Oh Thursday, in what many see as a face-saving political maneuver, Governor Doug Ducey announced he was calling for a Special Session of the Arizona Legislature. The Governor’s Office says it is making the call to ensure our state has the resources needed to combat this season’s wildfires.
Ducey will be working with Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers and local legislators Sen. TJ Shope and Rep. David Cook, whose own home has been threatened by the fires. Ducey was joined at his press conference at High Desert Middle School in Globe by legislators, Arizona’s Adjutant General and Director of the Arizona National Guard Major General Kerry Muehlenbeck; San Carlos Apache Tribe Chairman Terry Rambler; local leaders; and safety and fire officials.
The special session will allow the Governor and the Legislature to deplete much of the $500 million in surplus funding in an effort to contain current wildfires, wildfires that will potentially arise during the dry Summer months, and possible flooding and other natural disasters that may result from this emergency.
The press conference followed the Governor’s aerial tour of the Telegraph Fire, a briefing from fire officials, and a visit to the Red Cross emergency shelter set up at the middle school for those who have been evacuated (including pets).
The Telegraph Fire has burned more than 85,300 acres and the Mescal Fire has burned more than 70,000 acres.
Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita to a swipe at the governor on Twitter:
I am supportive of going into special session and seriously dealing with our wildfires, but last year when the public was told we were facing a worldwide pandemic, your leadership solution was to shutdown the economy, support the legislature prematurely ending session…(1/3) https://t.co/U6T7uz0Xvi
— Michelle Ugenti-RITA (@MichelleUgenti) June 11, 2021