September 27, 2019 / Modified oct 2, 2019 4:33 p.m.

Christiane Amanpour, Gov Ducey on USMCA, TUSD sex-ed reform

Plus, our Own Words series features young climate change activists.

While an impeachment inquiry into President Trump dominated news on Capitol Hill this week, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey doesn’t want Congress to lose sight of ratifying the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which would replace NAFTA. Ducey sat down with Lorraine Rivera at Arizona Public Media to discuss his latest attempts to keep the focus on the new trade deal.

“If it does go on the floor it will pass. And it’s very important for Arizona. Everyone knows Mexico is our No. 1 trading partner — times four,” Ducey said. “This is an agreement that takes into account the cyber age.”

The conversation also turned to new wall construction along parts of Arizona’s southern border amid a recent decrease in the number of apprehensions. Rivera asked Ducey if a taller fence is warranted, given the drop in crossings.

“The numbers have dropped, but there’s still large numbers,” Ducey said. “So I do think there are parts of our border where a wall is necessary. Where a physical barrier is necessary. There’s other parts where we just need more boots on the ground or technology.”

As Tucson’s election approaches, voters will consider Proposition 205, more commonly referred to as the sanctuary city initiative. Ducey explained his opposition to ballot measure.

“My position is one that’s informed by Mayor Rothschild, the Tucson City Council. I think all three Democrat candidates for mayor were all opposed to this idea because it could cost the city of Tucson north of $100 million. It could also hurt public safety,” Ducey said.

The conversation ended on the issue of education funding beyond the governor’s “20 by 2020” plan, which promised to raise teacher salaries by 20% over three years beginning in 2018.

“We’re never going to check the box on K-12 education. I’m someone that doesn’t want to make spending the measure of success. I want us to measure how are our kids doing in math, reading and science,” Ducey said. “We have options in the state of Arizona. We should make sure that we don’t go on a spending spree, but that we’re fiscally responsible with targeted investments.”

Tucson’s largest school district is in the process of updating its sex-education curriculum for the first time since 2006. Changes proposed by the Tucson Unified School District include teaching beyond “abstinence only” as the only effective way to prevent pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. It also takes a more gender-neutral position by removing language that may offend LGBTQ students.

Strong and divisive feedback from the public led the school board to delay a final vote this month. Arizona 360 heard from people on both sides of the issue for a deeper understanding of the controversy.

Featured guests: Obed Orozco, pastor, Grace to the Nations; Russell Toomey, associate professor, UA family and consumer Sciences; Duncan Moon, education reporter, Arizona Public Media.

Acclaimed journalist Christiane Amanpour received her latest accolade in Tucson this month when the University of Arizona School of Journalism awarded the host of Amanpour & Co. the Zenger Award for Press Freedom. Amanpour shared her views on the importance of a free press with Christopher Conover. She also discussed the philosophy behind her reporting mantra, “be truthful, not neutral.”

“You’ve got to tell the truth. You cannot sit and assume or tell people that in every case there’s a 'he-said, she said.' That’s an attempt to be neutral when often it doesn’t exist,” Amanpour said. She went on to apply that philosophy to early reporting on climate change.

“For a long, long time, journalists were guilty of treating this crisis as a 'he-said, she said,' thinking that objectivity was equating the unbelievable weight of scientific evidence with the teeny-weeny number of deniers who we elevated to equal partners,” Amanpour said.

During Amanpour’s visit in Tucson she spoke to students in the UA school of journalism. She explained to Conover her views about the future of journalism and opportunities for women entering the field.

“When I started, certainly as a war correspondent, there were very few women doing this. Very, very few. And now almost everyone is a woman,” Amanpour said. “I would say one thing: There aren’t enough women in the executive suites. There aren’t enough women in the top decision-making places.”

Amid growing demands that governments around the globe take action on climate change, some of the loudest calls are coming from younger voices. In a return to Arizona 360’s occasional commentary series Own Words, we heard from University of Arizona students Kyle Kline and Daniel Casanova. The pair led September’s climate strike demonstration in Tucson and spoke about why they believe the issue of climate change belongs at the forefront.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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