HomeLearning CenterWith Katie Hobbs’ Inauguration, Arizona Is the First State to Have Had Five Female Governors

With Katie Hobbs’ Inauguration, Arizona Is the First State to Have Had Five Female Governors

As Democrat Katie Hobbs officially became Arizona’s 24th governor Monday, her inauguration marked an important milestone for our state. 

Arizona has now had five female governors, leading the nation with the most female governors than any other state in the U.S. Many states have still never elected a female governor.

Hobbs follows in the footsteps of former governors Jan Brewer, Janet Napolitano, Jane Dee Hull, and Rose Mofford. They’re all powerful women who have left behind a legacy.

Hobbs said this moment is very exciting for her and she is more than ready for this historic moment. 

“We have a long history of electing women in Arizona. At one point, our Legislature was tied for the most women in our Legislature, we’ve had some of the earliest women elected to our Legislature in the country. And so we have a track record there. And I just I’m so proud to be a part of that legacy,” Hobbs said.

It’s a legacy that reveals the fraught history of Arizona’s top office beginning in 1988, when Gov. Evan Mecham was impeached. Democrat Rose Mofford was then secretary of state and became the first woman to become Arizona’s governor after Mecham was booted out of office.

The next woman to become governor came nearly 10 years later under similar circumstances. In 1997, former Gov. Fife Symington resigned. At that time, Secretary of State Jane Dee Hull, a Republican, succeeded Symington and took over the office. 

The following year, Hull ran for the office and became the first woman elected to be Arizona’s governor. Hull served until 2003.

From there, a streak took off. Democrat Janet Napolitano served as governor from 2003 to 2009. 

“I think a couple of things give great credit to Arizona voters who you know, look beyond issues of gender and the like and go for the person they think is the best candidate,” Napolitano said. 

She credits all these women’s years of service and work in government for getting to the top job. 

“So we all got to office in somewhat different ways. But the key thing is that Arizona now has a proud tradition of electing women as governors,” she said.

Republican Jan Brewer became the third female secretary of state to rise to the top office in 2009. That was the year when Napolitano became the secretary of homeland security during the Obama administration.

rewer was later elected and served as Arizona’s fourth female governor until 2015. 

“I believe in Arizona, and from the time I first ran for the Legislature, when I was elected, we had 28 women serving in the Legislature again, we had a state record of women. So Arizona has just always been very, very supportive. They’re women, they know that they’re leaders and they know that they can count on them, and they know that they do a good job. So you know, we’re always very, very proud,” Brewer said.

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