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Arizona Gov. Ducey gives his final State of the State address in Yuma

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey addresses Yuma County residents at his State of the State address in Yuma on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.
Victor Calderón/KAWC
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey addresses Yuma County residents at his State of the State address in Yuma on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey was in Yuma Thursday where he gave a version of his final State of the State address. Gov. Ducey gave his seventh annual address in Yuma as he enters his final year in office.

The governor touched on a wide range of topics- keeping K-12 schools open, funding schools, including the future Somerton High School and Arizona Western College, and the Yuma ag industry, which he called the centerpiece of Arizona’s economy.

On the topic of the U.S.-Mexico border, Ducey blamed President Joe Biden’s administration for a rise in fentanyl deaths in the state, both in his speech and with reporters afterward.

“This is the worst border crisis in 20+ years and this is by the Biden administration’s numbers," Ducey told KAWC. "The leading (number) one cause of death in southern Arizona is fentanyl. There’s a border crisis.”

Yuma community leaders said they welcome Ducey coming directly to them.

“Well, I can always appreciate when the governor comes to Yuma and uses it as a platform to promote what is most important to Yuma,” said John Hessinger, community development director for the Better Business Bureau in Yuma.

Hessinger said he appreciated the governor’s focus on maintaining water rights for Yuma and school choice for parents.

Following his address, the governor met with community leaders in a roundtable that was closed to the media. Among those in the room were Yuma Mayor Doug Nicholls, Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines, San Luis Port Director John Schwamm and Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Carmen Gandara and Division Chief Christopher Seiler of the Yuma Sector Border Patrol.

Community leaders who attended the governor's address included San Luis Vice Mayor Africa Luna-Carrasco and Somerton councilwomen Martha Garcia and Lorena Zendejas and City Manager Jerry Cabrera.

Following Ducey's visit at the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce event, he visited with students, teacher and staff at the Gowan Science Academy in Yuma, the first science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) K-8 school in Yuma County.

Victor is originally from West Sacramento, California and has lived in Arizona for more than five years. He began his print journalism career in 2004 following his graduation from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Victor has been a reporter for the following daily newspapers: The Monterey County Herald, The Salinas Californian and the Reno Gazette-Journal, where he covered stories including agriculture, education and Latino community news. Victor has also served as a local editor for Patch, a national news organization with hyperlocal websites, in Carmichael, California in the Sacramento area. He also served as the editor for The New Vision, the newspaper for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, which includes Yuma and La Paz counties. Victor lives in Somerton. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends and following most sports.
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