PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey delivered his annual State of the State address on Monday. The speech is traditionally delivered to a crowd of lawmakers in the House of Representatives, but this year, the address was virtual due to the pandemic.
The speech typically lays out priorities for the budget, focusing on education, public safety, and infrastructure.
Dr. David Swindell, an associate professor at the School of Public Affairs and director of the Center for Urban Innovation at ASU, said this year's speech will be different due to COVID-19.
"COVID is going to be such a shadow over the budget this year because our revenues are going to be so stressed," he said.
Dr. Swindell expects the top issue will be the vaccine.
"How am I going to get my vaccine? People are going to want to know, what are we doing to get those vaccines out to individuals. The program has not gone smoothly. It's not gone well in the federal level and it's not going well in the state level either," said Dr. Swindell.
Dr. Swindell hopes Ducey will get into specifics on logistics -- what will be different in the next few weeks to carry out the distribution? He also hopes Ducey will encourage people to participate.
"What do we do once we do have this under control later this year and how do we get the economy rolling again? We've taken an enormous hit, particularly in tourism, as you can imagine."
Education, particularly getting kids safely back in schools, will also be a big topic. Districts across the state have been grappling with a seemingly impossible choice as cases rise to stay open or go virtual.
"Getting kids into schools, back to school with teachers and staff being protected. Nothing happens without that. The economy cannot move forward until we fix that problem," said Dr. Swindell.
Ducey's tone is also important, especially after this week's riots at the U.S. Capitol. Dr. Swindell said the governor will need to share a message of unity and civility.
"So we can come together and deal with these collective problems that we're facing right now, this pandemic, at a moment when we're so torn apart. He's really got to rise above some of the petty politics that we're inundated by right now and try to bring Arizonans together," he said.
Dr. Swindell expects Ducey to also touch on topics of law enforcement and infrastructure.