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

Katie Hobbs, Arizona Senate minority leader, is the Democratic candidate for secretary of state. Her campaign is centered on the issue of election participation and security. (Photo courtesy of Katie Hobbs for Secretary of State)

Name: Katie Hobbs
Political party: Democrat
Position sought: Arizona Secretary of State
City of residence: Phoenix
Current office: Arizona Senate minority leader

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,” Hobbs said.

Although education funding isn’t directly related to the secretary of state’s office, Hobbs has supported increases while serving in the 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.”

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 where Arizona has room for improvement, she said.

“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 secretary of state.

Holding multiple positions in the Legislature makes her a better candidate for the office, she said. After a two-year term in the Arizona House, Hobbs was elected to the Arizona Senate in 2012. She has been Senate minority leader since 2015 and, as ranking member of the Senate Elections Committee, 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.”

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.

You can’t take things too personally. It’s advice Hobbs received early in her career.

“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,” she said. “If we all took that personally, none of us would show up.”

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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