Doug Ducey clashes with Biden Administration over Covid mandates: ‘The governor's just wrong’

Doug Ducey clashes with Biden Administration over Covid mandates: ‘The governor's just wrong’
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaking at the 2019 Legislative Forecast Luncheon, hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona, Gage Skidmore
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As much as Republicans love to talk about "states' rights," many of them aren't big on local rights when it comes to municipal laws or rules they don't like. And that has been playing out during the COVID-19 pandemic in Arizona, where Republican Gov. Doug Ducey is defending a statewide ban on mask mandates in public schools that will soon go into effect.

Some local school districts in Arizona have been mandating that students wear protective face masks in classrooms, but when the statewide law that Ducey is defending goes into effect, such local mandates will be illegal in his state. The Biden Administration believes that local school districts in Arizona should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want mask mandates; Ducey disagrees.

Matt Galka, a reporter for the television station Fox 10 Phoenix, explains, "The Biden Administration sent a letter to the governor, standing by the school districts that have enacted mask rules, and federal dollars could be at stake. It was a heated exchange at times with the governor, who said parents make the best choices for their children, not school boards."

On August 19, during a ceremony in which Ducey signed Arizona's prohibition of mask mandates into law, the Arizona governor said, "I want parents to do what they think is the right thing to do. Anyone who wants to wear a mask is supported in wearing that mask…. This is not a Doug Ducey mandate. This is the law. I took an oath to upload the law, and so should administrators around the state."

Chandler Unified, Higley Unified decide against mask mandate amid surge in COVID-19

Joe Thomas of the Arizona Education Association totally disagrees, accusing Ducey of playing politics during a deadly health crisis.

Thomas told Fox 10 Phoenix, "The governor's just wrong about this, and it's unfortunate. He's politicizing this, playing into his base who's agitated by this — many who aren't parents, but some are."

Ducey isn't the only Republican governor who favors a statewide ban on mask mandates in public schools. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott both signed executive orders banning local school districts from requiring face masks in classrooms, and DeSantis — who is never shy about pandering to the worst of his MAGA base — has been attacking expert immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five new COVID-19 infections is occurring in Florida.

COVID-19's highly infectious Delta variant has been surging in the U.S., especially in red states with low vaccination rates. According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, COVID-19 has killed more than 4.4 million people worldwide and over 625,000 people in the United States.

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