Brewer: 'Yet in the first hours of our sorrow ... We will never be brought down' - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Brewer: 'Yet in the first hours of our sorrow ... We will never be brought down'

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Posted: Monday, January 10, 2011 1:45 pm | Updated: 6:42 pm, Wed Apr 20, 2011.

Scrapping her planned State of the State speech, Gov. Jan Brewer devoted her entire talk to the first day of the legislative session Monday to the tragedy in Tucson.

"This past weekend's events have caused me -- caused all of us -- to reflect on many things, including how we respond to those terrible events,'' the governor said, before asking for a moment of silence.

Brewer said she had intended to deliver a traditional state of the state speech, "remarks that outline an exciting and solid plan for job creation, education and tax reform.''

"And I will deliver that plan to you,'' she said. "But not now. Not today.''

The governor reminded lawmakers that a year ago, in her speech, she said she would serve the people of Arizona beside them.

"I said then that public service is NOT acting in self interest, but on behalf of others,'' Brewer said. "And I asked people to join me in the field.''

She said that Gabrielle Giffords did join her in that field of public service, first as a state legislator and now as a member of Congress.

"And we worked together, knowing that when our public service ended, we would be judged less by what we achieved than by what we overcame,'' the governor said.

"Saturday's events were not just an attack on those individuals we loved and lost, but an assault on our constitutional republic, on our democracy, on all that we treasure and hold dear as citizens and public servants,'' she said.

Brewer also singled out John Roll, the presiding judge of the U.S. District Court for Arizona, for special mention. Roll, attending Giffords' Saturday "Congress on Your Corner'' event, was killed, along with five others.

"Judge Roll had just come from the light of a Catholic Mass, and confronted the darkness of a madman,'' the governor said. And she read out the names of the other five killed, taking extra time to talk about 9-year-old Christina Green.

"She was just elected to her student council,'' Brewer said.

"She was hoping to be a positive part of the future of Arizona. And she has become just that.''

But the governor also took the time to "recognize the acts of extraordinary Arizonans'' who responded to the incident, including the police, paramedics and the staff at University Medical Center. And she specifically singled out Daniel Hernandez Jr., a newly named intern for Giffords, for special mention, saying the University of Arizona junior "showed no fear in the face of gunfire.''

Hernandez applied first aid to the congresswoman until help arrived.

"His quick action in going to Gabby Giffords' aid likely saved her life,'' she said, asking lawmakers to honor Hernandez who was in the audience.

Brewer said that while the state's grief is "profound,'' the people have not been brought down.

"We will NEVER be brought down,'' she continued.

"In fact, we've been lifted up by America's thoughts and prayers,'' Brewer said. "And we're deeply grateful for them.''

Then she paraphrased from the Book of Isaiah.

"I believe Arizona will rise on wings like eagles,'' she said. "We will run and not get weary. We will walk and not grow weak.''

The Arizona Constitution does require the governor to "communicate, by message, to the Legislature at every session the condition of the state, and recommend such matters as he shall deem expedient.''

But there is no requirement that it be delivered by speech or, in fact, that it occur on the first day of the session. Gubernatorial aides said details will be provided in writing to legislators during the week.

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