A long-time Arizona Republican elected official is stepping away from public service.
Last week, Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates announced that he will not run for re-election in 2024 and intends to pursue other interests and opportunities.
Gates devoted a good deal of the statement to reminisce on his time of service to the state, writing, “For over thirteen years it has been my honor to serve my home state of Arizona on the Phoenix City Council and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. As this chapter comes to an end, I rest well knowing that I led with integrity, compassion, and dignity. Regardless of personal partisan preferences or external pressure, I remained focused on making our region the best place to live, work, and raise a family. I am proud to be a principled and limited government Republican. At the city of Phoenix, I cut through the bureaucracy and helped shape a more efficient and responsive government operation. At Maricopa County, I kept government lean, taxes low, supported our most vulnerable residents, and told the truth about our elections in the face of false information.”
The Supervisor thanked many people in his statement, including his colleagues, administrative team, Chief of Staff, supporters, residents of his district, and Maricopa County employees. He saved his most endearing comments, though, to show his gratitude to his family, adding, “To my wife and three daughters, thank you for being my rock, my foundation, and my inspiration. The past few years haven’t always been easy; however, I am a better man, colleague, and public servant because of you.”
Many Arizona officials reacted to the surprising news from Gates. Democrat Representative Marcelino Quiñonez tweeted, “Thank you Supervisor Gates for your years of service. You demonstrated courage & leadership under extraordinary & unjust circumstances. And while our politics might differ, your example must be celebrated by all. Best of luck in your future endeavors.”
Republican Representative Austin Smith used his platform to look ahead at the election to replace Gates on the Board, posting, “I am ready to work and support the most trusted conservative candidate who can win replacing Bill Gates on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.”
The 2024 election will be a pivotal time for the future of the Board and Maricopa County elections. In addition to Gates’ now-open seat, the other Republicans and lone Democrat on the panel – plus Recorder Stephen Richer – face primary and general elections.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.
Gov. Katie Hobbs doesn’t appear to be in support of President Joe Biden seeking re-election anymore.
In a Friday interview with CBS News host Major Garrett on “The Takeout,” Hobbs shied away from answering directly whether she supported the president’s aspirations for a second term.
“How excited are you about a Biden re-election campaign?” asked Garrett.
Hobbs laughed in response initially before adding: “As the newly-elected governor of Arizona, I’m very focused on Arizona. And that’s — I haven’t weighed in on the presidential election yet.”
Biden formally announced his re-election campaign last month.
Hobbs’ hesitancy to stump for Biden represents a complete reversal of her attitude back in January, a little less than a month into her administration. Four months ago, Hobbs expressed excitement at the prospect of re-electing Biden.
“Congrats to the newly elected @azdemparty board – I look forward to partnering with them and @a_dlcc over the next 2 years to win back our US House & Senate seats, deliver our electoral votes for Pres. Biden again, and flip the legislature blue,” said Hobbs. “Time to get to work.”
Also in January, Hobbs praised Biden for visiting the border.
“I am encouraged by the White House’s recent actions to finally visit the border and to start proposing real steps to begin addressing the problems of the current system,” said Hobbs. “And while optimistic, I will also continue to push Congress to do its job and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
Hobbs then listed off several initiatives launched under Biden that she says she’s grateful for, such as the CHIPS Act and Inflation Reduction Act. The governor didn’t linger too long on the subject of Biden’s re-election campaign.
Hobbs appeared to flip back and forth on her perspective of Biden. She said that Biden was delivering positive results for Americans. She also claimed that he had better stamina than she does.
“Biden and Harris are an administration and right now they’re delivering for the people of America,” said Hobbs.
Yet, the governor also indicated that the Biden administration’s handling of the economy was causing the country to head into a recession. She said she sides with average Americans’ sense of the economy over purported experts.
“I think that the economists are more optimistic than folks on the ground,” said Hobbs. “A recession is more likely than the economists are projecting.”
Concerning a potential adversary for Biden, Hobbs said that current polling she’s witnessed has placed former President Donald Trump ahead of rumored challenger, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Hobbs also answered on several other topics, including her Republican gubernatorial opponent Kari Lake and her controversial veto of a bill allowing homemade food sales (mainly impacting tamales and other street vendor foods).
Concerning the homelessness crisis, Hobbs said that California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s more recent requirement that cities submit their homeless mitigation plans to him for approval was the role model for handling homelessness.
“I think Governor Newsom’s done great things around homelessness, and certainly there are some pages we can take out of his playbook,” said Hobbs.
According to a US News analysis of the Annual Homelessness Assessment Report, Arizona has two out of the top 25 cities for largest homeless populations in the country. California has eight, with Los Angeles holding the number-one spot for the most homeless in the nation.
Tucson was listed as having the 25th-largest homeless population, with just over 2,200 homeless individuals reflecting a 68 percent increase from 2020 to last year. Phoenix had the seventh-largest homeless population of just over 9,000, with a 22 percent increase from 2020 to last year.
On the water crisis, Hobbs said that cotton and alfalfa growers should expect “difficult conversations” around the future of their business.
“If you’re a farmer that grows alfalfa, do you want to be told you can’t keep growing that? No,” said Hobbs.
Garrett pointed out that 60 percent of farmers today are Native American, and that they had thousands of years of their ancestral history rooted in agriculture. Hobbs said she wasn’t aware of that fact. However, the governor said that the Native American communities could adjust.
“I think that our Native American communities are some of the most adaptable anywhere, and I think they could shift their agriculture if they needed to,” said Hobbs.