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GOP State Treasurer visits College Republicans to discuss governor run

Kimberly Yee visited campus to discuss how her accomplishments make her the best candidate for Arizona governor

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State Treasurer Kimberly Yee (R) talks to ASU College Republicans in the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021.

Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee, who is running for governor, visited ASU College Republicans Monday at the club's final installment of its candidate series to discuss her accomplishments while in office and policies involving Israel and personal privacy. 

Yee, who graduated from ASU with a master's in public administration, started the meeting reflecting on her accomplishments in state government. In her capacity as treasurer, she worked with legislators to pass a bill requiring students to have financial literacy education before graduating high school. Her achievements throughout her political career present her as the obvious candidate for the GOP camp, she said Monday. 

Yee said she was the first Asian American woman elected to the Arizona Legislature and the first Republican Chinese American woman to assume a major statewide office in U.S. history. 

The presentation of an established Republican candidate is far from the norm in 2021. In Arizona, Yee and Matt Salmon are the only two of five GOP candidates to have held a democratically elected political position. More off-the-wall candidates presenting themselves as "outsiders" to the established political order have become increasingly popular since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. 

Despite differences in attitude and behavior, Yee's talking points and the frustrations students voiced remain relatively similar to past Republican candidates who have visited the club.

Yee spoke broadly about the impacts of what she described as "woke" corporations. She directly tied the actions of Ben & Jerry's, the ice cream company that announced in July it would no longer sell its products in "occupied Palestine territory." Yee described its actions toward Israel as "discriminatory and wrong."

"These woke corporations across the country are not for American values, they're against American values," Yee said. "They want to boycott Israel so they don't have viability in their economy."

In addition to corporate overreach, Yee also spoke about her worry with the Biden administration's Build Back Better agenda as well as using California-like politics across the rest of the country.

Yee also tied government to universities and education. She said conservatives need to keep the governorship in mind in 2021 to slow the ideology of critical race theory, despite it rarely being taught by K-12 educators. 

READ MORE: ASU academics work to dispel critical race theory myths

Conservatives have become increasingly wary of the legal theory that looks to examine the intersection between race and law in past years, with the ideology becoming a prominent talking point for Republican candidates. Yee said voters need to remember that members of the Arizona Board of Regents are chosen by the governor. 

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