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OPINION: Vote blue for the 2022 Arizona governor race

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Farrah Rodriguez

An illustration of the Democratic Party’s donkey and the Republican Party’s elephant fighting at a poll booth. Image by Farrah Rodriguez. 

With the days narrowing before the Nov. 8 general election, many Arizona residents will soon decide who to vote in as the next leader of their state as governor: Democrat Katie Hobbs or Republican Kari Lake. 

The Daily Wildcat Opinions Desk offers up a few reasons why Hobbs is the clear choice over her conservative counterpart.

Over everything else, we encourage you to get to the polls and vote. Your voice counts and it’s important to make it heard.

Katie Hobbs (D) 

Secretary Katie Hobbs is an Arizona native who has spent her career helping Arizonans. After graduating college from Northern Arizona University and attending graduate school at Arizona State University, she began work as a social worker, where she immediately started helping homeless youth in Phoenix. She has also served in the Arizona Legislature and is currently the Secretary of State for Arizona. Many of her plans and accomplishments center around bringing accountability to political offices and creating solutions for the real and everyday problems Arizonans face.

It is clear Hobbs has a lot to offer Arizonans. Having worked with Arizona families so much in her life, she knows what the average person needs in their everyday routines. As the nominee for the Democratic Party, she has plenty of ideas for how to shape Arizona from the office of the governor.

Most of the strength of her platform revolves around combating real social issues that have become problems over the last few years. 

One of the problems she plans to address is abortion access and care. Coming from a social work background, she understands the consequences an unplanned pregnancy can have on women and their families. Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, Hobbs said she plans to secure the freedom of choice in Arizona, tackling Republican-made laws within the state that attempt to limit this form of health care. She also plans to expand access to family planning resources and other reproductive care within the state. 

Hobbs also is active in addressing equity and justice and is aiming for an inclusive government that works for all, something else that has become relevant within the past few years. Hobbs plans to recruit and hire women and people from underrepresented communities to ensure all Arizonans are heard under her administration. 

At the state level, she plans to create the roles of chief equity officer and civil rights policy advisor. These positions will hold Arizona accountable in promoting diversity within the workforce.

To address the wage gap, Hobbs would like to publicly audit statewide employee salaries to reveal the pay inequalities that exist. She also would like to invest in minority-owned businesses, expand access to capital for these businesses and expand diversity within the STEM field. 

Further issues to be addressed include access to the ballot for communities of color, addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system and strengthening equal rights by banning LGBTQ+ discrimination in multiple areas. 

These are only a few of the issues Hobbs would address as governor of Arizona, all of which are of vast importance. Not only does she have plans for these issues, but she has firsthand experience in government and social work and knows what it takes to deliver for Arizonans. 

Her campaign website is also easy to navigate and is very detailed regarding what her plans are for the state – transparency and accessibility that is encouraging to a potential voter.

While these ideas may be appealing to certain audiences, others may not be impressed with them. Being informed on multiple issues about different candidates is essential when it comes to voting. 

Debates are an easy way to compare candidates and see them express how their ideas and plans will work, while also being challenged by the other side. However, Hobbs has refused multiple times to debate Republican candidate Lake.

RELATED: OPINION: Out-of-state students should vote in their home state

Hobbs said she believes that a debate with Lake would only give the Republican candidate a chance to create a performance like that of the Republican primary debate. 

Hobbs also added that one “can’t debate a conspiracy theorist,” and that Lake would mention past elections during the debate. 

While Hobbs has valid reasons for declining a debate with Lake, it does limit 

the scope of her campaign. Swing voters may be less apt to vote for someone who refuses to take part in any bipartisan discourse at this level.

Kari Lake (R)

A former broadcast journalist and news anchor for Phoenix television station KSAZ-TV, Kari Lake is running for Arizona governor as part of the Republican Party. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in communications and journalism. 

Lake states on her official campaign website that she is pro-life, anti-vaccine and in support of securing the Mexico–United States border with a wall. Lake takes a strong stance on some of the most topical issues voters will be met with at the polls and follows former Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in many of her beliefs and policies.

Perhaps one of the most controversial candidates gracing the Arizona ballot this November, Lake has drawn attention to herself across the state for her aggressive policy ideas and public persona. Lake is vocal about her belief that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, and it is one of the founding components of her campaign. 

