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Arizona Gov. Ducey will return to in-person State of the State as COVID cases rise

Gov. Doug Ducey won’t repeat last year’s virtual State of the State despite rising COVID-19 numbers and will instead give his final address in-person at the Arizona House of Representatives. 

C.J. Karamargin, a spokesman for the governor, said it’s important for Ducey to give his 2022 State of the State in person, given the speech’s historical significance. It’s not only the governor’s final address — as well as the last time House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Senate President Karen Fann will preside over their chambers for the speech — but he will become the first governor since Bruce Babbitt, who served from 1978-1987, to give an eighth State of the State.

Last year, with Arizona going through a winter surge in COVID cases, Ducey gave a virtual State of the State address from the governor’s office. COVID cases are again on the rise, in Arizona and across the country, a surge fueled in part by the recently discovered Omicron variant of the virus. 

Nonetheless, Karamargin said it’s important that the governor give his annual speech in person. 

“Our plan is to move forward with State of the State as it’s been done every year of this administration and virtually every year of every other administration, and that is in-person,” he said. 

As Karamargin noted, it’s rare for an Arizona governor to give an eighth State of the State address, the reason being that over the past 50 years, nearly every governor has either left office early or attained the office through the line of succession. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Ducey will become the first Arizona governor to both enter office through election and leave at the natural end of a term since Jack Williams, who served from 1967-1975, another unique circumstance of his final State of the State address that Karamargin cited. 

This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.

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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy/Arizona Mirror

Gov. Doug Ducey greets lawmakers and guests shortly before beginning his State of the State speech on Jan. 13, 2020.


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