Arizona governor wannabe Katie Hobbs begins her overdue apology tour
Opinion: The Arizona Democratic gubernatorial candidate tells an interviewer what she should have said long ago about her role in the firing of a Black staffer.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs appears to have begun the apology tour through which she hopes to resurrect her campaign to become the Democratic nominee for governor.
Hobbs has been on the defensive since, for the second time, a jury found that former Democratic state Senate adviser Talonya Adams, a Black woman, was fired in 2015 for raising concerns about pay disparity, with the latest all-white jury recommending she receive millions in compensation. Hobbs was the Senate Democratic leader at the time.
Since then, a group of prominent Black leaders in Arizona have come out against Hobbs’ candidacy, both because of the way the issue was handled initially and the way Hobbs has responded since.
Hobbs has kept a low profile since the jury verdict. That hasn’t helped either.
She now appears to be emerging from whatever political bunker she was hiding in and has taken the first tentative step on what appears to be an apology tour.
'I will say I'm sorry for my role in this'
Hobbs appeared with host Zerline Maxwell on her Peacock network program and addressed the controversy.
In a clip, Maxwell describes the firing of Adams and the response of Black leaders and asks Hobbs if she has any response to their concerns.
Hobbs says, “I absolutely … They have valid concerns in terms of what this might mean, but I will say I’m sorry for my role in this and that I have learned from this. And when I got to the secretary of state’s office I worked to address pay equity across the board. We gave much needed raises to many staff, many of whom were people of color making less than 15 an hour. And we’ve done everything we can to bring pay fairness to the secretary of state’s office and I intend to do that across state government when I’m the governor.”
For a time during the past year Hobbs was the darling of CNN and MSNBC during their coverage of the sham election audit orchestrated by Arizona’s Republican-controlled Legislature.
She did well on those appearances and it raised her profile to the point where she became the clear Democratic frontrunner in the governor’s race. And she still is. At least in terms of name recognition.
It's what Katie Hobbs should've said all along
The the verdict in the discrimination trial hurt her, as did her initial reaction – or lack of reaction – to it.
But it’s a year until the election and the sooner Hobbs goes out of her way to address this situation the better chance she has to make it less of an issue.
During a long campaign, the simple fact is that people forget stuff.
What Hobbs told Maxwell is what she should have said from the very beginning, of course, and now – even if she’s being completely sincere – it will look more like political expediency than genuine personal reflection.
That’s too bad.
It’s like what the former Democratic leader of the Arizona House, Art Hamilton, told me about Hobbs. He was one of the Black leaders who came out against her campaign.
Hamilton said, “Politicians almost always overestimate the cost of doing the right thing. I believe that is what Ms. Hobbs has done.”
Reach Montini at email@example.com.
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