This position is not a new one for far-right Republican candidates across the U.S. Yet, in a state that will hold immense sway in the 2024 presidential election, Lake’s 2020 election denial could help shoot far-right Republican policy to the forefront of American politics should she secure the job as Arizona’s governor.

The Republican gubernatorial candidate also has expressed strong opinions regarding water usage and abortion in Arizona, two issues that voters will have in mind at the polls. 

Lake says on her website that water availability in Arizona and the Southwest as a whole is – and will continue to be – an enormous problem residents face. 

However, there is an element of this discussion that Lake does not address, and that is climate change. Lake advocates for desalination and pumping water from outside the state, as well as expanding existing dams and reservoirs to better utilize storm runoff. Noticeably absent from her water policy is a discussion on climate change, an issue that is especially important in a state already struggling with extreme heat and drought.

Arizonans should also note Lake’s views on abortion, one of the most important issues guiding voters at the polls this year. On her campaign website, Lake states that she is pro-life. While Lake has not come down quite as hard on the issue as some other Trump-endorsed Republican candidates, she stated in an interview with “Face The Nation” yesterday that she wants, “to give women true choices. I will uphold the law, whatever that law is.” Current Arizona law surrounding abortion is confusing for many, especially after an appeals court ruled on Friday to halt the enforcement of a pre-statehood law that would criminalize abortions regardless of circumstance. Regardless of pre-statehood laws, Lake is still in the anti-abortion camp and will continue to be should she take office as Arizona’s governor. With so many voters viewing abortion rights as an important issue, Lake’s pro-life stance is vital to know.

Lake’s increasingly radical viewpoints on Arizona issues mirror many far-right, Trump-endorsed Republicans on ballots across the U.S. Where Lake diverges from her predecessors is in the area of creating new and exciting issues for Arizonans to consider, the titular issue being what she calls, “Cancel Culture & Censorship.”

 It seems as though 22 years in front of the camera has made Lake a bit wary of cancel culture pushed by those who are, as she says, “mentally unbalanced.” She said she plans to cut shared state revenue, grants and more from schools that intentionally supress free speech that is not within the realm of inciting violence – a definition that is vague at best. 

This goes for businesses too, where Lake claims she will pull eligibility for tax breaks for businesses that “engage in cancel culture.” This insistence on protecting free speech does not seem to extend to people who claim the 2020 election was not, in fact, stolen.

Lake is a candidate who is more preoccupied with her own image and rise to power than she is with Arizona residents’ well-being. To elect Lake would mean skyrocketing a woman to one of the most influential positions in Arizona government who has no concrete political experience and instead relies on a disgraced former president’s endorsement, punchy language and flashy TV appearances.

It’s time for change

Time and time again, we have been told that it is our responsibility to vote in the candidates that will better our future. And, as much as this request has been exhausted, it is true. 

There is no reason to be indifferent about social and political reform when it affects us on a daily basis, both short-term and long-term. Some say politics has no effect on them, but no matter how dirty it can all get, the choices that powerful people make determine our freedoms and, more importantly, the freedoms of the people we may not even know who are much less fortunate than ourselves.

When it comes to the office of the governor for Arizona, there are many ideas to consider. One’s background, social ideas and future plans can determine how far a candidate may go in an election. Exercising the fundamental right to vote in this election can be a first step for anyone looking for a way to make a change in Arizona.

We shouldn’t have to keep protesting for our basic human rights, and if we put the right people in office, there eventually will be no need for movements like Red for Ed or March for Our Lives, because the state will be a safer place for everyone and not just for the politicians dictating our futures. 

With Ducey leaving office after eight consecutive years, now is our chance to elect an official that is truly inclusive and demonstrates empathy without having to make accusatory claims. 

With this assessment in mind, make the logical choice. There is evidently one candidate who puts the Arizonan people first and stays true to her values in reform proposals and in action. Don’t drown in the Republican fantasy world of Lake; instead, vote blue on Nov. 8.


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About the Contributor
Luke Lawson
Luke Lawson, Opinions Editor
Luke Lawson is a senior at the University of Arizona studying accounting.
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