks, click here.
And if reading all 4,700 words sounds like a special kind of torture, fear not. You can watch it here (first pitch is right around the 3:45 mark).