It was a bittersweet scene in the Arizona Legislature April 29. The legislative session ended uncharacteristically early – the Legislature hasn’t adjourned sine die in April since 2000 – but it also marked the end of the line for many lawmakers who are seeking other elected office or retiring.
Half of the Senate is departing, as are 24 of the 60 members of the House. A good many are term-limited from office, and the bulk of them are running for a seat in the other chamber. Others are seeking another elected office, while still others are retiring.
Lawmakers took time in the final hour or so of the session to bid a fond farewell to their colleagues. Some, like Sen. Thayer Verschoor, fought back tears as they spoke on the floor for what could be the final time.
“I love each and every one of you,” said the Gilbert Republican, who is running for state treasurer.
Others marveled at the relationships they had built and the ways they had grown while in office. Rep. Bill Konopnicki, a Safford Republican, is facing term limits and will run for the Senate. He recalled his freshman year, when his seatmates were both rural Arizona icons.
“I had Jake Flake and Jack Brown (as seatmates). That’s a rare opportunity to be trained by two masters,” he said.
The possibility remains that the farewells may prove to be premature, as the outcome of a tax increase vote in May and a pair of budget-balancing measures in November could prompt a special session before the next batch of legislators is sworn into office in January.
Ray Barnes, R-Phoenix: term-limited, running for Senate
Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix: running for Senate
Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert: term limited, running for Senate
Tom Boone, R-Peoria: term limited
David Bradley, D-Tucson: term limited
Jack Brown, D-St. Johns: retiring
Olivia Cajero Bedford, D-Tucson: term limited, running for Senate
Rich Crandall, R-Mesa: running for Senate
Chris Deschene, D-Window Rock: running for secretary of state
Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix: running for Senate
Martha Garcia, D-Phoenix: running for Senate
Bill Konopnicki, R-Safford: term limited, running for Senate
Phil Lopes, D-Tucson: term limited
David Lujan, D-Phoenix: running for attorney general
Lucy Mason, R-Prescott: term limited
John McComish, R-Phoenix: running for Senate
Robert Meza, D-Phoenix: term limited, running for Senate
Ben Miranda, D-Phoenix: term limited
Rick Murphy, R-Glendale: running for Senate
Warde Nichols, R-Chandler: term limited
Michele Reagan, R-Scottsdale: term limited, running for Senate
David Schapira, D-Tempe: running for Senate
Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix: running for Senate
Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler: term limited, running for Senate
Carolyn Allen, R-Scottsdale: term limited
Ed Bunch, R-Phoenix: retiring
Bob Burns, R-Peoria: term limited
Meg Burton Cahill, D-Tempe: retiring
Ken Cheuvront, D-Phoenix: term limited, running for justice of the peace
Jorge Luis Garcia, D-Tucson: term limited, running for Corporation Commission
Chuck Gray, R-Mesa: retiring
Albert Hale, D-Window Rock: term limited, running for House
Jack Harper, R-Surprise: term limited, running for House
John Huppenthal, R-Chandler: running for superintendent of public instruction
Barbara Leff, R-Paradise Valley: term limited, running for treasurer
Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix: running for House
Richard Miranda, D-Phoenix: term limited, running for House
Jay Tibshraeny, R-Chandler: term limited, running for Chandler mayor
Thayer Verschoor, R-Gilbert: term limited, running for treasurer