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                        The first of hundreds of Afghan refugees have been settled in the Phoenix area, which is being described as a “top destination” for those displaced after the U.S. withdrawal and Taliban takeover of the country. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey thanked the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), along with Cindy McCain, the widow of former Arizona Senator John McCain, for assisting in the refugee resettlement process. “It’s critical that we keep our promises to the brave Afghan people who fought alongside us for their freedom and rights,” he then said. “They were instrumental in our operations in Afghanistan — they helped us take down terrorists and make the world a safer place.” It’s critical that we keep our promises to the brave Afghan people who fought alongside us for their freedom and rights. They were instrumental in our operations in Afghanistan — they helped us take down terrorists and make the world a safer place. 2/ — Doug Ducey (@dougducey) September 1, 2021 After calling the United...
    In Arizona, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey's staffers pushed a deal to bring major tax refunds to one of his supporters — and now, according to Arizona Republic reporter Craig Harris, the FBI's Public Corruption Unit is investigating. "Grant Nulle, former deputy director at the (Arizona) Department of Revenue, said an FBI agent contacted him in mid-July, shortly after an Arizona Republic investigation uncovered how the Ducey Administration had pushed the Department to agree to refund sales taxes on fuel for mining companies, even though that tax had been in place for decades," Harris reports. "The companies that stood to benefit were represented by Texas tax firm Ryan LLC, founded by Ducey supporter G. Brint Ryan. The top three deputies in Ducey's administration left their government jobs and went to work for Ryan to push for the tax refund." According to Harris, Ducey's staffers met with Arizona Department of Revenue officials "at least 16 times to insist that the Department — which was under their oversight in the governor's office — agree to stop opposing Ryan and issue a tax refund...
                        Governor Doug Ducey’s top two aides, Chief of Staff Daniel Scarpinato and Deputy Chief of Staff Gretchen Conger, announced on Thursday that they will leave the administration to pursue other career interests. Scarpinato has been named as a partner at Ascent Media, a national advertising and political consulting firm based in Washington, D.C, and Conger will serve as senior advisor to the Sarah Huckabee Sanders campaign. “Daniel has been a trusted and important part of my team since the beginning,” said Ducey. “His leadership of our team through challenge after challenge has been critical to our success. I am beyond thankful for his dedication and service from our 2014 transition to my re-election, through COVID and the completion of our most successful legislative session to date. While Daniel is moving on, he will remain a close friend and advisor to our team.” Scarpinato worked with Ducey since he first assumed the governor’s office in 2015 and served as a senior advisor on Ducey’s 2018 reelection campaign, where the...
                      by Elizabeth Troutman  Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Wednesday that Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Director, is leaving her position on August 27 to become chief medical officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. “When Cara Christ became a doctor, she did it to help others and save lives. That’s exactly what she’s done,” Ducey said in a news release. “She dedicated countless hours to protecting millions of Arizonans from the COVID-19 pandemic — and she’s done it with grace, stability and confidence.” The governor praised Christ’s leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including establishing testing and mass vaccination sites, developing Arizona SurgeLine, and increasing vaccination access for communities in need. He also applauded her work before the pandemic in developing the Arizona Opioid Action Plan and the Zika Action Plan and expanding access to health care institutions and child care facilities. On August 13, Christ will become the longest-serving ADHS director, the news release said. She has held several ADHS leadership positions, becoming chief medical officer,...
                        The Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona released its 2021 scorecard rating Arizona legislators this session, with just two legislators receiving perfect scores — and one of them actually scored 102 due to bonus points. Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) received an extra two points for his efforts on SCR 1001, a Senate Concurrent Resolution to terminate Governor Doug Ducey’s declaration of emergency on COVID-19. The resolution was highly critical of Ducey, observing that “Governor Ducey has subjected individual citizens to criminal sanctions for noncompliance with the stay-at-home orders.” It did not make it through the legislature. Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), who is running for Arizona Secretary of State, was the only representative to receive a perfect 100. Rep. Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa) received the Rookie of the Year award as the highest-scoring freshman legislator, with 94. Petersen, Bolick, and Parker were among seven legislators to receive perfect scores earlier this month from the Arizona Free Enterprise Club for their voting. A bill that tripped up several Republicans was HB 2321,...
