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Katie Hobbs, Democrats take the reins of Arizona government

By: - January 3, 2023 5:01 am
Katie Hobbs

Katie Hobbs takes the oath of office in a private ceremony on Jan. 2, 2023. Photo via Governor Katie Hobbs /Facebook

Katie Hobbs officially became Arizona’s governor on Monday, ushering in a new set of priorities and vision for the state and setting the stage for contentious battles with the GOP-controlled legislature.

Hobbs and four other victors in November’s statewide elections were sworn into office in a private ceremony Monday. Hobbs, who succeeded Doug Ducey as governor, is the first Democrat since Janet Napolitano left office in 2009 to lead the state.


She was administered the oath of office by Roopali Desai, a friend and former attorney who became a federal judge in 2022. Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel administered the oaths of office for the other election winners: Democratic Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes, Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, Republican Treasurer Kimberly Yee and Republican Mine Inspector Paul Marsh.

The swearing in was not open to the public or the press, but was instead livestreamed on Facebook. A public inauguration ceremony will be held at the state Capitol on Jan. 5.

The ascension of Hobbs to governor and the victories of Fontes and Mayes marks the first time since 1975 that Democrats have controlled the top three statewide posts. With it comes a new approach to governing that was immediately on display.

Just hours after taking the oath of office, Hobbs issued an executive order prohibiting employment discrimination in state agencies and requiring them to adopt anti-discrimination policies. By contrast, when Ducey assumed office in 2015, his first action was an executive order aimed at making it more difficult for state agencies to create regulations.

Hobbs campaigned on protecting abortion rights, funding public schools and making permanent programs like a child tax credit that would disproportionately benefit low- and middle-income families. 

“Today marks a new era in Arizona, where my Administration will work to build an Arizona for everyone,” Hobbs said in a written statement after being sworn in. “It’s time for bold action and I feel ready as ever to get the job done. Let’s get to work.”


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Jim Small
Jim Small

Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications. He has also served as the editor and executive director of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.