Monday, November 7, 2022
Former President Barack Obama traveled to Phoenix to stump for Sen. Mark Kelly of Tucson and gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs, the current secretary of state, at Cesar Chavez High School in Phoenix on Nov. 2, ahead of midterm Election Day.
The high school gymnasium housed a standing-room-only crowd of over 1,000 people, who were electrified by the former president’s candor with his father-like wisdom and calming presence.
Obama endorsed the candidates and forewarned Arizona voters about the future of democracy in the swing state.
“Consider the fact that our democracy is on the ballot, and nowhere is that clearer than here in Arizona,” Obama said.
The 44th president denounced far-right conspiracy theories espoused by many of the GOP candidates, including gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Senate-seat hopeful Blake Masters, who support the “Big Lie” concerning the fraudulent results of the 2020 election.
“When we have politicians and elected officials in leadership positions who continue to promote over the top rhetoric, or at least ignore it or make light of it,” Obama said. “When you’ve got elected officials encouraging supporters to stand outside of voting places armed with guns and dressed in tactical gear, more people are going to get hurt.”
Hobbs, who is running against Lake, also asked voters to defend democracy, noting it was nice to be in a room full of people who were focused on the upcoming election instead of the last one.
“In a democracy, we all get a say in our future,” Hobbs said. “When we prove the government can help solve problems, we prove that democracy works.”
A social worker by training, Hobbs said she helped run one of the largest domestic abuse shelters in the country. That experience led her to seek out and address the issues that led people to these situations and she ran for office.
“In the Legislature I worked with both parties, to expand health care to over 500,000 Arizonans,” Hobbs said.
She also worked “across the aisle” on tackling the opioid epidemic within the state and working with the governor’s office to clear the state’s rape-kit backlog.
“That’s exactly the same kind of leadership that I will bring to the governor’s office,” Hobbs said. “Real solutions.”
Former Rep. Gabby Giffords also spoke on behalf of her husband, Kelly, and his re-election campaign. Giffords spoke about the importance of the election, lowering prescription drug costs, raising middle class wages, as well as protecting Medicare and Social Security.
“Mark focuses on facts, not politics, is caring and has already served our country in so many ways,” Giffords said. “We need him in the senate.”
Kelly, who served 25 years as a Navy combat pilot and later a NASA astronaut, won a special election in 2020 against Republican candidate Martha McSally,
“None of this would be possible without Gabby Giffords,” Kelly said.
Kelly advocates for revitalizing Arizona’s economy by lowering costs such as prescription drug costs, bringing back manufacturing jobs to the state, boosting renewable energy and creating well-paying jobs that do not require a four-year degree.
Kelly also condemned Masters for calling abortion “demonic” and for questioning the results of the midterm elections, ahead of Election Day.
“I’ve flown in combat 39 times, and I’ve flown in space four times, but never once did I do that by myself; it was always as part of a bigger team,” Kelly said, before thanking his constituents.
“The only way to preserve our democracy is if we together nurture and invest in it,” Obama said. “That starts by electing people who know you.