Arizona State Sen. Katie Hobbs [D-District 24] came up to the red rocks to speak about her run for Secretary of State. Hobbs was the featured speaker at the Democrats of the Red Rocks breakfast meeting Thursday, Aug. 17, at Olde Sedona.
Hobbs said that it had been frustrating to be in the minority as a legislator, and her pursuit of the higher office falls in line with her main concern as Senate minority leader, that being voter protection. She recounted the most recent legislative session and lamented that it was too similar to other years with failed Democratic policy.
One thing she strongly opposed was school choice, which was strengthened by SB 1431, which expanded a voucher program for parents of students who do not attend state-run public school. She said it was not the job of the state to provide greater opportunity for children by enhancing other forms of education systems. Rather, it is the state’s job to improve on the public option.
Improving on public education, though, was something Hobbs said the state has failed to do consistently. She decried a reward-based system for top and improving schools, and wanted an equal boost for all schools or an incentive to fund low-performing schools in order to “level the playing field.” She also said that funding for public schools had been gutted, and that legislators did not show the same level of interest in regard to education that communities in the state do.
Proponents of school choice claim that alternative options provide a way out of public schools that are failing. They also note that the schools are good ways for minorities, who are disproportionately affected by under-performing public schools, to seek better education. They further claim that the school choice system lines up better with the capitalist system of the private sector.
Those against school choice say that taking kids out of failing schools for other options hurts children who remain.
Beyond education, she said she continued to the path of Secretary of State because she wanted to run smoother, more open elections. She cited long lines and ballot issues as failures of the current administration. She said she hopes to fix these issues as well as ensure that voting remains open to all entitled to it and to expand on access to candidate information. She also wanted to lower standards for initiatives and referendums, particularly in the strictness of signature gathering.
The crowd had several questions for examples of the things Hobbs is against, but one main point stuck out, that a politician can’t win without saying what she is for. Hobbs agreed, noting failures of previous campaigns for that exact reason, and said to look ahead to her campaign for a more positive outlook.
Hobbs will be running against Republican incumbent Secretary of State Michele Reagan in the 2018 general election.