Katie Hobbs did not mince words throughout her close to half-hour discussion with Arizona PBS Horizon’s Ted Simons. During the interview, the Arizona Secretary of State discussed:
- Her refusal to debate Kari Lake.
- Talonya Adams.
- Reducing Inflation.
- Reproductive Freedom.
- Lakes Election Denialism.
- The Water Crisis.
- Addressing future Pandemics.
On the refusal to debate Kari Lake.
Simons wasted no time, following in the footsteps of most television journalists over the last week asking Secretary Hobbs why she did not want to debate Republican Nominee Kari Lake.
The Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee responded that:
“From the beginning that I wanted to be able to have a substantive conversation about the issues Arizonans are facing that I’m talking to them about every day on the campaign trail. I think this is a great opportunity to do that and make my case directly to the voters…I think that my opponent’s activities over the last week, since this interview was announced, really underscore the case that she’s only interested in the spotlight. She threw a tantrum outside of this building about this very interview and that tantrum led to people in this building getting harassing and threatening phone calls and racist attacks. That kind of behavior is the behavior of a high school bully. It’s not the behavior of a leader. It is not the behavior of someone who deserves our vote for Governor and it shows she does not have the temperament to lead…”
When Simons followed up and said that Secretary Hobbs had not debated her primary opponent, she responded that “the voters overwhelmingly chose me in that race and that shows that the debate wasn’t an issue there…”
When Simons relayed that voters want to see more fight from Hobbs, she offered:
“I am fighting every day to win this election. To fight to protect our freedoms in Arizona. We have built a campaign to win. I’m fighting every single day and that’s what I’ll do as Governor.”
When asked at the end of the debate if she was afraid to be on the stage with Lake, the Secretary replied:
“I’m not afraid to face Kari Lake.” She then rubbed it in Simons a little bit by mentioning she wanted no part in an event that might be similar to the GOP Gubernatorial Primary Debate (for which Simons was one of the moderators,) saying “I am not going to be a part of her (Lake’s) spectacle because this right here is a much better opportunity for voters to hear straight from me where I stand on the issues.”
Simons then moved to the issue of Talonya Adams and how the Secretary herself said “she failed to meet the moment.”
Secretary Hobbs replied:
“Kari Lake’s attacks on this are baseless…I’m not going to respond to her personal attacks. I am truly sorry, as I have said many times for the real harm that I know Ms. Adams faced…I’ve taken accountability for my role in her termination. Looking forward, I’ve continued to meet with community leaders and focus not just on how we can build a campaign that’s inclusive but make sure that our government at every level of the administration reflects the diversity of Arizona and that we are making sure that it’s accountable and works for everyone…Arizonans deserve a leader who is willing to own up to their mistakes and move forward from that and I will continue to learn.”
Shifting to issues, Simons first brought up Phoenix being number one in inflation and asked Hobbs her views on why that is. She responded that it “is being driven largely by housing prices...We have a comprehensive plan to address affordability in Arizona. In terms of housing, we need to build more. We’re not meeting the demand…I raised my kids here in Phoenix with financial ups and downs. I know what it’s like to get a second job to put food on the table and pay your mortgage. My Affordable Arizona Plan addresses the struggles Arizonans are facing right now. We propose tax breaks on everyday items like over-the-counter medication and diapers. We put people back to work by expanding child care assistance and a refundable tax credit for pursuing career and technical education. I know what it’s like to struggle and I’m never going to forget that as Governor.”
When Simons brought up the idea of raising taxes, Hobbs rightly called the question, based on the fact that Republicans would still have major influence even if they lose control of one or both branches of the state legislature, “not feasible and not appropriate right now when we’re facing record levels of inflation that’s hurting everyday Arizonans.”
After Simons followed up on the Ducey and Lake actions and future ideas to reduce taxes, Hobbs said that “we should look at all the options” that would help the state move forward.
On fully funding areas to Pre Great Recession levels, the Secretary brought up education, saying:
“The problem we’re facing now is the legislature refuses to repeal the Aggregate Expenditure Limit. Schools right now are in limbo because they can’t budget this billion new dollars that was appropriated to them.”
On the teacher shortage and what she would do about it, the Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee said:
“We have a crisis in education in Arizona because our leaders have failed to invest in our children, and it’s hurting our children. It’s hurting our families. It is shortchanging the future of our state. We need to invest more dollars into the classrooms to keep teachers. My ‘Prepared Arizona’ plan proposes an average teacher increase to get to the national average, which is an average of $14,000 a teacher. That’s an important place to start.”
Secretary Hobbs also relayed that teachers are leaving the profession because of a combination of lack of pay coupled with little to no respect. She said, “we are seeing so much division right now in our political discourse and education right now is one of those places. Teachers have all of a sudden become vilified and we are talking about banning books instead of how we can support our teachers so they can do their jobs to educate our kids.”
Hobbs also again said she would not have signed the expansion of vouchers, saying “it doesn’t provide real choice and educational opportunity for most families. It diverts resources from our public schools and provides a subsidy for already wealthy children whose parents can already afford private education.” She later reminded viewers that there are no accountability mechanisms in place for the private schools receiving these public dollars.
