Opinion: Arizona Democrats aren’t shy about calling out racial discrimination – unless it involves Katie Hobbs, the party’s apparent frontrunner for governor. That’s hypocritical.
You can always count on Arizona Democratic leaders to call out racism – except, apparently, when it comes to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.
It’s been a few days now since a federal jury awarded a whopping $2.7 million to African American lawyer Talonya Adams for racial and sex discrimination against her boss at the state Senate.
Yet, Democratic leaders across Arizona are still utterly silent. And I find that unbelievably hypocritical.
Why aren’t these Democrats denouncing Hobbs?
These are the same people who are first in line to point fingers (and correctly so) when they see racism against Black people, Latinos and other minorities.
But where is the outrage now from U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, U.S. Reps. Ruben Gallego, Greg Stanton, Raúl Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick and rest of the Democratic congressional delegation?
Where is the outrage from Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego or Tucson Mayor Regina Romero or state Democratic lawmakers?
Roberts: Katie Hobbs needs to explain her role in the firing of Talonya Adams
Where is the outrage from state Sen. Martín Quezada, who’s running for state treasurer while serving as Hobbs’ gubernatorial campaign treasurer?
Where is the outrage from state Sen. Raquel Terán, one of most vocal activists turned chair of the Arizona Democratic Party?
The best Terán could do was put out a weird message about working with Republicans on equal pay policies so this doesn’t happen again?
On Monday, House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding, who is African American and running for Arizona secretary of state, sent out a statement congratulating Adams on her win and pledging to work on equal pay policies. But just like Terán, he never mentions Hobbs.
A federal court ruled twice in Adams’ favor
That isn’t going to cut it, Democrats.
Not when Adams herself directly points the finger at Hobbs, who was Senate minority leader at the time of Adams’ firing in 2015 because she complained of low pay compared to her white counterparts.
“This was Katie Hobbs’ decision,” Adams told 12 News. “I think she’s always been very uncomfortable with minorities. She seems wholly disconnected from people of color.”
Hobbs, meanwhile, blamed the firing on Republicans. Really?
The federal court has twice decided in Adams’ favor and thus against the Senate. The court didn’t mention anyone by name, a technicality Democrats have used to try to blame Republicans who did the actual firing since they had majority rule.
Yet Hobbs confirmed in 2019 on the witness stand that the chain of command flowed through her, and that the firing was a decision made by her and others.
It calls out a dark truth about racism
Some prominent African Americans, including the Rev. Dr. Warren H. Stewart Sr., Arizona Corporation Commissioner Sandra Kennedy and Charles Fanniel, president of the NAACP of Arizona, are urging people, “especially people of color, (to) reconsider any support for Katie Hobbs.”
“We ask that all persons, especially people of color, reconsider any support for Katie Hobbs to become the next Governor of Arizona, as a direct consequence of her unjust actions toward Attorney Adams, and refusal to neither admit discrimination occurred, nor take responsibility for her role in the retaliatory termination,” they said in a statement.
Hobbs is seeking the Democratic nomination against business owner and former Nogales Mayor Marco López and former state Rep. Aaron Lieberman. They’ve predictably called out Hobbs.
But the silence from most other Democratic leaders is deafening.
And it sends a loud statement about the dark truth of racism: calling it out only matters when it’s politically advantageous.
Elvia Díaz is an editorial columnist for The Republic and azcentral. Reach her at 602-444-8606 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter, @elviadiaz1.
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