    The Arizona Republican Party, in an anticipated move Saturday, approved resolutions censuring Gov. Doug DuceyDoug DuceyNational Guardsmen begin leaving Washington following controversial deployment Cindy McCain on possible GOP censure: 'I think I'm going to make T-shirts' Arizona's GOP governor to attend Biden inauguration MORE (R), former GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader MORE and Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Arizona Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWhoopi Goldberg wears 'my vice president' shirt day after inauguration Budowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Schumer becomes new Senate majority leader MORE (R).  The public rebukes, which are largely symbolic, came after both McCain and Flake endorsed President Biden in the 2020 election. The party cited Ducey’s coronavirus restrictions as the reason behind his censure.  The Arizona Republic reported that the resolution to condemn Ducey argued his emergency safety rules "restrict personal liberties and force compliance to unconstitutional edicts.”  Meanwhile, the party at its statewide meeting Saturday argued that...
    By BOB CHRISTIE, Associated Press PHOENIX (AP) — What began as a single case of a new coronavirus infecting someone affiliated with Arizona State University on Jan. 26 turned into a vast outbreak afflicting hundreds of thousands of Arizonans. As the end of the year approached, the virus had killed more than 8,000 people in the state. The coronavirus pandemic was Arizona’s top news story of the year. The disease disrupted the economy, schools, government and the lives of nearly every state resident. Gov. Doug Ducey was forced to shut down schools in March and then much of the economy in an effort to slow the virus’ spread. Ducey eased restrictions in mid-May and watched as the virus surged across the state. By that time, the Navajo Nation had massive numbers of infections. The entire state became a national hotspot for the virus in June. The Republican governor, long resistant to reimposing restrictions, finally closed nightclubs, and let cities and counties require masks, which slowed the virus' spread. Meanwhile, the staggering death toll steadily rose, hitting 1,000 on June 5;...
    Chris Christie at the Amy Coney Barrett superspreader event. What do you get if you take people who enjoy how white privilege gives them advantages in society, how male privilege lets men dictate the lives of women, and how social privilege buffers the wealthy from economic misfortunes that beset millions of Americans? The Republican Party. And at the top of the Republican Party is a reliable layer of wealth, white males whose privilege on top of privilege on top of privilege has left them so isolated that their empathy muscles have atrophied away to dust. Take Chris Christie. In addition to being the man who famously thought it would be hilarious to punish thousands of commuters to demonstrate his power over a local mayor, the most recent appearance of Christie in the news came following questions over whether he encouraged Donald Trump to try and make Joe Biden stutter. Then he got sick. Now, after spending a solid week in the ICU, Christie has been gifted an epiphany: COVID-19 is bad. It might seem that having 220,000 Americans die—including 16,300 in New Jersey—would...
    PHOENIX (AP) — The top prosecutor in Maricopa County wants lawmakers to require body-worn cameras for all Arizona police officers in the field. County Attorney Allister Adel urged six lawmakers in letters on Wednesday to take action in the next legislative session after the prosecutor declined two days earlier to bring criminal charges against state Trooper George Cervantes in the May 25 shooting death of Dion Johnson, who is Black. The trooper was not wearing a body camera because Arizona Department of Public Safety officers have not been equipped with them. “Anytime that we have more evidence in a case is helpful,” Adel told The Arizona Republic, calling the lack of bodycams at some departments a “matter of public concern.” The death of Johnson during a roadside struggle prompted protests against police violence in Phoenix. Johnson’s mother, Erma Johnson, has said the justice system failed her son. Early this year, Gov. Doug Ducey called for equipping every state trooper with a camera. Ducey offered the idea as protection for officers and proposed dedicating $5 million to buy about 1,200 cameras...
    Arizona’s top education official wants to change how schools decide when to open this fall in a way that’s more sensitive to local coronavirus outbreaks. Kathy Hoffman, Arizona's Superintendent of Public Instruction, asked Gov. Doug Ducey Tuesday to allow schools flexibility to delay opening if their area isn’t hitting COVID-19 statistics including a downward trajectory of confirmed new cases; a decrease in positivity rates for testing; and widespread availability of testing with timely results. Ducey’s office didn’t immediately respond to questions about Hoffman’s letter. The governor said Thursday that he would be making a decision regarding schools reopening this week. He previously ordered the date be pushed back to August 17. She also asked that Ducey guarantee full funding for distance learning to “ensure high-quality teaching and learning opportunities” and other student services. “Like all educators, I want students back in our classrooms because that’s the best place for learning and growing,” Hoffman said. “However, we cannot ask schools to make decisions that will impact their teachers’ and students’ health and safety without first providing them...
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