When Katie Hobbs becomes Arizona’s next governor, she plans to utilize the support of teachers’ union lobbyists to undo the nation’s most expansive school choice program.
Hobbs promised on her campaign website she would be “addressing unaccountable expansion of school vouchers”:
Too often, Republicans have completely disregarded public opinion in an effort to defund our public schools. At every turn, they have moved to expand school vouchers without common-sense measures of accountability, with the clear intent to eventually do away with our local public schools. Arizona Republicans pressed forward with their latest attack on our schools by passing a law to expand school vouchers universally, a decision that 65 percent of Arizona’s voters readily rejected in 2018.
“Katie continues to oppose the universal expansion of school vouchers,” her campaign website stated. “As governor, she will work to roll back universal vouchers, which the legislature enacted against the will of voters this year. Vouchers should not have been expanded to provide an unaccountable means of enriching private schools and defunding our local public schools.”
Hobbs’ campaign promise is aligned entirely with the position of national teachers’ unions, which holds that allowing taxpayer funds to follow the child, and not the government school system, is a move to “dismantle public education,” as her website stated.
As AZ Free News reported Friday, Hobbs reaffirmed in a recent interview with Arizona PBS she will end the state’s universal school choice program.
Prior to that interview, Hobbs had appointed Marisol Garcia, veteran teachers’ union lobbyist and current president of the Arizona Education Association (AEA); and Stephanie Parra, former AEA lobbyist, current lobbyist for All in Education, and Phoenix Union High School District board member.
I’m pleased to announce my full administration transition team made up of public service, business, labor, & advocacy leaders from both sides of the aisle.
I look forward to working with these outstanding local leaders as we build an administration that works for all Arizonans. pic.twitter.com/mfejYSvYpX
— Gov-Elect Katie Hobbs (@katiehobbs) November 22, 2022
The AZ Free News report noted that a video apparently obtained from within an AEA meeting revealed a review of the upcoming legislative session with Hobbs vowing “to be the biggest ally of public schools in the state’s history.”
“I’m ready to get to work as the most pro-public education governor in Arizona,” Hobbs reportedly said.
The report continued that “Garcia expressed confidence that Hobbs would be an ally to their teachers’ union.”
“She also said that she and the AEA were completely against the state’s school choice program, the Empowerment Savings Account (ESA) Program,” AZ Free News reported, adding:
“We have always been against any sort of vouchers, not just expansion but vouchers in essence,” said Garcia.
In September, Garcia stated that it wasn’t possible to support both public schools and private schools when it comes to funding.
“Funding AZ public schools & then being pro private schools vouchers is hypocritical,” wrote Garcia. “Union members have ALWAYS been against vouchers. They hurt our communities & funnel tax payer $ to private companies.”
Such a BAD take Paul. Funding AZ public schools & then being pro private schools vouchers is hypocritical. Public schools take every single student, ALL of them. Union members have ALWAYS been against vouchers. They hurt our communities & funnel tax payer $ to private companies. pic.twitter.com/ALLPI5Rj3Z
— Marisol Garcia (@MarisolGarciaAZ) September 5, 2022
In July, Governor Doug Ducey signed the most expansive school choice legislation in the country, one that allows all families to choose the best education setting to meet the needs of children by making scholarship funds available to them.
📚SIGNED: THE MOST EXPANSIVE SCHOOL CHOICE LEGISLATION IN THE NATION📚
This is a monumental moment for all of Arizona’s students. Our kids will no longer be locked in under-performing schools. 1/ https://t.co/CEz1Vk43E0
— Doug Ducey (@DougDucey) July 7, 2022
“This is a monumental moment for all of Arizona’s students,” the governor stated upon signing the legislation:
Our kids will no longer be locked in under-performing schools. Today, we’re unlocking a whole new world of opportunity for them and their parents. With this legislation, Arizona cements itself as the top state for school choice and as the first state in the nation to offer all families the option to choose the school setting that works best for them. Every family in Arizona should have access to a high-quality education with dedicated teachers. This is truly a win for all K-12 students.
BREAKING: Arizona Governor Doug Ducey just signed a bill to fund students instead of systems.
This win is the biggest school choice victory in U.S. history.
All families will be able to take their children's education dollars to the education providers of their choosing.
— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) July 7, 2022
Though Ducey noted the universal school choice bill puts families in the driver’s seat for their children’s education, Hobbs said Sunday, “No one should be left out of opportunity. As governor, I’m going to spend the next four years making Arizona work for everyone and ensuring our state’s great economic success reaches every Arizonan – no matter where they live.”
No one should be left out of opportunity. As governor, I’m going to spend the next four years making Arizona work for everyone and ensuring our state’s great economic success reaches every Arizonan – no matter where they live. pic.twitter.com/43aDrareSH
— Gov-Elect Katie Hobbs (@katiehobbs) December 18, 2022
Hobbs, as secretary of state, certified her own still controversial election as governor on December 5.
On December 18, Hobbs celebrated “National Twin Day” by posting a photo of herself and her twin sister Becky to her “Gov-Elect Katie Hobbs” Twitter account.
“Winning in 2022, twinning since 1969,” Hobbs said.
Winning in 2022, twinning since 1969. #NationalTwinDay pic.twitter.com/ir2rTMVYlj
— Gov-Elect Katie Hobbs (@katiehobbs) December 18, 2022
In late October, however, an undercover exposé by Project Veritas Action (PV) revealed Hobbs’ twin sister boasting of a Democrat Party plan to fund the primaries of “extreme Trump-endorsed candidates” to secure their nominations, with the apparent presumption they would then lose against the Democrat candidates.
Becky Hobbs is heard saying in the video the Democrat Party “was putting money in primaries” to boost “extreme Trump-endorsed candidates,” to ensure their nominations in the Republican Party.
“So, all across the country, Democrat candidates – not candidates themselves – but the [Democrat] Party – was putting money in [Republican] primaries – into the races of the extreme Trump-endorsed candidates, as opposed to the moderate Republicans that were running,” Becky Hobbs is heard explaining to the PVA undercover journalist.
“They [Democrat Party] wanted those [Trump-endorsed Republican] extremists to win because they knew that the Dems had a better chance of winning their races against the extremist candidates than they did against the moderate Republicans,” she continued.
PV Founder James O’Keefe reported in the video from Maricopa County, Arizona, noting what Becky Hobbs revealed is “a surprising, if not shocking, national Democrat strategy to help [GOP candidate for governor] Kari Lake win her primary.”
Becky Hobbs is then heard describing to the PVA undercover journalist the “relief” of Democrats the night of the Arizona primary when Trump-endorsed Kari Lake defeated Mike Pence-backed Karrin Taylor Robson:
When we were at Katie’s primary night, and she didn’t know the night of the election who her opponent was going to be, but [Republican] Karrin Taylor Robson was up by 10 points and it was kind of like – it took the air out of the room – because everyone knew that Katie was polling better against Kari Lake, and everyone knew that Katie had a better chance to win against Kari Lake. So, everyone wanted Kari Lake to be the nominee.
“So, it was kind of like, this sigh of relief when Kari Lake actually ended up winning,” Becky Hobbs said, revealing to PVA that she and her husband even registered as Republicans to be able to vote in the Republican primary.
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Susan Berry, PhD is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Katie Hobbs” by Katie Hobbs and “Transition Staff” by Katie Hobbs.