The state's 50th legislative session began simply and soberly, as Republican Governor Jan Brewer delivered a short State of the State address focused on service and sacrifice.
The speech was new, a revision drafted in the wake of Saturday's shooting in northwest Tucson, which claimed six lives and left 14 injured, including targeted U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The original speech was expected to address Arizona's severe fiscal straits and introduce the framework for her upcoming budget plan, which is scheduled to be released Friday.
But the weekend's tragic events led the governor to reflect "on many things," she said. She called for a moment of silence to "pray for all of those we have lost, for the injured and those who are suffering."
The eight or so minutes that followed were a call for hope and continued service, and a tribute to the shooting victims.
"One year ago, from this very place, I told you I would serve beside you, proud to serve the people of Arizona. I said then, that public service is acting not in self-interest but on behalf of others. And I asked people to join me in the field," said Brewer. "Gabby Giffords did join me in the field."
Brewer recognized Daniel Hernandez, the intern and University of Arizona junior whose quick action to lift Giffords and keep pressure on her wound helped save her life. Legislators gave Hernandez a standing ovation.
Brewer called Saturday's mass killing "an assault on our democracy ... on all we treasure and hold dear," but insisted that despite its present pain, Arizona "will never be brought down."