Chris Deschene hasn’t even finished his first term as a legislator and he’s already eyeing higher office and laying the groundwork for a statewide campaign.
The Window Rock Democrat filed paperwork Nov. 3 creating an exploratory campaign committee, which will allow him to raise money without forfeiting his seat in the House of Representatives. Although the committee doesn’t specify what office he is exploring, a press release indicated he is eyeing Secretary of State.
Right now, Republican Ken Bennett is secretary of state. Bennett, who served eight years in the state Senate, including four as Senate president, replaced Jan Brewer in January after Brewer became governor.
The post’s chief responsibility is managing elections in the state. It also is the immediate successor to the governor.
Deschene, 38, was elected to represent Legislative District 2 in 2008. His district includes Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon and the northeastern corner of the state. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a retired Marine, Deschene is partner of a Boulder, Colo.-based law firm that specializes in energy development for Native American tribes.
“We face challenges like we never have before,” Deschene noted in a media statement. “Those challenges are not going to wait for people to get done with their political fighting. We either get our state moving forward again or we hand off to our kids an Arizona that can’t deliver a quality education and can’t provide job opportunities for people who want to earn an honest living. That is unacceptable.”