Katie Hobbs hires diversity, equity, & inclusion (DEI) director

PHOENIX — One of Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs’s first hires to the Ninth Floor will be tasked with promoting a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) agenda throughout her administration.

The Democrat named Ariel Morin as her DEI director during an announcement of “key senior hires” to the Governor’s Office, a position that previously did not exist. Morin, who has a DEI certification, currently works for Hobbs as Human Resources Manager in the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, according to court records containing a scanned copy of her business card.

DEI is a controversial philosophical framework that has led to personnel practices that some have called discriminatory. Hobbs has been embroiled in a years-long discrimination lawsuit, with a jury ultimately awarding a $2.75 million judgment to Talonya Adams, a black woman who accused Hobbs of treating her differently because of her race and gender while serving as a legislative staffer.

The other “key senior hires” that Hobbs announced are: Murphy Hebert as director of communications; Sarah Brown as director of the Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting; Tracy Lopes as director of policy; Will Gaona as director of public affairs; and Ben Henderson as director of operations.

Hobbs tapped Assistant Secretary of State Allie Bones as her incoming chief of staff last month.