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Final Word: The State of the State is about the future of many, not one

It’s part of the job, you know, the State of the State address.

Governors do it once a year. They can talk as long as they want and they could sing a song if they preferred to, but most of them stick to business and their agenda for the year.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer delivered hers Monday and made news by announcing her executive order taking Child Protective Services out from under the Department of Econonic Security’s organizational umbrella, as a way to kick start the “reinvention” of the agency.

It’s probably a wise first step.

With 6,000 or so files alleging instances of possible abuse of a child going uninvestigated at CPS last year, it’s clear something had to be done. Does it make sense to have the same agency that doles out food stamps also looking into child abuse inside the home? Probably not.

In many cases, those are homes getting the DES benefits.
And the child-abuse investigations are often more of a law enforcement function than a child-welfare function.

Just how the new agency will be structured and get back to the business of handling the welfare of children and families in Arizona remains to be seen, but I think this is a harmless first step.

Brewer chose to outline this and other priorities for the coming year in her speech, and chose NOT to address an issue of slight controversy: the question of whether or not she thinks she has the legal right to run for governor AGAIN.

Even though it’s the question a lot of people want answered, the State of the State is neither the time nor the place.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie delivered his State of the State on Tuesday. Reportedly he will focus on an effort to keep New Jersey school kids in the classroom longer.

Critics said he should answer questions about recent scandals affecting his office, including Bridgegate and the spending of Hurricane Sandy relief dollars.

Those answers will come. There are multiple investigations ongoing into those issues, which Christie’s political rivals are hoping will upend his aspirations for higher office.

Again, the State of the State is neither the time or the place.

Despite the fact that this speech is often used to promote a political idea, it’s still the statutory obligation of the office.

It SHOULD be used to lay out a plan for the future, not to answer questions about the past.

Christie has a state to govern. Let him do it. Brewer said child welfare in Arizona is a priority. Let her try to improve it.

It’s what we elect them to do.


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