Below are some of the many positive reactions to Governor Katie Hobb’s State of the State Address.

Arizona House Democratic Leader Andres Cano.

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“Governor Hobbs’ State of the State speech hit on themes that resonate with the vast majority of Arizonans, as well as our Democratic caucuses — Investing in public education, securing our water future, addressing our affordable housing crisis, and standing up for reproductive freedom. Arizona chose Governor Hobbs over extremism, and our constituents want us to get to work on these issues. That is what we are ready to do.”

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero

Many leading Pro Public Education organizations applauded the Governor’s address.

The Arizona Education Association released a statement, declaring:

“Having a governor who makes public education a priority is a game changer for Arizona, a fact made clear in Governor Katie Hobbs’ State of the State Address today.

“To the teachers and education support professionals of this state,” said Governor Hobbs. “I see you, I respect you, and I will always stand with you.”

Governor Hobbs has always been a champion of public school educators and students, which is why AEA union educators knocked on voters’ doors to get her elected this past November.

“For the first time in decades, educators know their voices are heard and have a seat at the table,” said AEA President Marisol Garcia. “Our educators and students need someone like Governor Hobbs who supports union values and will fight for our working families.”

Governor Hobbs introduced plans to create an Educator Retention Task Force to address the statewide educator retention crisis our state has faced for years.

“Governor Hobbs understands that given the historic cuts to public education over the past decade, keeping great educators in our state has been a long and difficult struggle,” said AEA President Garcia. “We need a holistic approach that values educators and seeks to get to the root of what is causing some of our best educators to leave the profession. The creation of the Educator Retention Task Force means this Governor understands that government can, should, and must do more to demonstrate their support and appreciation for all that our educators do every day in communities all across Arizona.”

Governor Hobbs’ speech touched on many of the priorities in AEA’s Legislative and Policy Agenda, including equitable school funding, adequate funding for school counselors and social workers, and respect for educators as professionals. We will learn more details about Governor Hobbs’ plans when she releases her budget on Friday, January 13, 2023, where the governor said we can expect a historic investment in public school capital funding.”

 

Stand for Children Arizona also issued a statement that read:

“Stand for Children Arizona applauds Governor Hobbs for her strong display of leadership in her first State of the State address. Her call for bipartisanship to tackle key issues signals a unique landscape for our students and schools. It is evident, more than ever, that Arizonans need their leaders to act, and Governor Hobbs has made her message clear: if we are to make progress, we need to work together.

Heading into this legislative session, schools are struggling with burdensome policies such as the Aggregate Expenditure Limit (AEL) blocking schools from critical funding that was allocated in last year’s state budget, and the extreme budgetary consequences from the unaccountable ESA voucher program from the previous Governor Doug Ducey’s administration. The current cost is well over $300 million – much higher than advertised during the budget process last year.

In her speech, Governor Hobbs appropriately called on the legislature to act quickly to address the AEL. As one of the organizations that led the charge to increase school funding last session, Stand for Children Arizona couldn’t agree more that legislators have an obligation to honor the promise made to fix the AEL as soon as possible – both for this year, and in the long term.

It is estimated that if the AEL is not waived this year, districts will be forced to cut 17% of their budget, a total of $1.3 billion taken from our local schools. This could result in shortened school years, a deeper teacher shortage, and decaying buildings and infrastructure.”

Beth Lewis, the Executive Director for Save Our Schools Arizona also released a statement that relayed:

“Today, Governor Hobbs delivered her first State of the State speech, marking the beginning of the 2023 legislative session and ushering in a new era for Arizona’s students, educators, and public schools. Hobbs‘ stated education priorities include investing in K-12 public schools, stopping universal ESA vouchers from bankrupting our state, raising educator pay, improving educator retention, ensuring equitable funding, and prioritizing school counselors and social workers.

This new era begins with Hobbs’ public declaration that Republicans’ irresponsible expansion of ESA vouchers threatens to bankrupt our state, paired with a promise to ensure all taxpayer dollars—including the $450 million being spent on ESA vouchers—will be subject to accountability and transparency.

Today, we saw what we know so deeply: elections matter. Governor Hobbs called upon the legislature to respect and invest in Arizona educators, in contrast with her predecessor, who frequently used the SOTS speech to malign public schools. Hobbs offered a new focus on equitably funding education in Arizona, reversing course on backward Ducey policies like results-based funding, which has deprived low-income students of critically needed resources by wrongly basing funding on standardized test scores rather than demonstrated need.

“We are grateful to every volunteer who knocked on doors and reached out to voters, and to every public education supporter who advocated tirelessly for years to help create this moment,” said Statewide Outreach Director Nicky Indicavitch.

“We are proud to celebrate a new era of pro-public education leadership, and call upon the state legislature to act in a bipartisan manner to give Arizona’s 1.1 million school children the most important opportunity: strong, fully funded community public schools.”

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