Gov. Katie Hobbs selected her former legislative colleague and longtime lobbyist, Chad Campbell, as her replacement chief of staff. The appointment comes less than a week after the resignation of Hobbs’ longtime right-hand woman, Allie Bones: first as assistant secretary of state and, until recently, chief of staff.
Campbell formerly served as the House Minority Leader for the Democrats for four years of his eight-year tenure as a state representative from 2007 to 2015. For four years, Campbell and Hobbs represented the same district; Hobbs took over as minority leader for Campbell in 2015.
Campbell’s legacy includes passing the 2013 Medicaid expansion under former Gov. Jan Brewer, and lobbying for the 2020 legalization of marijuana through Proposition 207.
Campbell served on both of Hobbs’ transition teams, first as secretary of state and then governor this past year. He will assume his position on June 5.
Last year, Campbell co-founded Lumen Strategies Arizona alongside Stacy Pearson, known for assisting in the 2016 defeat of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the 2020 legalization of marijuana. Prior to that, Campbell served as an executive for two different consultancy firms: Strategies 360 and Resolute Consulting.
Campbell proved his political acumen as recently as the last election, after he predicted the failure of Maricopa County Attorney candidate Julie Gunnigle’s campaign, describing it as resembling the “worst” he’d seen over the last 30 years. Campbell made the remarks in a video call with other Democratic leaders.
“[Gunnigle’s campaign] reminds me of that: not knowing the audience, not knowing the issues that matter to a lot of voters,” stated Campbell. “And I will say this: the vast majority of Democrats that I know all believe that there needs to be reforms in law enforcement, we believe there needs to be more accountability. But almost everybody I talk to, nobody wants to defund the police, everybody knows we need more public safety resources, which will actually make more accountability.”
Hobbs’ recently departed chief of staff, Bones, resigned last week. Bones was the latest in a rapid series of turnovers in Hobbs’ administration.
Bones’ resignation reflected a pattern from Hobbs’ last female predecessor, Jan Brewer, whose first chief of staff also departed within a year. However, both of former Gov. Doug Ducey’s chiefs of staff lasted years.
Bones resignation also followed months of unsuccessful nominations to outfit Hobbs’ cabinet. On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Director Nominations rejected the Registrar of Contractors nominee, former State Sen. Martin Quezada.
In February, Hobbs faced the retraction of two nominees: Dr. Theresa Cullen as director of Arizona Department of Health Services, and Matthew Stewart as director of the Department of Child Services.
Republicans in the Arizona Legislature are taking action to protect their constituents from the environmental activism of the Biden Administration’s sweeping national agenda, and one House panel may have uncovered some information given during a hearing that supports the motivations for pursuing this legislation.
On Monday, the Arizona House Health and Human Services Committee considered a strike everything amendment to SB 1278. The amendment would forbid “municipalities and counties from prohibiting or imposing fines that restrict the manufacturing, selling or ownership of an appliance that uses the services of a utility provider.” The sponsor of the amendment, and chairman of the committee, Representative Steve Montenegro, explained that he was willing to take this action to “protect the ability for citizens to have such a simple use at a price they can afford” – when it comes to gas versus electric appliances. He opined that many families would not be able to afford the newer electric alternatives if gas options became extinct.
During Monday’s hearing, a representative from the Arizona League of Cities and Towns testified in opposition to the amendment, saying that “several cities expressed concerns about their participation in federal programs” (should this proposal be enacted into law). This comment sparked Chairman Montenegro to ask if these cities and towns were in support of banning gas appliances. The League’s representative responded that some cities have already implemented certain standards that they have to abide by – thus the reason for the opposition to the legislation. The representative later clarified that these standards primarily applied to water conservation programs, but he stated the position of these jurisdictions was that “they want to be able to require that those appliances can be energy or water efficient.” He also admitted that there were some cities and towns that would like to prioritize energy or water efficient appliances over gas appliances.
The Arizona efforts follow a months-long saga over reports that the Biden Administration is seeking to ban gas stoves. On January 17, 2023, The U.S. House Energy and Commerce (ENC) Committee wrote, “President Biden wants to control every aspect of our lives – from what kind of cars we can drive, how we can heat our homes, and now how we’re allowed to cook food for our families. Last week, it was reported that the Biden administration is looking to ban gas stoves from American homes across the country.”
This statement from the powerful Congressional committee followed a letter to the president, sent by Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers and dozens of her colleagues on January 13, calling on the Biden Administration to “cease all efforts at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and any other federal agency to ban natural gas stoves and other home appliances reliant on natural gas, and to affirm the importance of natural gas as an affordable and reliable energy and heat source for American homes, from our homes to our furnaces.” The letter detailed how, “according to recent news reports, a CPSC Commissioner has called for banning or restricting the use of natural gas stoves by Americans in their homes.”
In a January 13 letter from McMorris Rodgers to CPSC Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric, she noted that “the Energy Information Agency estimates that 35% of homes in the United States –
more than 40 million Americans – use a natural gas stove.” And “alternatives to natural gas stoves, such as electrical or induction stoves, face safety and economic challenges. In a study of home cooking fires, the National Fire Protection Association found that ‘although 60 percent of households cook with electricity, four out of five ranges or cooktops involved in reported cooking fires were powered by electricity.’ The report also indicated that ‘the civilian fire injury rate per million households was 4.8 times higher with electric ranges than in households using gas ranges.’” The ENC Chair argued that “if the CPSC would move forward to ban natural gas stoves, or other home goods reliant upon such fuel, it would increase the dangers facing families who depend on natural gas and can’t afford to replace their home appliances.”
Representative Matt Gress, in explaining his vote to clear the amended bill from committee, said that he “finds it fascinating that opponents of this measure have clearly articulated what (he sees) as a troubling trend across this country where cities, towns, and states are using health and safety concerns as a facade for implementing a radical, Green New Deal agenda.”
House Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci endorsed the efforts to protect Arizonans from environmental activism, telling AZ Free News, “The fact that certain liberal states, like California, are telling people what kind of utilities they can or can’t use is exactly why people are flocking to Republican run states like Arizona. We live in a free market where the consumer, not the government, should decide what they want or don’t want to consume. I’m proud to see the Republican Arizona Legislature pass these types of bills to protect our state from these woke policies.”
Senator Janae Shamp, whose bill was used for the strike everything amendment, also commented to AZ Free News about the recent action in the House, saying, “I welcome the amendment from Representative Montenegro and look forward to passing common sense protections that ensure the rights and freedoms of Arizonans. It is ridiculous, but no longer surprising, that these sorts of bills need to be passed to counter and block a radical and increasingly ludicrous left-wing national agenda. Liberals, whose devotion to the church of climate change trumps any pretense of helping people, do not care about the high costs that their proposals would pass along to lower income and working families. That is why they are willing to trade thousands of dollars in additional expenses for each Arizona family, in exchange for negligible potential benefits.”
The amended bill was approved by Montenegro’s committee with a party-line 5-4 vote. It now awaits further action by the Arizona House of Representatives.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.