Full interview with gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs

ABC15’s Jordan Bontke sits down with Secretary of State Katie Hobbs to talk about the issues most pressing to Arizona. Hobbs is running for governor against Kari Lake.

Hobbs thank you again for joining us i really appreciate this um the first question that we have are some voter vignettes these are from regular everyday people that we were able to talk to for a quick on cam and the first one that we’ll talk about uh is relevant given the ruling that happened uh on friday but can you outline on abortion the the law that you think

Should be on the books regarding abortion in arizona well in during my time in the legislature against restrictions that were passed during my time there um the the bottom line is that today there is no safe and legal abortion access in the state of arizona and i have said on day one i would call a special session to repeal that law and and then uh but and it is

It is out of touch with everyday arizonans most arizonans support some access to safe and legal abortion you’re prepared to call a special session day one regarding abortion yep absolutely on inflation some of the voters that we spoke with said inflation of course is out of control you’ve seen it at the gas pump you’ve seen it at the grocery store what can you

Do as governor to address inflation well my campaign put out a comprehensive affordable arizona plan that talks about these issues because we know that families are struggling my husband and i have raised two kids through financial ups and downs and so we know what that feels like when you’re struggling to put food on the table our plan addresses pocketbook issues

Things that folks buy every day uh uh calling for some tax cuts on school supplies over-the-counter medication things like that and then we also have a plan to put people back to work in higher paying jobs by addressing access to child care assistance and refundable tax credit for pursuing career and technical education a lot of other states do that other states do

That and and is there do you think there’s a reason why arizona has yet to do a tax-free weekend or tax-free school supplies or even for feminine products like you mentioned yourself um yeah i you know i don’t i don’t know the answer to that we’re one of very few states that don’t and that’s why we called for that in our plan tied to inflation affordable housing i

Just moved here not too long ago in the november time frame and it was uh i was told by the realtor association if you want a house in arizona to put your battle gear on you know you have to go and you and that has changed as interest rates have kind of started to rise but voters that we spoke with said the population boom in arizona is leading to less affordable

Housing and they’re concerned about having an affordable place to live do you have plans on trying to tackle affordable housing in arizona yeah that’s one of the biggest issues that i talk to voters about and it’s one of the biggest things that’s driving inflation here in the state so the fact is that we don’t have a supply that’s meeting demand and even though

We’re continuing to see a housing go up everywhere it’s still out of reach for many arizonans and so as a governor i would plan to work with local jurisdictions to remove statutory barriers that keep them from developing more affordable housing and just sure that that we’re that we’re working as a partner to help communities meet the housing needs of their of

Their citizens it’s a tough policy to promise right because building takes time supply chain issues play a big role here but the key focus to helping curb and make housing more affordable in arizona would be to rip down some of these limitations these uh exceptions whatever they may be these building codes that prevent affordable housing and then once you’re able

To remove those then you can build that affordable housing right well i think there’s certainly i don’t want to blanket and say all the restrictions but there’s certainly some statutory barriers that we can look at that would help communities do more to develop affordable housing to advocate for community housing okay so on education you better get water voters

Tell us that they they want to know what you’ll do as governor concerning water in arizona especially given the drought and the lowering water levels of lake mead powell and the colorado river yeah this is a huge issue and i’m hearing from every everywhere i go in the state folks are concerned about water it’s about time because we’ve been at a point where we’re

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We’re getting to this crisis point for a long time and i think leadership has really kicked the candidate down the road so we have a comprehensive plan resilient arizona that talks about not only water but how that’s impacted by the climate crisis and how we can do some things there to impact that which is obviously exacerbating drought and water shortages we need

To put all the ideas on the table for augmentation conservation and yeah those are we we have to put everything on the table yeah you know some of the ideas that have been brought up by engineers in our building include trying to grab from other bodies of water that could be like hundreds maybe in a thousands miles away we’re talking like the mississippi is that

Something that you’d be open into to trying to look into that type of major infrastructure deal to take for from a body of water like the mississippi over here to arizona well let me say this my opponent has suggested that as a solution and it and a lot of experts have weighed in that it is just not a realistic solution and um you know the the the the fact is

