David Lujan|| Photo by Gage Skidmore
By Stacey Barchenger || The Arizona Republic
Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs is making a second run to put an ally in charge of the state’s child welfare agency, appointing a child advocate and former Democratic lawmaker for the job after abandoning her prior pick.
Hobbs on Monday named David Lujan to lead the state Department of Child Safety. Lujan served in the Legislature a decade ago, and now leads the Children’s Action Alliance, a group that advocates for services and policies that benefit Arizona children, like expanding access to childcare and health insurance programs.
While the group is nonpartisan, its affiliated Center for Economic Progress has often aligned with Democratic priorities at the Capitol, like raising taxes to fund public education or opposing the state’s universal private school voucher program.
“David has led a career of defending and building up communities here in Arizona so that families can have happy and successful lives,” Hobbs said in a statement. “His ability to lead and history on raising awareness in areas that need critical attention, like our teacher shortage, makes me confident that he will head the Department of Child Safety in a positive direction.”
While Lujan’s policy advocacy leaves him in lockstep with Hobbs’ ideologies, his record provides plenty of ammunition for Republican lawmakers who have to confirm his appointment and might seek to pick it apart.
Lujan fiercely advocated for Proposition 208, the tax on higher income earners to fund public education that was later invalidated by Arizona courts, and helped organize the effort in opposition to former Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s flat tax, which he called a “tax give-away to the rich” while lower income earners saw much smaller cuts to their tax bills.