Ariz. woman inspired to run for office after watching DeVos hearing wins state superintendent race

Ariz. woman inspired to run for office after watching DeVos hearing wins state superintendent race
© Greg Nash

An Arizona woman who says she was motivated to run for office after watching Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosJudge warns DeVos: 'I'm not sending anyone to jail yet' but it's an option Students ask judge to hold DeVos in contempt over debt collection DeVos security detail could cost taxpayers over M during Trump's first term MORE struggle during her confirmation hearing has been elected the state’s highest education official.

Kathy Hoffman, 31, became Arizona’s first Democratic superintendent of public instruction in more than 25 years, according to The Washington Post. Before running for office, Hoffman was a speech therapist in a suburban Phoenix public school district.

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She told the Post that seeing DeVos’s shortcomings while answering education policy questions inspired her to run.

“It was very clear from many of her statements she had never spent any time in a school,” Hoffman said.

She said she focused her campaign on her classroom experience, despite skepticism from politicians and teachers’ unions. Neither the Arizona Education Association nor the Arizona Federation of Teachers endorsed Hoffman in her primary race against former state Senate minority leader David Schapira, according to the Post.

“I kept talking about my students and my colleagues,” she said. “I kept it very focused on my classroom experience.”

Her win comes months after Arizona educators took part in a statewide teachers’ strike that ended after Gov. Doug Ducey (R) granted teachers a 20 percent raise and more funding for schools.

DeVos was mocked and criticized after her Senate confirmation hearing in January 2017. Two Republican senators voted against her confirmation.

The midterm elections saw a number of educators win election to public office, including Jahana Hayes, a former National Teacher of the Year who will become the first black woman to represent Connecticut in Congress.