Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs’ State of the State Outlines Priorities
Gila River Indian News
Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis attended Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs’ State of the State address during the first day of the 2024 legislative session on Jan. 8, during which she outlined a long list of priorities. They included several topics of significance to tribal nations, ranging from better oversight of sober living homes to expanding internet access on tribal lands.
“It was an honor to be a guest of Governor Hobbs at her State of the State speech,” Gov. Lewis said. “She touched on a lot of important issues facing Arizona, but also for the community.”
Hobbs began her address with a land acknowledgment of the Gila River Indian Community and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
“It is my honor to stand before you today at the opening of the second regular session of the 56th Legislature here on land that will always be connected to the O’odham and the people of today’s Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and of the Gila River Indian Community,” Hobbs said.
She stated that Arizona residents are relying on their leaders to ensure that “We continue creating good-paying jobs for working-class Arizonans, that we help lower costs on everyday items, that our water future is secure, that our schools are safe and places of opportunity, that health care is accessible for those who need it and when they need it and that our rights and freedoms are protected.”
Hobbs emphasized the importance of partnerships to manage water and just how critical it is for Arizona to work together towards water conservation during the historic drought facing the Colorado River.
She also mentioned tribal education and the sober living home crisis.
“We should also be outraged at this separate, but just as infuriating, sober living home scandal that ruined countless lives and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars,” Hobbs said, “I’m proud we have taken action to crack down on this fraud.”
She added that she’s asking the legislature to strengthen standards for sober living homes and stronger penalties for “bad actors.”
In addition, Hobbs called on the legislature to work with her to begin a new engineering-focused medical school at Arizona State University (ASU) double the size of the medical schools at the University of Arizona and to start a new medical school at Northern Arizona University with a focus on serving rural and tribal communities.
Hobbs also noted that her administration will expand high-speed internet to every community across the state, particularly in rural and tribal communities.
“Even though we are a sovereign nation,” said Gov. Lewis, “having such great relations, such positive, cooperative relationships with the governor of Arizona… is so critical to us as a Community, as a sovereign nation trying to achieve our goals as well.”