Tanner Puckett

Friday, Oct. 26, 2018

Secretary of State race: Katie Hobbs looks to improve election security in Arizona

Name: Katie Hobbs
Political party: Democrat
Position sought: Arizona Secretary of State
City of residence: Phoenix
Current office: Minority Leader of the Arizona State Senate

What is the greatest issue Arizona residents face? If elected, how would you address this issue?

“The biggest issue is adequate funding for K-12 and university education,” said Hobbs, the Arizona State Senate minority leader.

Although education funding isn’t directly related to the office of the Secretary of State, Hobbs has spoken out for increased education funding in Arizona while serving in the Arizona State Legislature since 2011. “It’s something that isn’t going to go away,” she said.

What other issues are important to you and your campaign?

“We can improve voter registration efforts and opportunities,” Hobbs said. “We can expand voter education and outreach, and we can expand opportunities for early voting as well as make sure that Election Day voting goes smoothly and accommodates the people that show up.”

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Ensuring smooth operations on Election Day involves election security, she said.

“It’s protecting those systems like the voter registration database, the electronic pollbooks and any voting machines that are vulnerable to tampering,” she said. Hobbs also pointed to the importance of having a robust hand-count audit process as a necessity, an area that has room for improvement in Arizona.

“I’m running for Secretary of State because I want to be a champion for voters and make sure that every single eligible voter has the ability to participate in the process in a way that’s convenient and meaningful for them,” she said.

What in your past work, political or volunteer experience makes you a better candidate to hold this office?

Hobbs spent more than 10 years as a chief officer for the Sojourner Center, a domestic violence shelter, where she took part in strategic planning and budgeting.

“It was my job to make sure we were complying with the regulations and laws that came along with the funding that we got to operate our programs and the licenses we had to maintain to keep our doors open,” she said. Hobbs said that work in securing funding and ensuring compliance transfers well to the Secretary of State position.

Hobbs said multiple positions in the Arizona State Legislature make her a better candidate for this office. After a two-year term in the Arizona House of Representatives, voters elected Hobbs to the Arizona Senate in 2013. She has been minority leader of the State Senate since 2015.

She served as the ranking member of the Senate Elections Committee and has advocated for election reforms.

“I spent my whole career working to make government work better for the people of Arizona. That’s why I ran for office in the first place, and there’s clearly a need for that, specifically in the Secretary of State’s office,” Hobbs said.

What is a personal challenge you feel you need to overcome?

“It’s always hard to juggle having a job and a family,” said the mother of two. “Running for office, especially statewide, is another full-time job on top of that.”

Please share a quote or advice that guides you.

Hobbs shared a piece of advice she received early on in her career: You can’t take things too personally.

“When you put yourself out there publicly, people are going to feel like they have every right to attack you for your positions, for something you’re doing right or not doing right. If we all took that personally, none of us would show up,” she said. Hobbs said the most important thing is to stay true to your values, noting that others will always have their own opinions.

What app on your phone could you not live without?

Hobbs is an active user of the Starbucks app and has reached Gold status. “I probably rack up a free drink once a week,” she said.

Campaign website for Katie Hobbs.

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