That you have thousands of miles that you’d have to build a pipeline over a mountain range uh and then the electricity to pump the water up those mountains to get here so if all of that were feasible if there if there was a way that we could pay for that which would be probably more than billions of dollars probably um and then the time factor it’s 30 years

Away before that’s ever something that’s realistic so we have more immediate options to look out at here and that’s what we should be doing yeah even even more so than the affordable housing promise trying to get these up is trying to get an infrastructure across you know the continental us yeah to education arizona says we spoke to are concerned about the state

Of public education in our state whether it be funding teacher pay or the new voucher system so what can you do as governor to address public schools in arizona i mean public schools is the focus of my education plan it’s the way that we make sure that every single student no matter where they live has access and the same opportunities we can talk about putting

Resources in to the vouchers which go to private schools for the most part or or building more charter schools but the fact is if we are not investing in traditional public school we are we are cheating a lot of our kids and that’s where the focus needs to be so in my education plan you’ll see a call for more accountability for charter schools getting rid of the

Vouchers which right now those signatures are at my office being being verified and investing in in k-12 not not just k-12 but even universal access to early childhood education which gets our kids off to the right start and we need to get we need to incentivize keeping more quality teachers in our classrooms because we’re we’re losing them there’s not a teacher

Shortage there’s a shortage of people who want to teach because of the conditions they’re in right now and that includes pay i have two sisters that are teachers and so i’m hearing firsthand from them every day um equity in education is obviously a key part of your education platform when i’ve covered you in the past i just try to describe it public schools over

Private schools i wanted to ask you how can you also include charter schools and private schools into your plan or is that part of your plan as well look i have nothing against public school or i’m sorry i have nothing against private schools um but but but our taxpayer dollars should not be subsidizing wealthy parents to send their kids to private schools and

That’s what the voucher system we have in the state the esa’s do as far as charter schools again they’re they’re part of the overall education landscape we have in the state i’m not suggesting we go back we need to have more accountability in place and i think folks in the charter school board are open to that two more on the voter vignette stuff we spoke with

Those who were divided on how they feel about the border some say that we should devote more resources to allow more migrants into the country others told us that they don’t believe in an open border how do you as a candidate for for governor planned to tackle immigration especially at the arizona border i think also in your policy you had mentioned trying to have

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Some of these people who may not be legal u.s citizens help with the labor shortage yeah so let me start this answer by saying that my opponent is offering no solutions on the border she’s only offering empty rhetoric she’s called to dismantle the nation’s top law enforcement agency which would do nothing but put arizona and safety and security at risk and she’s

Not offering any real solutions border security is important nobody’s going to argue with that and we need the federal government to do more but i have two sheriffs two border sheriffs who have endorsed my border plan because they know that it is what we need i’m going to focus on making sure that that arizona resources are going to help those border communities

And provide meaningful relief to arizonans who have borne the brunt of decades of inaction from washington on this issue and we need washington to act as governor i will work with our congressional delegation to help get comprehensive reform over the finish line uh you’ve also mentioned adding resources for law enforcement i think you just said is there anything

Specific that you think you know for those who say what’s what’s your plan you you mentioned carrie like you know what’s your plan what are some of those things that you think could be both short and long term when it comes to the border yeah so i too communities and talking with local law enforcement leaders they need more intelligence and cooperation from dps

Uh they and they need um more just direct support for vehicle technology personnel whatever that is is there an uh a false understanding of how the border operates among our voters in our state that a lot that’s done at the border is federal and that your hands are tied when it comes to the state operation are you familiar with that at all yeah no absolutely i

Think that what we see is a lot of political stunts i i don’t think we should be using taxpayer resources to to do political stunts we should use taxpayer resources to provide meaningful support and relief for arizonans and so that’s where i would focus on on that issue and like some of the things that we’ve seen at the border it further divides the the political

Nature that we’ve lived in so voters that we spoke to feel like the politicians aren’t working together and they feel more divided to due to the current political atmosphere how do you and this perhaps is the hardest question reach across the aisle and work with with republicans as a democratic governor yeah i mean that’s that’s um the reality that we’re in is that

Things have i’ve never seen them as divided as they are and i was elected to the legislature in 2010 the republicans had a super majority and we could still work together and it’s gotten worse and worse and you know in my current position a lot of the legislators who will be serving are legislators who have attacked me who have ginned up rhetoric that has in you

