A former California congressman and a school speech therapist are competing to become the next superintendent of public instruction for the state of Arizona.

The elected position is in charge of carrying out state education policy at a time when many believe the education system is experiencing an upswing.

"I think we're heading in the right direction and I want to keep advocating for that and make sure that we continue on this path," said Kathy Hoffman, the speech therapist, who is running as a Democrat.

"We want to recruit and retain the best teachers, the best educators for Arizona's students," said Frank Riggs, the former congressman, who is running as a Republican.

Both Riggs and Hoffman agree that tackling the state's teacher shortage is the first priority for the next superintendent. The shortage is currently estimated at around 1500 open teaching positions.

They also agree that Arizona schools need more money. How they plan to get additional resources from a penny-pinching legislature is another story.

"A big part of the office of the superintendent of public instruction is the bully pulpit," said Riggs, who touts his experience on Capitol Hill as evidence that he can work with lawmakers.

"I know how to forge consensus and compromise and count votes," said Riggs.

Hoffman says she believes the Legislature needs to hear from an actual educator.

"I need to build good relationships and good rapport with the legislators. I will be actively down there meeting with them. I will also be that voice to the public," said Hoffman.

You can learn more about Frank Riggs here.

You can learn more about Kathy Hoffman here.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



CBS 5 Investigative Reporter

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