This 31-year-old had had enough. So she ran. And won.

In Education, States, Voting On

What finally did it for Kathy Hoffman was watching the confirmation hearing of Betsy DeVos nearly two years ago.

Hoffman, then a 31-year-old speech therapist in a suburban Phoenix public school district, could not contain her dismay as she saw President Trump’s nominee for education secretary stumble over basic policy questions and suggest that guns should be allowed in schools at which a grizzly bear might appear.

“It was very clear from many of her statements she had never spent any time in a school,” Hoffman recalls.

So she turned to her husband, Justin, and said, “You’re going to think I’m crazy . . .”

Thus began one of the most unlikely stories of an election season that has seen more than its share of them.

A few weeks later, Hoffman announced her candidacy to become Arizona’s superintendent of public instruction. Over the next 21 months, she drove so many miles across this vast state that she wore out her 2004 Prius and had to buy a new one.

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