Who is Katie Hobbs? Advocate turned politician is Arizona's next governor and 5th female leader

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Arizona voters handed Democrat Katie Hobbs a razor-thin victory on Monday, electing her to be the state’s next governor.

Hobbs win flips control of the state from Republican to Democrat for the first time in more than a dozen years. She is Arizona's fifth female governor, a record for the nation.

Here’s what to know about Arizona’s next governor.

Who is Katie Hobbs?

Hobbs, 52, is Arizona's secretary of state. Her job duties include overseeing elections and business registrations, as well as running the state library, which catalogues the official history of the Grand Canyon State.

Hobbs is a first-generation Arizonan who grew up in a working-class family in Tempe. Her husband is a child therapist and they have two adult children.

She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in social work from Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University, respectively, and began her career in behavioral health and then handling contracts and lobbying work for the Sojourner Center, one of the nation's largest domestic violence shelters.

Fun facts: Hobbs is an identical twin, and her twin sister is a school teacher. She's also a triathlete.

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How did Katie Hobbs get into politics?

While working in social services, Hobbs felt leaders at the time weren't tackling the government systems that left some people behind. In 2004, she attended Emerge, a political boot camp for Democratic candidates that she later helped lead, and that ended her skepticism and convinced her to seek office.

Race called: Katie Hobbs elected Arizona’s 5th female governor, defeating election denier Kari Lake

In 2008, she served as a delegate for Hillary Clinton when Clinton sought the Democratic nomination for president. Two years later, she won a seat in the state House of Representatives.

How did Katie Hobbs spend her political career?

Prior to election as secretary of state in 2018, Hobbs served for eight years in the state Legislature. She was elected to represent Phoenix in the state House of Representatives in 2010, and ran for and won a Senate seat two years later.

Hobbs was chosen by her peers to lead the Democratic Senate caucus two years later, a powerful position that was tempered by the fact that Republicans maintained control of the chamber.

But as a leader in the chamber, Hobbs helped negotiate to advance Democratic goals by working across the aisle, including on legislation to ease the backlog of untested rape kits and securing funding to preserve a health care programs.

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Just two bills she sponsored became law, according to legislative records. While the Democratic minority leader, Hobbs also signed off on a staffer's firing after the aide complained of race and gender discrimination, leading to a lawsuit and controversy that has lingered in the spotlight for years.

What will Katie Hobbs do on Day One?

Hobbs is an abortion rights advocate who has pledged to use the governor's veto power on any pieces of legislation that place restrictions on abortion access.

She has said she will call lawmakers into a special session on her first day in office to overturn a more than century-old law that mandates two to five years in prison for abortion providers, with an exception to save the life of the mother.

Arizona has a conflicting law on the books, banning abortions after 15 weeks, which has created confusion about what is legal, and what isn't, in recent months.

Where does Katie Hobbs stand on key issues?

Her economic policy includes programs aimed at helping working families, proposing a child tax credit, expanded childcare assistance, and waiving taxes on expensive items like diapers and baby formula.

On education, Hobbs supports universal pre-kindergarten and wants to raise teacher pay. She has proposed creating a refundable tax credit for students who pursue career and technical education instead of college.

Who did Katie Hobbs beat in the election?

Hobbs defeated the former mayor of Nogales, Marco López, handily in the August Democratic primary, advancing to what turned into a grueling race against Republican nominee Kari Lake.

Lake, a former news anchor at Phoenix's Fox 10, rose to prominence by repeating false claims about the outcome of the 2020 election, winning former President Donald Trump's endorsement last year. Lake previously had not run for office.

Reach reporter Stacey Barchenger at stacey.barchenger@arizonarepublic.com or 480-416-5669. Follow her on Twitter @sbarchenger.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Katie Hobbs is Arizona's next governor. What to know about her