Republican Arizona Gov. Ducey sworn in with bipartisan group

PHOENIX (AP) - Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and five other newly elected officials from both sides of the political aisle took the oath of office Monday in a bipartisan ceremony that recognized Democratic gains in what has long been considered a solidly red state.

Democrats Kathy Hoffman, Arizona's new superintendent of public instruction, and Katie Hobbs, the new secretary of state, were sworn in for four-year terms alongside Ducey and Republicans Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Treasurer Kimberly Yee and State Mine Inspector Joe Hart.

In the spirit of bipartisanship, Democratic Mayor Robert Uribe of Douglas, who backed Ducey in the November election, served as master of ceremonies. Four grandchildren of the late Rep. Ed Pastor, a Hispanic Democrat who represented Arizona in Congress for more than two decades, led the Pledge of Allegiance.

The event also included a native leader's blessing, as well as prayers by a rabbi and a Baptist pastor. Two F-16 Fighting Falcons flown by the Arizona National Guard roared overhead.

Ducey recognized some of the top issues facing state officials in the coming years, such as finding more money for education after the statewide "Red for Ed" movement that saw public school teachers go on strike in 2018, and deciding how to handle a drought contingency plan.

"It's time to press forward on some of the biggest challenges facing us," he told the crowd gathered outside the Capitol buildings. "Because none of us came here to do little things. We came here to do the things that matter. Big things. And we can do them together."

All of the state officials sworn in with Ducey four years ago were Republicans.

But Arizona Democrats did well in the midterm election, with Kyrsten Sinema winning outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake's seat to become the state's first female senator. Democrat Sandra Kenney was the top vote-getter for one of two open seats on Arizona's five member state utilities commission.

Sinema and Arizona Republican Martha McSally, appointed by Ducey to fill the seat that was held by the late Sen. John McCain, were sworn in last week in Washington. U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl held the seat a little more than four months after McCain died Aug. 25.

Democrats in November failed to make inroads in four Republican-held congressional seats.