The 'Great Resignation': Who has given up seats in the Arizona Legislature in 2021?
The effects of 2021's "Great Resignation" may have reached the halls of the Arizona Legislature, with 13 lawmakers departing this year.
So far in 2021, one lawmaker has died and 12 voluntarily quit the positions to which they were originally elected to serve.
The Great Resignation, a phrase originating with Texas A&M University professor Anthony Klotz, has been used to characterize the trend of millions of employees leaving their current positions.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics announced in early December that 4.2 million Americans resigned from their workplace in October, down from an all-time high of 4.4 million in September. The life-altering changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic have spurred many to take stock of what is important in their lives.
Members of Arizona's legislative body seem to have been affected by this phenomenon as well, with some lawmakers leaving to pursue other careers and others departing long-held positions to pursue a higher office.
Below is a list of Arizona legislators who have left this year.
Departures from the Legislature
3. Diego Rodriguez (27D) announced his resignation on Nov. 12 to focus on his run for state attorney general.
5. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton (10D) of Tucson resigned her seat after being appointed in late October to fill Kirsten Engel's Senate seat.
6. Frank Pratt (8R) of Casa Grande died Sept. 21, in the middle of his second term, of a long-term condition.
7. Aaron Lieberman (28D) of Paradise Valley announced his resignation Sept. 20 to run for governor.
8. Raquel Terán (30D) resigned her post in mid-September to fill Tony Navarrete's Senate seat.
9. Bret Roberts (11R) of Maricopa declared Sept. 8 he was leaving the Legislature because he is relocating to a different state.
10. Arlando Teller (7D) of Chinle announced on Feb. 1 he had resigned for a position in President Joe Biden's administration. Teller was named deputy assistant secretary for tribal affairs in the U.S. Department of Transportation.
11. Jamescita Peshlakai (7D) announced her resignation Dec. 22, effective immediately, to take an appointment in the Biden administration.
12. Kirsten Engel (10D) resigned Sept. 8 to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. The current officeholder, fellow Tucsonan Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, is retiring.
13. Tony Navarrete (30D) of Phoenix resigned Aug. 10 after being indicted on child sex crime charges.
Replacements selected for the Legislature
By law, the corresponding county Board of Supervisors must appoint a representative of the same party to serve as a replacement for the elected official who is exiting.
The replacement will fill out the remainder of the vacating member's 24-month term. One person is chosen from a menu of three candidates, offered up by the top members of the parting candidate's party. The new representatives are listed below.
1. Yuma County appointed Brian Fernandez, her son, as Charlene Fernandez's replacement. Fernandez (D-Yuma) was named Nov. 22.
2. Pima County appointed attorney Christopher Mathis of Tucson to Friese's seat on Dec. 7.
3. Maricopa County appointed activist and playwright Marcelino Quiñonez to Rodriguez's seat on Dec. 15.
4. Lupe Diaz, a conservative pastor and Benson City Council member, was appointed to succeed Nutt by the Cochise County Board of Supervisors. Diaz (R-Benson) was named Nov. 19.
5. Pima County appointed real estate investor Morgan Abraham to Stahl Hamilton's seat on Dec. 7.
6. Lawyer and software instructor Neal Carter (R-San Tan Valley) is so avidly against mask mandates that he traversed 1,500 miles by car from Illinois to Arizona to avoid wearing a protective face covering on a plane. He was appointed Oct. 27. Carter unsuccessfully ran for Pratt's spot in the 2020 Republican primary.
7. Lieberman's successor is Sarah Liguori, D-Phoenix, a commercial real estate manager at a private firm. This is Liguori's first appointment to an elected position. She was named by the Maricopa County supervisors.
8. An architect by training, Christian Solorio succeeds Terán in the Arizona Legislature. Appointed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 27, Solorio (D-Phoenix) is on the governing board of the Alhambra Elementary School District.
9. The Pinal County Board of Supervisors chose Teresa Martinez (R-Casa Grande) on Oct. 27 to assume Roberts' position. She is the director of coalitions and Hispanic outreach for U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.
10. Jasmine Blackwater-Nygren (D-Red Mesa) was appointed by the Apache County Board of Supervisors in early February to replace Teller. She is a lawyer and a member of the Navajo Nation.
11. Theresa Hatathlie, a resident of Coalmine who works as logistics coordinator for Yee Ha’ólníi Doo Navajo and Hopi Families Covid-19 Relief Fund, was appointed to the Senate to fill Jamescita Peshlakai's District 7 seat.
12. Rep. Stephanie Stahl Hamilton (D-Tucson) has been appointed to the Senate to fill Engel's seat.
13. Rep. Raquel Terán (D-Phoenix) has been appointed to the Senate as a replacement for Navarrete.
Tara Kavaler covers politics. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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