PHOENIX — State Treasurer Kimberly Yee is hoping to ride the same political path as the current governor.
In a video Monday, Yee announced she wants to be the Republican nominee for the state’s top executive post in 2022.
Yee, the first Asian-American elected to Arizona statewide office, provided little in the way of details of what she intends to do. Instead, her video twice mentioned her loyalty to former President Donald Trump and his border and economic policies, and lashed out at, among others, “the corrupt press’’ she said is attacking “our way of life.”
She did not return a call seeking an interview with her on specifics of her platform or whether she supports current moves at the Legislature that would have an effect on whoever becomes governor, including efforts to enact a flat state income tax rate that could end up being one of the state’s largest tax cuts ever.
Yee, first elected to the Legislature in 2010, became the first Asian-American woman to be the Senate majority leader.
She had a few legislative pieces of note. A 2017 measure she sponsored was intended to guarantee free speech to student journalists, by requiring college and high school administrators to take a hands-off approach to student newspapers published with the guidance of teachers and advisers. Administrators would have been allowed to intercede only under several narrow circumstances.
Yee said the bill was based on her experience as a high school journalist in the 1990s whose stories and cartoons were censored by administrators.
But it never became law, as Republican Gov. Doug Ducey vetoed it, saying he believes there are limits on constitutional rights of free speech of students. “These are minors,’’ he said.
Yee was elected treasurer in 2018.
Ducey showed that it is possible to move from the nearly invisible office of treasurer to governor. But Ducey had built a public profile by taking the lead in fighting a 2012 ballot measure that would have made permanent a temporary one-cent sales tax increase.
In her video announcing her gubernatorial run, Yee first appears on the Arizona border, echoing what has lately been a GOP talking point.
“Washington is simply not going to protect Arizona,’’ she said, saying the Biden administration is refusing to enforce law and is opening the state to drug cartels and human traffickers. The video features clips of the triumvirate of people Republicans love to criticize: Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“I’ll continue President Trump’s fight to secure our southern border,’’ Yee said.
The video then shifts to the Colorado River where Yee promises to protect Arizona from the “socialist policies’’ coming from California.
“President Trump’s America First agenda had our economy booming like never before,’’ she said. “But now, our way of life is under attack by the corrupt press, reckless corporate leaders and politicians who put socialist ideals over people, our freedom of speech and our elections.’’
Yee becomes the first Republican elected official to announce for the race; Ducey cannot run for a third term because of term limits. Regent Karrin Taylor Robson also announced her candidacy on Monday. On the Democratic side, former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez is running.