Know um incited harassment and threats um and yet we have these pressing issues that we have to deal with and we have to work together to do that so i’m not going to stop trying it’s all about just persistence okay i’m gonna switch gears some of these questions are going to overlap so um switching back to affordability um looking at your policies this morning and

And you know as i’ve been covering your campaign i’m sorry i couldn’t have made it out to more of the campaign stops to see how you interact with voters but i think that in my mind when i read some of these policies one thing that’s that would be something that you would want to tell which is something that perhaps your your opponent doesn’t is you want to create

A tax-free weekend and exempt tax for school supplies feminine hygiene products throughout the year how do you do that as governor is that just something you say i declare tax free and you know i you know how do you explain that to people that what’s what you want to do you could say you want to do it but how do you do it yeah i mean it’ll require cooperation from

The legislature to do that okay and so and and once if you get that that’s that is a goal of yours to try and curb the affordability in arizona yeah absolutely okay so the implant the here’s the other you know perhaps uncomfortable question but unemployment in arizona today is at 3.5 some people would look and say the leadership that is in power today has put us

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At a very low uh unemployment rate at 3.5 on economy how do you top this is what some would say how do you top what some of the arizona leaders have already done when it comes to the economy well i certainly think that arizona has experienced tremendous economic growth we’re seeing that in revenue collection where we have record revenue collection that’s allowed

The legislature to uh invest in history make historic investments over the past legislative session a billion new dollars for water infrastructure a billion dollars in uh k-12 so so we need to keep doing those things um the problem is that that um that economic growth has not uh gone down to all arizonans and so we need to make sure that we’re ensuring that every

Arizona can thrive that they have the resources and tools to get into high paying jobs because you know at the same time that we’re experiencing this a tremendous economic growth people are still struggling even those employed people who can’t afford housing who are being pinched every time they go to the grocery store i just want to get your reaction the civil

War era abortion ban that that penalizes providers with jail time what can you do to fight back against what was already ruled if you you mentioned it already yeah it is utterly devastating i want to mention that my opponent has supported this law and would uphold it and on day one i’m going to call a special session to repeal this law uh special session that’s

Right thank you and then okay this is the only two more uh you tweeted about the petition that blocked the expansion to the school voucher program on friday today the goldwater institute said that the review of the signatures has the teacher union just falling short of the signature needed i’m not asking you to comment on that i am asking you as secretary of state

If you can comment on how the petition signatures are processed uh we’re in process right now and so i can’t really say more than that okay um uh just in the process itself do you is there a time frame that you would be able to share on how long you think that would take um i think i think we’re looking at a couple weeks before we have a final number of what um

What’s been officially turned in it’s my last question i understand this is an uncomfortable topic but some felt that the gop primary debate was just disjointed and light on policy but it happened to be a procedural part of that election you didn’t debate then against marco lopez the former mayor of nogales and you may not have needed to katie because you ended up

Winning what was it 70 percent of the democratic votes yeah i won by 50 points all right by half okay now at every turn carry lake has brought up your decision not to debate her against ted uh arizona pbs arizona horizon we talk a lot katie about fighting for arizonans why not show that fight and debate carrie lake look i i see interviews like this as a discussion

Where we can talk about the the things i bring to the table how well govern the ideas that we have for solutions for the issues that arizonans are struggling with right now um there is i i’m not going to give a platform for someone to just conspu spew conspiracy theories and if you watch the the secretary of state debate it gave you a sample of what we’d see um

There is there’s i don’t want to give a platform to that and i would much rather give arizonans an opportunity here directly from me interviews like this other forums that will be broadcast where that we’ve committed to participating in it could be uncomfortable the that moment itself you still wouldn’t want to go and dive into that because you’re afraid of the

Idea that uh it wouldn’t be beneficial to the vote it is it the the voters got nothing from that gop primary debate except for an entertaining circus and um and it ended up as an embarrassment to arizona and i’m not going to be a part of that i’m supposed to ask you now was this one thing that you like about carrie lake katie hobbs

Transcribed from video
Full interview with gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs By ABC15 Arizona