When Doug Ducey was elected Governor of Arizona he pledged to bring more business acumen to the job. What voters may not have anticipated was his adeptness for politics. Surely some of that has to do with the skills of his Chief of Staff Kirk Adams and others nearby like Danny Seiden and Daniel Scarpinato, but even with those ear whisperers it still takes someone at the top to get it.
Governor Ducey’s exemplary and respectful relationship with lawmakers isn’t just limited to Republican leadership. Recall his outreach calls to Democrats prior to taking office. That wasn’t just window dressing. Respect from and rapport with Democrats – and nearly all legislators -- helped lead to a crucial vote to move Arizona K-12 public education forward on May 17th. A “yes” vote on Proposition 123 will end lawsuits and begin better funding for students statewide.
Clearly Ducey’s past experiences, advisors now or perhaps both taught him getting along with co-equals in government is a path for success. We make the observation not only to congratulate the refreshing approach but to highlight for too many at the local level that ignore similar advice and the example now emanating from 1700 West Washington.
City councils that are split, rancorous and comedic are too many to name. There will always be division in democracy but too often Arizona cities and towns represent kangaroo courts rather than earnest contemplators. Ironically a one-time Ducey competitor, former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, might be the best example of someone who worked with his council colleagues to forge a coordinated vision to move his community forward.
There is a tendency by people in power to think their title mightier than it is. The humble and the smart know – or learn – otherwise. The League of Cities and Towns has a prominent office located near the Governor. Let’s hope the proximity allows Ducey’s approach to start rubbing off on the organization’s constituents.