With early voting already underway and Election Day on November 8 just around the corner, here’s what the gubernatorial candidates have planned for college-age students and those pursuing higher education.
Katie Hobbs, the Democratic nominee, has pledged to steer the conversation back to education about creating sustainable, good-paying jobs. Of Arizona’s more than 7 million residents, 32.4% of the state has a bachelor’s degree or higher. Hobbs wants to expand post-secondary education opportunities for students.
Hobbs’ top priority would be to fill critical shortage areas such as nursing and qualified homeroom teachers. Hobbs would also create a task force to coordinate efforts to work with business and workforce leaders to assess their needs now and five to 10 years from now.
“College students have to vote for Katie Hobbs because she actually represents our views,” said Abigail Axelson, a freshman business law major.
The Democratic candidate is pushing for expanding education to areas with growing job opportunities.
The state constitution stipulates that tuition fees for state universities should be as free as possible. Hobbs plans to work toward unified funding for state residents that would lower tuition and make post-secondary education more accessible to low-income students.
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As a Legislative Member, one of Hobbs’ top priorities was expanding education funding across the board.
Republican nominee Kari Lake put more of an emphasis on technical education after high school. Lake has spoken about how tech education offers stability and the potential for higher wages without “the crushing debt” of colleges and universities.
“I think it’s extremely important that Lake be our next governor…our state legislature has been on fire lately,” said Ryne Bolick, a junior engineering major and board member for College Republicans at ASU.
Technical education refers to students who attend trade school and take CTE courses to work in trades such as construction, auto repair, plumbing, and welding.
Lake’s plan to encourage students to pursue a technical education would begin after a student completes 10th grade. Lake’s unconventional views on education boil down to a plan she described as a way for the state to address improving educational outcomes and opportunities.
Lake has also addressed support for more homeschooled students. Their platform promises to continue requiring Arizona universities to look at homeschool transcripts than equal traditional transcripts.
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“Life under a Republican governor is a life for college students to enjoy,” Bolick said. “Students must continue to enjoy these economic opportunities and prosperity.”
While Arizona candidates have very different approaches to education, both plan to work with business and industry leaders to put young people on the path to stable jobs.
Riley Blocker, a freshman studying pop music, said it’s important that students engage with the governor’s race because it will have an impact on them.
“It’s important to vote so we don’t have people running the state trying to undo all the hard work that has been done to make this place fair and safe for everyone,” Blocker said.
Reagan Priest, David Rodish, and Luke Chatham.
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