Originally Published: September 20, 2014 6:02 a.m.
TUCSON (AP) - Republican Doug Ducey is trying to chip away at Democrat Fred DuVal's top issue, saying at a governor's candidate debate that he wants to jump-start the state's K-12 education system by replicating the success of Arizona's top schools statewide.
DuVal got in his own move toward the center when he pledged not to raise taxes, taking a page from Ducey's book.
In their second of five debates, the two major party candidates disagreed on driver's licenses for young immigrants known as "dreamers" who were given deferred action status by the Obama administration. Ducey said he would continue Gov. Jan Brewer's position blocking licenses for deferred action recipients.
"Yes, we are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws," Ducey told the audience at the Tucson Jewish Community Center at the debate late Thursday.
DuVal disagreed, saying he would repeal her executive order.
"Let's stop demonizing the dreamers and let everyone succeed," DuVal told the crowd.
Ducey and Duval did agree that education is key, although they differed on how to improve it.
Ducey noted roughly $9 billion a year is spent to educate about 1 million Arizona children, but said money needs to be allocated more wisely.
"Spending is not the measure of success," Ducey said, noting the high amount of money being spent in Washington, D.C., and Detroit inner-city schools without positive results.
DuVal has urged Brewer to drop appeals of a court order requiring the state to restore more than $300 million a year in funding increases that schools lost during the recession.