Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs nominates Child Safety director after pulling initial pick

Mar 6, 2023, 3:00 PM
David Lujan (Children's Action Alliance Photo)...
David Lujan (Children's Action Alliance Photo)
(Children's Action Alliance Photo)

PHOENIX — After withdrawing her initial Department of Child Safety director pick last month, Gov. Katie Hobbs on Monday nominated a former state lawmaker to the cabinet post.

Hobbs named David Lujan, president and CEO of the Children’s Action Alliance advocacy group for the last two years, to the position.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to serve Arizona families and work toward creating a more inclusive and equitable state that will benefit all of us,” Lujan said said in a press release.

Lujan has served in both chambers of the Arizona Legislature and worked as an attorney for a nonprofit that provides abused and neglected children with legal services.

“David has led a career of defending and building up communities here in Arizona so that families can have happy and successful lives,” Hobbs said in the release.

“His ability to lead and history on raising awareness in areas that need critical attention, like our teacher shortage, makes me confident that he will head the Department of Child Safety in a positive direction.”

Lujan needs full Senate approval to get the job officially, but he can serve on an interim basis before completing the confirmation process, which includes questioning from the GOP-led Committee on Director Nominations.

Hobbs withdrew her first Child Safety nominee, Matthew Stewart, on Feb. 23.

Republican Sen. Jake Hoffman, chairman of the Committee on Director Nominations, issued a statement at the time saying “some very troubling events have come to light” over the first few weeks of Stewart’s appointed tenure.

“Those issues include four high-level employees of DCS separating from the agency. Mr. Stewart has also made some questionable moves on consulting contracts,” Hoffman said.

Hobbs responded to Hoffman’s remarks by telling reporters the situation with Stewart “has nothing to do with the Senate committee,” but she refused to reveal details about why he was removed.

“Sadly, it seems clear that Hobbs is not conducting her own vetting process, so my colleagues and I will continue to serve as the necessary and constitutional check and balance on the executive branch that the citizens of our great state need and deserve,” Hoffman said.

Hobbs, meanwhile, accused Hoffman’s committee of engaging in “political theater.”

Stewart was the second cabinet choice Hobbs had to walk back.

Arizona’s first Democratic governor since 2009 previously withdrew her pick for Department of Health Services director after the nominations committee voted against recommending Dr. Theresa Cullen to the full Senate.

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Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs nominates Child Safety director after pulling initial pick