Lorraine Longhi Secretary of State Katie Hobbs stands with members of the local chapter of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters on Monday, June 7. The union is the first labor union to endorse Hobbs in her bid for governor.
Lorraine Longhi

“We are here to support Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in her high achievement as the next governor in the state of Arizona.”

The Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters on Monday endorsed Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in her bid for governor, the first labor union to endorse Hobbs in the 2022 race.

Hobbs, a Democrat, announced her campaign last week, joining former Fox 10 news anchor Kari Lake, former Nogales Mayor Marco López, Arizona Regent Karrin Taylor Robson, and Arizona’s State Treasurer Kimberly Yee in the race for governor. 

Gov. Doug Ducey has held the position since 2015, but will not be eligible to run again due to term limits.

On Monday, Fabian Sandez, the union’s regional manager and president of its local Phoenix chapter, cited Hobbs’ history of fighting for fair wages and the working class.

“From day one there was no question we were going to endorse Katie,” Sandez told The Copper Courier. “Since we’ve known her, she’s always been for working families.”

‘Unions are the foundation of our middle class’

Hobbs, who was elected Secretary of State in 2018 and served in the Arizona legislature for eight years, has recently been outspoken in pushing back against misinformation being spread surrounding the 2020 election, and a vocal critic of an audit of the election results being conducted by the Arizona Senate. Hobbs has received multiple threats to her safety in recent months.

Hobbs said Monday she was thrilled to stand with the men and women of Southwest Carpenters union.

“Unions are the foundation of our middle class,” she said. “We need your activism, and we need to support your work so that all families can make a living wage and keep our economy moving.”

Arizona is a right-to-work state, meaning employees do not have to join a union or pay union dues, which typically support the salaries of union employees and legal representation for union members. 

But unions have historically raised wages and led to better working conditions for employees, and Sandez pointed to Hobbs’ history of fighting for fair wages in the legislature.

Being A Union Carpenter

Ellen Williams, a union carpenter and community activist, said Monday that she received equal opportunity, equal work and equal pay for her job, something that allowed her to buy a home and raise her daughter as a single parent.

“That is empowering for anyone, man or woman, to make the wages to care for the house and family,” Williams said Monday. “That is what being a union carpenter has given to me.”

The union represents more than 58,000 members in six states. Sandez said the union’s membership has grown during the pandemic as it extended healthcare benefits and created other programs to support members.

“That’s what being a union member is about, protecting our families,” he said. “That’s one of the things that Secretary of State Hobbs stands for.”

In her comments Monday, Williams paraphrased a speech by former president Theodore Roosevelt to describe Hobbs.

“The credit belongs to the woman who is actually in the arena, who strives valiantly, but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends herself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,” Williams said. “We are here to support Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in her high achievement as the next governor in the state of Arizona.”