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Ducey: Cross-border trade expanding despite recent challenges

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 10:13 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Arizona Governor Doug Ducey made a trip to Nogales, Arizona to cut a ribbon for a new fruit and vegetable warehouse opened by Jaime Chamberlain, President of Chamberlain Distributing.

Chamberlain opened the 60,000-square-foot St. James cooler warehouse which he says will create jobs and expedite the movement of produce from the field to the dining room table.

Ducey used the occasion to mention how cross-border trade is expanding despite a recession, pandemic, and a closed border.

“The truck traffic actually increased by 2,600 last year,” Ducey said “I’m excited to see we are putting the challenges of the pandemic behind us.”

While the pandemic may be receding, especially in Santa Cruz County where 84% of the residents have been vaccinated, the governor is facing a series of issues at the state capitol in Phoenix.

The first is the $12.8 billion budget which includes a $1.9 billion tax cut, still has not been passed and two Republican lawmakers say they won’t sign on to it.

That leaves the governor two votes short of passage and has him scrambling.

“I’m willing to work with anyone of goodwill and good faith,” he said, signaling he may reach across the aisle to the Democratic Party if need be and if they’d be willing. “I’m going to negotiate and communicate with legislators but I’m not going to negotiate with them through the press.

The budget needs to be passed by June 30 and if not, the government could shut down.

Also, the governor signed an executive order shutting down ASU’s plans for reopening in the fall which includes harsh restrictions for students who are not vaccinated.

When asked why he said, “We’re going to encourage people to get vaccinated, it’s voluntary.”

When asked again, this time what’s the difference between childhood vaccines, which would also be needed at ASU, and the coronavirus vaccine he said “we want people to get vaccinated and get an education.” In other words, he won’t answer the question.

There’s also a special session he called to deal with what promises to be a severe wildfire season. The lawmakers are scheduled to pass a bill setting aside $100 million for fire fighting, suppression, and clean-up.

Back on border issues, the drought is having an impact on farmers and farming South of the border, which Chamberlain is well aware of.

“We’re already seeing food prices go up especially on the East coast see them in the Midwest pretty soon and also the West Coast as well,” Chamberlain said. “The drought will curtail planting season and farmers will think twice what they’re able to plant and plant successfully.”

It’s not just the drought but prices have increased for fuel, lumber, seed and other items farmers need to get products to market.

In the meantime, there’s hope the border will reopen soon.

“California just reopened yesterday so the federal government can’t be far behind,” Ducey said. “I wish they’d open it up right now.”

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