ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs optimistic after 1st session with GOP-led Legislature

Aug 4, 2023, 10:17 AM | Updated: 10:22 am

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs announces a voluntary agreement with Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing...

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs announces a voluntary agreement with Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health on a workplace safety partnership at the TSMC construction site in Phoenix on Friday, Aug. 4, 2023. (KTAR News Photo/Colton Krolak)

(KTAR News Photo/Colton Krolak)

PHOENIX — Democratic Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs said Friday she was optimistic about the future after completing her first session working with a Republican-led Legislature.

The Legislature adjourned for the year Monday after passing a bill to put an extension of the Prop 400 regional transportation tax on the ballot in Maricopa County next year. Hobbs signed the bill Wednesday.

She cited that deal and the state budget agreement from May as reasons for her positive outlook.

“I think that the big wins that we had — that bipartisan budget, that agreement on Prop 400 — show that we can work together on important issues for Arizonans when we can put the partisan politics aside, and I’m really optimistic moving forward that we’ve set the groundwork to continue doing that,” she said.

“I’m sure there will still be really big partisan disagreements. But I’m more than optimistic going into the next session.”

Hobbs sets sights on state’s ESA school voucher program

Hobbs made the comments to reporters after a press conference at the Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company plant construction site in Phoenix. During the press conference, she announced a voluntary agreement with TSMC and the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health on a workplace safety partnership that surpasses federal requirements.

She also addressed future priorities after the press conference, focusing on reining in the state’s universal Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) school voucher program.

“ESAs are going to be a big issue,” she said. “We’re seeing more and more validation of the fact that they’re a budget breaker. They make working families cover the cost of private school tuition … at the expense of having quality public education for all Arizonans, and we need to change course on that.”

Can Arizona Democrats, Republicans put aside partisan politics?

Hobbs said she doesn’t think her stated goal of flipping the Legislature to a Democratic majority is an impediment to getting things done while Republicans hold the state House and Senate.

“That’s part of the partisan politics, and we were able to put those aside,” she said. “I think there’s other issues we can do that on.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Colton Krolak contributed to this report.

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Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs optimistic after 1st session with GOP-led Legislature