The newly appointed chief of staff for Arizona Governor-Elect Katie Hobbs, Allie Bones, and Transition Co-Chairs Monica Villalobos and Mike Haener held a Pre-Thanksgiving Presser with journalists on November 23, 2022, to discuss a range of topics from the inauguration, the budget process, and the continuing election denialism of Trump Republicans.

The Governor-Elect had announced earlier in the week of Ms. Bones as Chief of Staff and her full transition team, beginning to work on organizing an administration that “will make Arizona the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

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Commenting on these appointments, Governor-Elect Hobbs said:

“Over the last twenty years, I’ve had the honor of working alongside Allie Bones on some of Arizona’s biggest challenges. From working to ensure secure elections to providing support for our local businesses, with Allie on my team, we’ve always gotten the job done. Her talent and extensive experience working across the aisle will be invaluable to my administration as we pursue ambitious plans that deliver real solutions for Arizonans. Allie is undoubtedly the best person for this job, and I am excited to continue working together.”

“As I’ve said throughout my campaign, the issues facing us today aren’t Democratic or Republican issues. They’re Arizona issues, and we need bold leaders from both sides of the aisle to come together and deliver results. I am proud to have a transition team that reflects that need, and I look forward to working with these outstanding local leaders on behalf of the people of Arizona.”

The new chief of staff, Allie Bones, currently the Arizona Assistant Secretary of State, said she was “very delighted” about the appointment and relayed that the team are “all just really excited” about getting to work for the people of Arizona.

On Monday, she stated in a press release:

“I am humbled by the opportunity to serve Governor-Elect Hobbs and our great state in this role. As Arizonans face historic crises in our economy, healthcare access, and education system, it’s more important than ever to come together and make our government work for everyone. I’m ready to join Governor-Elect Hobbs in reaching across the aisle as we get to work for the people of Arizona.”

During the morning presser, the trio took turns responding to questions from journalists.

On the Inauguration, they said that, because of the calendar, there would be a  private ceremony for statewide officeholders followed by a public ceremony later that week in January. Later they said there was coordination with law enforcement to ensure there would be no unforeseen events from Trump Republican election deniers at the inauguration or on them personally.

On many Trump Republicans saying the election, especially in Maricopa County, was not fair/legitimate, Bones said that the Hobbs team has had to “deal with misinformation that last two years” and reminded writers that the Governor-Elect would “be a Governor for all Arizonans.”

They also emphasized that “The transition team is reflective of Arizona. It has Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. We will work on the needs of all Arizonans. We hope others will begin to tone down the rhetoric. There is a path forward to healing all the divisions.”

Haener, a former Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Janet Napolitano, reminded attendees that she won by a smaller margin than Hobbs in 2022 and “no one questioned her” legitimacy.

On whether Governor-Elect Hobbs would call a special session to suspend or repeal the Aggregate Expenditure Limit (AEL) to help public schools, Mr. Hanier responded to my question by saying “no decisions have been made yet related to that.”

On working with Republicans, Bones said “we hope we can work in areas that we have common ground.” Haener added that the Governor-Elect has a history of working across the aisle on issues and is ready to do so again.

On creating a new team ready to govern, Villalobos said that the people coming into the Hobbs Administration will “look, feel, and sound a lot like Arizona lives.”

On the new budget for next year, Bones relayed that they have started to work on the budget process and regular meetings have even been scheduled. Haener, in response to another question on outreach to and from Republicans, said that the process will become clearer when appropriations chairs/members are chosen in the State House and Senate. Bones also said that the budget will reflect the priorities Governor-Elect Hobbs put forth in the campaign including “education, housing, and jobs.”

On whether Republicans have called to congratulate the Governor-Elect, none of the trio were able to offer specifics.

The moderator promised to have additional pressers throughout the transition period.

I want to wish all Blog of Arizona readers a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe holiday season. Take care.

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