Katie Hobbs names longtime aide Allie Bones as gubernatorial chief of staff

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs announced on November 21 that she has named Assistant Secretary of State Allie Bones as chief of staff for her incoming administration.

Bones, one of the Democrat’s longtime aides, has been registered on-and-off as a lobbyist since 2002. She previously operated a Phoenix-based nonprofit and served in the Napolitano administration. Bones has donated more than $6,000 to Hobbs’s campaigns.

Hobbs recently announced the members of her transition team, a roster that includes other lobbyists and campaign donors.

Katie Hobbs fills transition team with lobbyists, campaign donors

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs announced the members of her incoming administration’s transition team on November 21, a roster that includes lobbyists and campaign donors.

The co-chairs of the transition team are Mike Haener and Monica Villalobos. Haener is a principal at the government relations firm Willetta Partners. Villalobos is the president and chief executive officer at the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

There are at least 15 current and former lobbyists on the transition team: Haener, David Adame, Ron Butler, Chris Camacho, Chad Campbell, Coral Evans, Marisol Garcia, John Graham, Martin Harvier, Andy Kunasek, Jim McLaughlin, Peggy Neely, Jackie Norton, Tonya Norwood-Pearson, and Stephanie Parra. Their notable lobbying clients have included the Arizona Education Association (teachers union), Arizona State University, Chicanos Por La Causa, and various labor unions.

The transition team also includes at least 9 members who built up Hobbs’s campaign war chest. Haener, Neely, Norton, Norwood-Pearson, Sharon Harper, and Danny Ortega donated to Hobbs directly, while Graham, Harper, Adame, and John Giles hosted a fundraiser for the candidate on September 20.

The remaining members of the transition team not listed above are Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren, Marlene Galan-Woods, Steve Gallardo, Berdetta Hodge, Jen Longdon, Garrick McFadden, Lynne Pancrazi, Frank Piccioli, Regina Romero, Fabian Sandez, Alfred Urbina, Mary Rose Wilcox, and Bob Worsley.

Hobbs declared victory in the gubernatorial race on November 15 but has been accused of “deliberately” antagonizing lawmakers ahead of her inauguration.

J.D. Mesnard: “It’s going to be a long four years” if Katie Hobbs keeps “deliberately” antagonizing legislators

PHOENIX — An Arizona state senator criticized Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs for “deliberately” antagonizing lawmakers ahead of the 2023 legislative session.

J.D. Mesnard, who represents legislative district 17, accused Hobbs of “punching us in the face” in order to “excite her base” by setting up a public “showdown” with Republicans. The senator’s comment came after Hobbs admitted that she is “taking a hard look” at defunding the Border Strike Force despite her campaign pledge to the contrary. “If that’s her opening move, it’s going to be a long four years,” Mesnard told the Arizona Republic on November 21.

Hobbs also announced one week earlier that “I will do everything in my power” to repeal Arizona’s restrictions on abortion by calling a special session of the legislature, even though Republicans maintain majorities in both chambers.

Katie Hobbs “taking a hard look” at defunding Border Strike Force, despite campaign pledge to the contrary

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs admitted during one of her first post-election television interviews on November 16 that she is “taking a hard look” at defunding Arizona’s Border Strike Force.

Following an extended interview, 3TV’s Dennis Welch informed viewers that Hobbs “told me that she would be taking a hard look at Governor Ducey’s Border Strike Force and whether or not she will keep it” pending her assessment of “whether it’s an appropriate role for the Arizona Department of Public Safety.” The remark contradicts Hobbs’s previous position on the issue. During a June 2021 interview on 12 News, Hobbs applauded the Border Strike Force as a successful “drug interdiction unit” and said that one of her priorities would be “continuing to provide the support so that they’re able to carry out that job.”

The Border Strike Force, established by Ducey in 2015, is a collaborative law enforcement effort to stop dangerous crime at the border involving drugs, weapons, theft, and more. The success of the effort in Arizona led 26 governors to form the American Governors’ Border Strike Force in April 2022, but, asked by Welch if she is “going to stick with” the state’s membership in the nationwide coalition, Hobbs declined to answer, stating only that “it’s something that I need to look more closely at in terms of how it’s working.”

One day earlier, Hobbs had pledged during a campaign victory speech that she would “provide our border communities with the resources they need” in order to address the “border crisis.”

In victory speech, Katie Hobbs finally acknowledges ‘border crisis’ and ‘skyrocket’ inflation under Joe Biden

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs delivered a speech to campaign supporters November 15 declaring victory in the Arizona gubernatorial race.

In the speech, Hobbs acknowledged the “skyrocket” inflation that has occurred under the Biden administration — including “rising costs on housing and groceries” — and told taxpayers that she will “put more money back in your pockets” as governor. She also pledged to “provide our border communities with the resources they need” and conceded that there is, in fact, “a border crisis” in Arizona, backtracking from a June 2021 interview with 3TV’s Dennis Welch during which Hobbs had demurred when asked if problems at the border constituted a “crisis.”

Hobbs then praised her Democratic successor, stating, “I’m thrilled to know that I will be handing the keys of the Secretary of State’s Office to Adrian Fontes.”