As Doug Ducey prepares to be sworn in as governor of Arizona on Monday, I am posting a story I wrote for the Arizona Summer Wildcat covering one of his campaign events on the outskirts of Tucson on Aug. 5, 2014. Ducey was making stops through southern Arizona that day in the run up to the Republican primary election to stump on immigration and border issues.
I got a brief interview with the then-state treasurer after the event and asked him about higher education issues and his decision not to attend a recent debate in Tucson, which his GOP opponents made a fuss of.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey toured through southern Arizona on Tuesday as the campaign for the Republican nomination for Arizona governor enters its final weeks.
The Ducey campaign made stops in Nogales to meet with law enforcement officials in the Arizona-Mexico border area and in Tucson at Hotrods Old Vail, where the Arizona state treasurer was joined by State Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, and former Republican State Sen. Frank Antenori for a meet-and-greet with voters.
Melvin said he supported Ducey’s conservative credentials in the race for governor. Melvin was previously in the running for the Republican nomination for governor before dropping out and endorsing Ducey.
“I believe he’s got the leadership, the vision and the integrity to keep our state red and keep it as far away from blue or purple as we can make it,” Melvin said.
Ducey spoke with those in attendance and responded to their questions on topics from immigration to the Affordable Care Act to lay out his positions. He also spoke of his qualifications with his history of work in the private sector and building up Cold Stone Creamery.
“I built a company, now I want to shrink a government and grow an economy,” he said.
Ducey said he wants to get rid of unnecessary taxes and regulations and to ultimately eliminate the state income tax.
He also focused on immigration and border issues and said President Barack Obama has failed Arizona in his duty to protect the southern border, calling it a national security issue as well as a criminal one.
“I believe it’s the first job of our federal government to protect its citizens,” Ducey said.
“Our Tucson sector is wide open and unprotected.”
Ducey touted his recent endorsement from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio,who is known for his tough stance on illegal immigration. He has also been endorsed by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
Ducey also addressed concerns over rising tuition costs at the state’s public universities. He praised the three state universities – the UA, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University – but added that Arizona has less choice than other states when it comes to higher education.
“I want to make sure we get these costs under control so these kids have some idea what their budget will be for four or five years as they get their education,” he said. “I think there’s a way we can do that from state government to lock in those costs.”
Ducey later responded to criticism he has received on the campaign trail in recent days regarding the sale of Cold Stone Creamery and his failure to appear at a candidate forum at Pima Community College – West Campus on July 30.
Ducey said he had a conflict and could not attend the debate. He added that he has been in Pima County more than any other candidate during the campaign with an average of twice a month.
Scott Smith, mayor of Mesa and a Republican gubernatorial opponent, called out Ducey at the July 30 debate for not answering questions over Cold Stone Creamery and not appearing with the other candidates.
Antenori said Ducey’s opponents were trying to spread rumors about the candidate and said they were trying to buy the governor’s seat.
“They want to buy a governor,” he said. “They want to own the ninth floor [of the Arizona Capitol building] and the last thing you want is to allow one of those folks to get into the ninth floor.”
Ducey is running close in the polls with former GoDaddy executive Christine Jones in a crowded Republican primary field. The primary election is set for Aug. 26 and early voting is underway to see who will face likely Democratic nominee Fred DuVal.
View this story on dailywildcat.com here