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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey endorses Debbie Lesko in Congress race

(AP Photos)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey officially endorsed U.S. Congress hopeful and former Arizona state Sen. Debbie Lesko on Thursday, Ducey said in a release.

“Few legislators worked harder than Debbie Lesko. She crafted legislation that stabilized the pension system for our first responders,” Ducey said.

“Debbie is dedicated to improving education for our children and expanding school choice. She is ready for Congress where I know she will continue her hard work for the citizens of Arizona.”

In the February special primary election, Lesko pulled ahead of 11 other Republican candidates vying for the Congressional District 8 seat vacated by former U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, taking home 36 percent of the vote. She will represent the Republican Party in the April 24 general election.

“I’m so thankful to Gov. Ducey for his support,” Lesko said. “I worked with him on many issues to improve education, bring more jobs to Arizona and secure our border with Mexico. I look forward to working with him when I am elected to Congress to accomplish even more.”

During her time in the Arizona state Senate, Lesko helped eliminate radar cameras on state highways, testified against unfair utility rate increases and helped make it so that people using their golf carts on roadways are not ticketed by police, among other things.

“I tackled many issues, big and small, when I was in the state Legislature,” Lesko said. “I will bring that same work ethic to Congress to help secure our border, lower taxes, reduce regulations, rein in wasteful spending in Washington and protect Luke Air Force Base.”

The Arizona Democratic Party decried the endorsement and placed the blame on the state’s low teacher pay rates on both politicians’ shoulders.

“With Doug Ducey and Debbie Lesko, Arizonans have two politicians who are responsible for the state’s schools ranking 49th and teacher pay ranking dead last in the nation,” Drew Anderson, the group’s senior communications adviser, said in a statement.

“In fact, Debbie Lesko went as far as to call Arizona teachers ‘selfish’ for protesting drastic cuts to our schools. Both Ducey and Lesko are in the back pocket of special interests groups, and they have shown they will put those interests ahead of hardworking Arizonans 100 percent of the time.”

Lesko is running against Democratic nominee Dr. Hiral Tipirneni in the upcoming April general election.

Early balloting has already begun.

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