Gov. Doug Ducey

Gov. Doug Ducey praised the new White Claw production facility, above. It and neighbor Red Bull will bring hundreds of jobs to the West Valley.

Gov. Doug Ducey highlighted business success in a West Valley version of his earlier State of the State speech.

In a Jan. 13 virtual meeting sponsored by WESTMARC, Ducey also discussed the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the violence at the U.S Capitol and educational concerns about distance learning.

Ducey addressed questions about the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you go back a year ago today … our state was booming,” he said. “We were in the top five states for not only personal income growth but economic momentum. Through the pandemic, we’re still in the top five. Our pipeline has never been more full.

“Places like Tolleson are getting real economic development.”

Ducey highlighted the new White Claw Hard Seltzer and Red Bull plants that are neighbors in west Glendale and Mitek’s industrial expansion coming to Tolleson.

“In October, White Claw cut the ribbon on its new $250 million manufacturing facility in Glendale. … In November, Red Bull began producing cans at its 700,000-square-foot factory building in Glendale. Mitek announced it’s expanding manufacturing jobs, bringing new jobs to Tolleson,” said Ducey. 

The West Valley is also the center of Ducey’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plans.

“Arizona’s going to do this fast, and better than other states. We’ve had a real sense of urgency and purpose on this. Right in the West Valley at State Farm Stadium, we’ve got a 24/7 vaccination site. We’re doing about 6,000 vaccinations a day. We want to ramp that up 12,000,” said Ducey.

While prioritizing firefighters, police officers, teachers and older Arizonans, Ducey said, “I have not received the vaccine. I’m not going to get it before my grandmother.”

Ducey addressed educational concerns about distance education, especially for low-income communities.

“Most Arizonans are concerned about their kids and their education and their jobs. … Every student fell behind to a certain degree during distance learning. We’ve had an achievement gap in our state for years,” said Ducey.  “Online learning has not been for our kids in low-income areas. … Job one is getting kids back up to grade level.”

Ducey also spoke out against the U.S. Capitol rioters.

“All perpetrators should be persecuted to the fullest extent,” said Ducey. “It should never happen again. … I know that people are divided. It was a very spirited election cycle. It’s time that we in leadership positions lead and also look for policies that we can come together on.”

Looking ahead, Ducey mentioned key priorities including broadband expansion, better access to telemedicine, better roads and bridges, better equipment/training for law enforcement and criminal justice reform.

“We can complete all of this in 2021, and I am ready,” said Ducey. “Thank you for your families and for our hardworking doctors and nurses.

“Get the vaccine.”