Democrat Katie Hobbs will take office as governor of Arizona

PHOENIX (AP) — Katie Hobbs is sworn in Monday to become the 24th governor of Arizona and the first Democrat to hold the post since 2009.

Power will transfer in a private ceremony at the state Capitol as Hobbs officially succeeds Republican Doug Ducey. A public inauguration for Hobbs and others taking offices statewide is scheduled for Thursday.

Hobbs is the outgoing Secretary of State and was previously a state legislator who became the Senate’s top Democrat. As governor, she will have to work with a tightly Republican-controlled House and Senate. The new legislature meets for the first time next week.

Hobbs takes control of a state with a strong economy and solid financial position, with a large budget surplus projected for the next fiscal year.

But there are headwinds on the horizon. Phoenix has some of the highest levels of inflation in the nation, and housing costs have soared as rapid population growth outpaced home building, belying the state’s reputation for affordability. And the water supply is limited by drought.

Hobbs narrowly beat Republican Kari Lake, a former TV presenter backed by former President Donald Trump. She enthused conservatives with her unwavering support for Trump, including her lies about the 2020 election, and her strong criticism of mask mandates and business closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But she has struggled to connect with Arizona’s general electorate, which has repeatedly shunned Republicans closely aligned with Trump since the 2018 midterms.

Hobbs will be the fifth woman to serve as governor of Arizona. The last Democratic governor was Janet Napolitano, who resigned in January 2009 to serve as United States Secretary of Homeland Security under President Barack Obama. She was replaced by Republican Governor Jan Brewer.

The Arizona Constitution stipulates that officers of the state take office on the first Monday in January. While Hobbs will take office on schedule, the public ceremony has been delayed because Monday is the New Years holiday.

Democrats Adrian Fontes as Secretary of State and Kris Mayes as Attorney General also officially took office on Monday, both of whom defeated Trump-backed Republicans who refused to concede and unsuccessfully contested their losses before courts. Mayes’ 280-vote victory was one of the closest races in Arizona history.

Kimberly Yee will be sworn in for her second term as state treasurer and Tom Horne as superintendent of public instruction, a role he held for two terms beginning in 2003. Both Yee and Horne are republicans.


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