PHOENIX - The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted a 2022 Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on Wednesday, Sept. 7 where GOP candidate Kari Lake and Democratic hopeful and current Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, were able to answer Arizonans' questions – separately.
The forum follows the decision of Hobbs to not debate Lake. The campaign manager for Hobbs pointed to a raucous debate between the four Republicans vying for their party’s nomination in the Aug. 2 primary for her decision.
Lake had already agreed to the debate and its format, which has been used for years. She also said she was ready to hit the stage with Hobbs at any time, let her pick the moderator and write all the questions.
The audience and sponsors were made up of paying members, with tickets starting at $40 and sponsorships reaching up to more than $10,000.
‘I’m a little on the fence'
The forum began at 5:30 p.m. and each candidate was allocated about half an hour each, taking the stage separately.
Ahwatukee resident Brad Gronek said before the forum began that he wanted to hear both candidates by way of "a good, balanced conversation."
Mesa woman Beverly Pearson says she's new to Arizona and is still a bit undecided.
"Well, I’m relatively new to Arizona. We have only lived here for about five years and I’m a little on the fence about the candidates, so I just wanted to learn a little bit more about them," Pearson said.
Hobbs took the stage first, outlining her top priorities, including better education in the state, creating jobs, and tackling water security.
"Governing is not sitting on the 9th Floor and telling people what to do. It is working in partnership to make our state the best place it can possibly be for everyone, where every Arizonan can thrive and have the opportunity for all," Hobbs said.
Next up was Lake, who detailed her top priorities as addressing the homeless crisis and securing our southern borders. She also has plans to better education and tackle our water issues.
"We are going to do some great things," Lake said. "We need a transformative leader right now. Somebody who’s not afraid to take big steps, not baby steps, because we have big problems and big issues," Lake remarked.