On Monday afternoon Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was sworn in for her first full term as governor.
“We will keep faith with the people who have placed their sacred trust in us,” Brewer said in front of the Old Capitol building in Phoenix, the East Valley Tribune reported. “And, when we have fulfilled our calling here, we intend to leave Arizona with a budget that is balanced, fueled by private enterprise, unencumbered by heavy regulations and unnecessary rules.”
Brewer’s had an eventful run so far, with a tenure defined primarily by her harsh stance on immigration. Brewer shot to national fame after signing SB 1070 into law–the law that made it a state crime to be in Arizona without immigration papers. But it’s clear that once she entered the national spotlight, she wasn’t all that sure what to do with it, as evidenced by her mortifying performance in a pre-election debate with other gubernatorial candidates in September. But SB 1070 isn’t the only issue dogging the state, which boasts one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation and billion-dollar budget shortfalls.
In honor of Brewer’s new term, we’ve rounded up a few of Brewer’s headline-grabbing hits from last year. If her last term is any indication, the next promises to be full of excitement, if not a little bit of scandal and disgrace, too.
1) Brewer signed SB 1070 into law on April 23, then all but admitted at the signing ceremony that the anti-immigrant law would lead to racial profiling when she acknowledged that she “do[es] not know what an illegal immigrant looks like.” The law authorizes law enforcement officers to question and detain anyone they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in the country without papers.
2) Private prison and immigration detention corporations had a hand in helping to craft SB 1070, an NPR investigation found out last year. What’s more, several key Brewer administration staffers were former prison corporation lobbyists. Education, Medicaid and the prison system are the state’s largest expenditures. One guess as to which will likely be spared when the legislature re-examines its spending priorities this year.
3) Brewer proved her heartlessness elsewhere when she signed a law kicking low-income residents off of Medicaid, including those in critical need of organ transplants for whom the state had already promised to pay for. Brewer has refused to budge even though she’s received harsh criticism for her brand of “Brewercare.” Brewer told people who wanted more public support for medical costs to “go ask the federal government” to send the state more money but continues to oppose Obama’s health care reform bill, which would do exactly that.