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Hobbs talks border security, economic development and ESAs in State of the State address

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(The Center Square)– Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs outlined her goals for the year in front of the Republican-majority Legislature on Monday afternoon.

Hobbs touched on issues such as border security, economic development, housing and education.

The governor touted her recent decision to deploy National Guard troops to the Tucson Sector, and she asked the Legislature for funding for Operation SECURE, which is part of her border security efforts.

“This new funding will expand the Operation with critical investments in border security, as well as resources to intercept the flow of fentanyl,” she said. “Every Arizonan should know we are taking significant and meaningful steps to keep them safe — even when the federal government refuses to.”

Besides the border, the Democrat highlighted economic development in Arizona, as companies continue to pour investments into the state and pushed for continuing the Arizona Commerce Authority. She also addressed concerns about affordable housing, which has been considered one of the consequences of rapid growth in the state.

“That’s why today I am announcing the Arizona Is Home Mortgage Assistance Program. This program will help working-class families throughout the state with down payment assistance and mortgage interest rate relief,” the governor said. “That means a family of four living in Phoenix making up to $75,000 a year will have the opportunity to purchase a quality, affordable home.”

A high-profile tipping point between the Legislature and the governor will be Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, which have been praised by many Republicans and criticized by Democrats. Hobbs has been a vocal critic of ESAs, and she asked the legislature to prioritize greater accountability for the program.

“It is our responsibility as stewards of this state to put in place guardrails to ensure taxpayer dollars dedicated to education are used properly. Without these guardrails, waste, fraud, and abuse take root and thrive,” she said.

The governor vetoed 142 bills last session, according to the Phoenix New Times.

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