Gov. Doug Ducey sees a big future for Arizona in trade with Mexico, announcing on Tuesday he plans another trade mission later this week to meet with Mexican officials.
Despite fiery rhetoric from President-elect Donald Trump about repealing the North American Free Trade Agreement and continued calls to build a massive wall along the Mexican border, Ducey told reporters he isn’t changing his message on trade with Mexico.
“I am going to continue to talk about the same things I’ve talked about since I was elected governor,” Ducey said during a State of the State speech at the Tucson Convention Center. “They are our No. 1 trading partner times four, and I want to strengthen that, find ways to get trucks across the border faster and make sure we are ensuring public safety.”
He will listen to the proposals out of the new administration related to trade but thinks he is on the same page as Trump.
“If there are ways to improve trade with Mexico, I am very open-minded about that. What I want to see are jobs for good, hard-working Arizonans,” he said. “I am convinced that is what our new president wants as well. He wants to see Americans going to work.”
Ducey also continued to tout his new plan to put more resources into the state’s K-12 education system.
He called for increased investments in public schools — beyond inflation — for every single year he is governor.
Specifically, the Republican governor called for raises for teachers, teaching programs to get a degree without the need for huge student loans, and incentives for poorer schools to give signing bonuses to new hires.
Ducey is halfway through his four-year term.
His announcement this week coincides with projections that there will be more funds available in the state’s next fiscal year.
“When we have available resources like we do this year, the bulk of those dollars are going to go to K-12 education. And this year, it is going to teachers,” Ducey said. “Our teachers need a raise.”
Ducey, however, deflected questions about how his administration plans on paying for the pledged increases to K-12 education.
“I’ll show the numbers we have on Friday when we release our budget,” Ducey said. “But I’ve said there is not a pot of gold. There is not money under the seat cushion.”