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Hobbs withdraws nomination of former progressive lawmaker

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(The Center Square) – Gov. Katie Hobbs has officially withdrawn her -nomination of former Sen. Martín Quezada, D-Maryvale, to a cabinet position.

State Senate President Warren Petersen received a letter from Hobbs on June 12 stating that Quezada would be removed, effective immediately. The letter was sent after the Senate Committee on Director Nominations voted 3-2 along party lines not to approve his position as Director of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.

“Mr. Quezada has a history at the Arizona Legislature of spreading antisemitism, which prompted the Israel Heritage Foundation to send Katie Hobbs a letter calling for his termination as ROC Director,” committee chairman Jake Hoffman, R-Queen Creek, said. “What’s equally disturbing are his continual, on-the-record comments made while serving as a legislator regarding hiring and firing practices. According to Mr. Quezada, qualifications for a job are determined by skin color, gender, religion and political affiliation.”

The ROC is responsible for the licensing and regulation of all contractors within the state of Arizona. Opponents cited concerns over whether he would fairly distribute licensing based on a cited history of antisemitism and strong disfavor toward Republicans.

Quezada argued he would be bipartisan in his work.

“We have made it a value statement in this agency that peoples’ partisan preference outside of our office is completely irrelevant to our licensing decisions,” Quezada told the committee. “If there are strong conservative Republicans who I disagree with on almost anything and everything, they’re still going to get licensed by us if they meet the qualifications by statute, and they’re still going to be treated fairly in the investigation process because they are our constituency.”

Hoffman claimed the committee has led to the success of other director nominations, such as Susan Nicolson for the Department of Real Estate and Ryan Thornell for the Department of Corrections.

“Mr. Quezada’s nomination is a prime example of why the Senate Committee on Director Nominations is crucial to ensuring only the most highly qualified candidates will serve as leaders of our critically important state agencies, which impact the safety, health and livelihoods of all Arizona citizens,” Hoffman said.

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