Sen. Jack Harper, a Republican from Surprise, has been appointed chairman of the Senate Finance Committee on Feb. 4.
Jim Waring, a Phoenix Republican, left the chairmanship post vacant when he resigned from the Senate last month.
“I know, having served eight years on the Appropriations, I’m one of the most versed legislators on the budget,” Harper said. “I am dedicated to bringing back our manufacturing base in the state of Arizona.”
Senate President Bob Burns announced Feb. 4 that Harper would step down from as chairman of the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs committee in order to focus his attention on the Finance panel.
Burns appointed Sen. Al Melvin, a Republican from Tucson, to chair the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. Melvin is a freshman lawmaker.
“As you all know, Senator Melvin has an extensive military background and will provide excellent leadership for this committee,” Burns stated in a media release.
It’s rare for first-term lawmakers to chair a committee. This year is not typical, however, as three veteran lawmakers have resigned to run for Congress, and a fourth is expected to resign.
Melvin’s appointment isn’t the first time that Burns elevated a freshman lawmaker to a leadership position. Last year, Burns picked Sen. Steve Pierce, a first-term lawmaker from Prescott, to become Senate president pro tempore. Pierce is now the Senate’s majority whip.