Get to know: Secretary of State-elect Katie Hobbs

Last month, Katie Hobbs (D-AZ) was elected as Arizona Secretary of State office after a too close to call race that was not decided until two weeks after election day.

Defeating Steve Gaynor (R-AZ) by more than 20,000 votes, Hobbs is one of three Democrats who were elected to a statewide seat in the midterm.

With Secretary of State incumbent, Michele Reagan (R-AZ), losing in the primary, it was clear there would be a change – but what are Hobbs plans for the office?

“We need someone in the office who is a leader and is going to work collaboratively with the county recorders and election officials on the ground,” said Hobbs, Arizona’s current Senate Minority Leader. “I think that’s something that’s been missing for a while. I’m ready to do that.”

According to Hobbs, she plans on building a relationship with county recorders and election officials by working with them to get the election manual up to date.

“That’s a critical piece right there, and a great way we can start off working in really a collaborative manner,” she said.

In October, Hobbs said she planned on putting together an election security task force to ensure the election process was secure.

“We’re going to start with the assessment that’s been done and kind of see where that is and also where the governor’s cybersecurity task force is, in terms of elections,” she said. “We want to make sure we’re addressing all the vulnerabilities that exist in all the systems, we have to make sure that our elections our secure.”

However, Hobbs also believes that this is an issue everyone – Republican and Democrat – needs to be involved in solving.

“It is really a job that should be nonpartisan and [it] needs to be focused on making sure that every single eligible voter can vote. Make sure that that’s done in a secure manner, people’s data’s protected, we’re keeping out any fraudulent actors, and that’s not a partisan thing,” she said.

Two parts of the office that are often overlooked are its role in the business community and caretaking of the Arizona State Archives.

I want to make sure that we’re providing the services that need to be provided and that people can come in [and] get their business done in an efficient manner. I’m not sure that’s happening right now. I’ve heard there’s a lot of website issues across the board in the Secretary of State’s office. Folks who file to renew their trademarks, that system is gummed up and not working too well, so, want to make sure we’re fixing all those things,” she said about helping businesses.

According to Hobbs the state archives are an important, but often forgotten, part of the job.

“Arizona’s library used to be a model. It’s not anymore and I want to work to bring it back to that place. Under Secretary Reagan, there’s been entire collections that have been discarded and that’s really a tragedy for the history of our state,” said Hobbs in October.

Prior to her time as an elected official, Hobbs worked as a social worker for more than 25 years. She was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2010 and moved to the state Senate in 2012.

In her time as a social worker, Hobbs was the chief compliance officer of one of the largest domestic abuse shelters in the country, where she made sure the shelter complied with the laws and regulations that came with the money it received. She thinks her experience in that field combined with her leadership in the state Senate prepares her well to be Secretary of State.

Hobbs will be sworn in to the office on Jan. 7, 2019.

Emily Richardson

Graham Bosch

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