Arizona Governor Doug Ducey went live on Thursday afternoon as he tried to reassure an anxious Arizona that the route to recovery and normalization, he has chosen is the right one.
However, as numbers begin to trend down in the state, the call to either shut down completely, or do the exact opposite, remains a constant.
Thursday afternoon would be no different.
As the Governor worked through the question and answer part of his press conference, he took time after a back and forth from ABC 15 reporter Nicole Grigg, a grandstanding vocal critic of Ducey, to make clear where he sees his role via this pandemic.
“There are two very loud lobbies out there. One is the ‘lock it down’ lobby, and they want to see everything locked down. And they weren’t even happy when we had a stay-home order and we did not have rising cases,” Ducey said. “The other very loud lobby is the ‘government’s not going to tell me what to do’ lobby. Very American thing to think and say; not during a pandemic.”
Objective observers believe the Governor is right. When he began the process of opening Arizona, the criticism was loud, especially from the media, and most especially from the “friend of show” mayors like Kate Gallego, D-Phoenix, and Regina Romero, D-Tucson, who are working overtime to advance their progressive brand with a compliant cable news media.
Romero, who along with Gallego, Mayor Coral Evans, D-Flagstaff, and Mayor Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson, have remained vocal opponents of the Governor. From opening the state, to an Arizona-wide mask mandate, to an end of year eviction moratorium, Ducey is fighting a two-sided war for the soul of Arizona once you add local media to the equation.
Progressive mayors aside, it’s not necessarily the science the Governor is leaning on. As much as he says he is relying on “public health” experts, Ducey now operates in the space where his legal council shapes Arizona policy. With no input from the legislator, Ducey is content to rely on Arizona Revised Statute 26-303. Meaning whether it’s opening or closing Arizona, his room of attorneys will place him in the safest legal space possible.
Science, or at least the totality of it has fallen by the wayside. With positive test up, Representative Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, commissioned a study that would prove a valuable counter-argument on behalf of many Arizonans who would like their voices heard.
The study, conducted by the Tennessee firm, Anchor-Helm, says that “daily hospitalization” saw its peak on June 16. The report also states those numbers have seen a dramatic decrease. Finchem has also said that the state health department is withholding raw numbers that would be helpful to Arizona lawmakers, who seek long overdue input as the Governor works unchecked during this pandemic.
“The agency is refusing to release the data to me as a legislator so we can attempt to replicate their work.”
Whether Governor Ducey opened Arizona too soon, or would seek to close it in the same fashion, both lobbies came away from Thursday’s press conference where they began the day. With positive tests still high, and a death rate remarkably low, the target seems to have moved again. No longer is it “flatten the curve.” Now, Arizona needs to get used to a new normal. It’s one neither lobby much cares for.