When Simons said that Governor Ducey said children need to be freed from failing schools, the Secretary correctly said that these schools need financial investments to make sure every child gets a quality education no matter where they live.
Hobbs also said that fully investing in public schools was key to closing learning gaps and raising achievement levels.
Hobbs again strongly objected to the Lake idea of allowing cameras in the classroom, saying that could potentially create an opportunity for stalkers.
Simons started off this part of the interview by asking if the Secretary would support the 15-week abortion ban passed by the State Legislature in the last session. She said “No. I did not support that law when it was passed…It is an extreme ban and also includes no exceptions for rape and incest…This can potentially put women’s lives at risk. Arizona’s 1864 pre-statehood ban that is potentially going to be in effect [is a] Civil War-era ban that criminalizes all abortion. My opponent has said that it’s a ‘great’ law and she’s called women who seek abortion ‘executioners’ and ‘murderers.’ I have a twenty-year-old daughter and in 2022, she has less rights than I did fifty years ago.”
Hobbs then correctly pointed out that Lake reverted back to her embrace of an abortion ban after Simons (who honestly should have known about the double flip-flop) said that the Republican Nominee had appeared to soften her position.
When Simons asked if any limits on abortion should be enacted, the Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee said:
“Abortion is health care, and health care should be left to medical providers who have the expertise. And a decision to have an abortion should be between a woman and her doctor.”
After Simons pressed again, asking if that equated to no limits, Hobbs responded:
“There is no one size fits all limit that is really going to address really extreme circumstances and this idea that there’s rampant late-term abortion is just false. Late-term abortion is incredibly, incredibly, rare and when that happens, it is often devastating to a woman and her family. They have a nursery. They have a name picked out for the baby. They’re having this conversation because something has gone terribly wrong. Doctors need the ability to provide that their patients need in those very difficult and rare circumstances.”
Please click here to review Secretary Hobb’s plans for protecting reproductive freedom.
Responding to a question if Arizona is having a border crisis, Hobbs responded that the Grand Canyon State is “borne the brunt of decades of inaction from our leaders in Washington on immigration…We need the Biden Administration to do more about border security and we need comprehensive immigration reform that will address some of the crisis that we’re seeing.”
On Lake’s assertion that the country is being invaded and it is necessary to enter a “compact” with other states to defend themselves, the Secretary first replied that her “own plan for border security has been endorsed by two border sheriffs.”
She then called Lake’s “plan” “constitutionally dubious and would do nothing to secure the border. She has said that on day one of her administration, she would declare an invasion…It does nothing to secure the border and would bring untold levels of chaos into our state.”
In order to secure the border, the Democratic Gubernatorial candidate called for increased federal involvement in constructing physical barriers (a wall) where feasible as well as providing additional personnel and state-of-the-art technology in the areas.
On Lake’s Election Denalism about the 2020 Presidential Election.
This is where the Secretary giggled at Lake’s assertion that any Gubernatorial nominee should be disqualified if they feel that the 2020 Presidential Election was not stolen from Donald Trump.
In response, Hobbs said it was “disqualifying for her to say that it was and to be running on that as her entire platform. She has made it her platform to dismantle our entire Democracy and overturn the will of the voters for the former President who she is more beholden to than the people of Arizona.”
She also blames the reason for so many people thinking the election was stolen on people like Lake, saying:
“She (Lake) is not running for the people of Arizona. She’s running for herself and for the former president. And when people like her questioned the results of the 2020 election and tried to overturn them, we stood firm because there is no evidence of anything she or anyone else says about the 2020 election being stolen…They (some of the voters) think there is a problem because people like Kari Lake keep lying about it…”
The Water Crisis
On whether there is enough water to meet the pace of growth, the Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee said:
“We need to take drastic action to address that. That means making sure that when we are planning for future growth, we are actually planning. That it is strategic and that we have the resources to meet the demand.”
Hobbs called the recently bipartisan passed Water legislation in the last session an “important first step” but warned that Governor Ducey’s desalination plan, while vital, is at least a decade away from achievement and that immediate steps like improving technology to recycle water and conservation projects.
She also said that greater cooperation was needed to ensure Arizona gets its fair share of Colorado River water, saying “we need a leader who is willing to go to the table and fight for Arizona’s interests.”
On Addressing Future Pandemics.
When asked if Governor Ducey handled the Coronavirus Pandemic well, Secretary Hobbs responded that it was necessary to do a post-analysis to see what was done correctly and what needs to be improved and prepared for should a future pandemic occur.
“As a leader, you don’t get to choose what crisis you’re in and you have to take decisive action…We have to work together in the best interests of the state and that’s what I’ll do as Governor.”
On the use of executive powers, the Secretary said she would not comment on a “hypothetical” but maintained she would use that power “judiciously” in “keeping Arizonans safe and allowing the economy to continue.”
After the interview, the Secretary’s campaign issued a statement where Ms. Hobbs wrote:
“I’m grateful to Arizona PBS for the opportunity to sit down for an in-depth conversation about what’s at stake this upcoming election. I’m running for governor to continue doing what has been my life’s work: deliver accountability, transparency, and results for the people of Arizona. I’m not here for the spotlight – I’m here to put Arizonans first, politics and ego last, and work across the aisle to secure Arizona’s future.”