Phoenix Democrat Fred DuVal made his run for governor official on Wednesday, saying the state is at a crossroads.

"We are headed toward a lower-wage Mississippi economy," he said, and it's time to change direction.

"I am a problem solver - and Arizona's got problems," DuVal said in a speech at a Tucson coffee shop a few blocks from where he grew up.

Among those problems are a "brand of intolerance," lower investment in the state, education budget cuts and lack of a statewide economic strategy, he said.

DuVal touched on several ideas for solutions, including changing the discussion about the U.S.-Mexico border from one of "fear" to one of economic opportunity.

To highlight his problem-solving skills, DuVal told of how he helped bring community colleges and universities together to offer lower-cost degree programs.

DuVal said voters are tired of polarized politics. His agenda for jobs, education and economic opportunity has wide appeal, he said.

"We spend more time in Phoenix arguing about human contraception than human innovation," he said. "I think our voters of all parties will welcome a discussion about the issues that really matter to their lives."

DuVal was deputy director of Intergovernmental Affairs in the Clinton White House.

He served on the Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees the university system, and on the Arizona Commerce and Economic Development Commission, where he led a statewide strategic planning effort.

DuVal graduated from Tucson High School and earned a law degree from Arizona State University. He is married and has two sons.

Az voter registration

Republicans - 1,141,700

Independents - 1,075,334

Democrats - 979,171

Other parties - 29,312

Source: Arizona Secretary of State

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at or 573-4346. On Twitter @BeckyPallack.