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AZ leaders must be honest, transparent, listen to public health experts

Winged Victory atop the Arizona Capitol Building (Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Winged Victory atop the Arizona Capitol Building (Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

In the last year, Arizonans have seen more than 16,000 of our family members, loved ones, and neighbors die as a result of Covid. This fact cannot be separated from the reality that throughout the pandemic, our state has consistently ranked as one of the worst areas in the nation, with no meaningful action by state leaders to stop the spread. The pandemic became so dire for Arizona’s tribal neighbors that Doctors Without Borders were deployed to assist last summer.

Despite the dire situation in Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey and Republican leaders have done little to mitigate the spread of Covid. They have ignored the advice of public health experts urging the mandate of statewide mask usage in public and other high-risk situations. They have ignored requests for financial support from cash-strapped local communities. They have put politics ahead of Arizona’s safety, failed to support those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and recklessly reopened the state, without regard to Arizonans’ safety, which led to a precipitous spike in cases and deaths last summer.

We are grateful to U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly for wasting no time and working in Washington D.C. to address the serious concerns of Arizonans who have struggled throughout this pandemic.

Kelly made the economic rescue of Arizona’s families and small businesses a top priority, fighting for $50 billion in grants and loans for small businesses to stay afloat and keep people employed. Additionally, we thank the Biden administration and the members of the Arizona congressional delegation who are working to ensure that Arizonans can recover from this crisis as quickly as possible. But this rescue plan can only be the beginning.

We are joining Honest Arizona to hold our elected leaders accountable. Arizonans have endured far too much this past year, and we continue to face serious problems. If we’re going to get past this pandemic and get Arizona working families the opportunities they need, our leaders must be honest and transparent, follow the advice of public health experts, and respond to the needs of their constituents.

This commentary is signed by Honest Arizona advisory board members U.S. Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, Ruben Gallego, former Attorney General Grant Woods, State Sens. Tony Navarrette, Jamescita Peshlakai, State Reps. Reginald Bolding, Cesar Chavez, Director of Arizona Public Health Association Will Humble, Cadey Lawless Harrell, M.D., Hunter Henderson – veteran living with a pre-existing condition, Marcos Castillo – living with two pre-existing conditions, Marked by Covid co-founder Kristin Urquiza

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