Guest Editorial: The Fab Five Return

By: Scottsdale Pinetop

They marched, they ran and they won.

It has been a historic year for women candidates with a record-breaking number of women now holding federal and state offices. But this isn’t something new for Arizona politics. Even with the momentum of the #MeToo and Year of the Woman movement, Arizona has continued its tradition of leading the nation in electing more women.

What makes this election cycle so spectacular is the offices these women now hold. Not since the “Fab Five” have women held so many influential positions at the same time in the state.

In 1998, Arizona elected women to serve in the state’s five highest government positions – the first state to do so. Known as the “Fab Five” these leaders included Governor Jane Dee Hull, Attorney General Janet Napolitano, Secretary of State Betsey Bayless, Superintendent of Public Education Lisa Graham-Keegan and State Treasurer Carol Springer. Since then, four women have served as the state’s governor representing both political parties.

But nearly 20 years later, 2018 is welcoming a new generation of powerful female leaders. And these women are all impressive in their own right.

The most notable victory, making national news headlines, is Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. Sinema’s win is particularity historic for Arizona. Not only is she the first female senator in the state’s 106-year-old history, she is also the first bisexual person ever elected to the Senate, an issue that was never highlighted during the campaign cycle. How far we have come. How refreshingly important this was.

On the state level, Democrat Katie Hobbs will hold Arizona’s second-highest office as Secretary of State. Republican Kimberly Yee will be the next state treasurer, the first women treasurer since Carol Springer in the original Fab Five. The next Superintendent of Public Instruction will be held by Democrat Kathy Hoffman. And finally, Democrat Sandra Kennedy has reclaimed her seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission after a previous defeat.

But the election cycle is not quite over for some candidates. Democrat Kate Gallego still faces a March runoff election against her former city council colleague David Valenzuela.  If elected, Gallego would become the second woman mayor of Phoenix. The last elected female mayor was Margaret T. Hance who served from 1976-1983. She will also become the only female mayor leading one of the nation’s largest cities. If her track record wasn’t impressive enough, her commitment to the public’s best interest and clear vision for the future is. She’s done the work, she’s put in the time and she’s ready to lead Phoenix.

The state has a history of shattering stereotypes about women in politics, despite its conservative tendencies.  And with the recent results of the 2018 midterm elections, the best is yet to come.