Home>Governor>Katie Hobbs Relinquishes Governorship – For One Day

State Treasurer Kimberly Yee speaking with attendees at the "Rally to Protect Our Elections" hosted by Turning Point Action at Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix, July 24, 2021. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/The Star News Network)

Katie Hobbs Relinquishes Governorship – For One Day

Mysterious disappearance leaves Republican Treasurer Kimberly Yee in charge

By Steve Kirwan, September 28, 2023 2:12 pm

Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs mysteriously stepped down last night, leaving Republican Treasurer Kimberlee Yee as acting Governor in her absence. In a press release posted to X, the Treasurer announced her temporary appointment, vowing to refrain from filling 13 agency directorships that Hobbs vowed to appoint in an end-run around State Senate oversight.

In her press release, Ms. Yee announced that she would refrain from filling the 13 vacant agency directorships despite having the statutory authority. She addressed concerns about the ongoing dispute with the Legislature regarding the selections, expressing a desire for the Governor to “promptly name qualified directors.” (story here: https://thearizonaglobe.com/governor/az-sens-hoffman-and-peterson-respond-to-gov-hobbs-attempt-to-circumvent-oversight/)

It is a common practice for state and national leaders to temporarily relinquish control when the chief executive undergoes dental or medical procedures. On June 12, 2023, Vice President Kamala Harris assumed Presidential duties while President Biden underwent a root canal. In addition, many states invoke the rule when their Governors travel.

The state of New Jersey witnessed four successive interim governors after Republican Gov. Christine Todd Whitman resigned in January 2001 to become head of George W. Bush’s EPA, with Democratic Sen. president Richard Codey serving nearly a year. Because the Senate was evenly divided, co-Senate president, Republican Donald DiFrancesco then got a turn and then so did Attorney General John Farmer Jr. But perhaps the most memorable stint belonged to State Sen. John O. Bennett. While serving for only three and half days, he managed to sign legislation, appoint judges, grant a pardon to a buddy to clear his record of a bookmaking conviction, and create a “nursing advisory council” for his wife, who was a nurse.

Here at home, according to Article V, Section 6 of the Constitution of Arizona, if the governor is indisposed, first the Secretary of State serves, then the Attorney General, then the Treasurer then the Superintendent of Public Instruction. In this case, Katie Hobbs, Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and Attorney General Kris Mayes have all left the state. It’s creating quite a buzz on X and other social media. While it’s not uncommon for the top exec to step away for short periods, the absence of all three is unusual. Especially with President Biden arriving in Phoenix today. Yee’s temporary appointment will likely run through noon today (PST).

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