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Ousted agency head considers run for governor

In this Oct. 22, 2015, photo, former Department of Economic Security director Tim Jeffries stands outside his former office, adorned with a "Director J :)" sign. (Photo by Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times)

In this Oct. 22, 2015, photo, former Department of Economic Security director Tim Jeffries stands outside his former office, adorned with a “Director J :)” sign. (Photo by Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times)

Tim Jeffries, the former director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security who Gov. Doug Ducey ousted roughly a year ago, is now considering a run for governor.

Jeffries was forced to resign from DES in November 2016 amid reports that he had fired hundreds of state workers and used a state plane to fly to Nogales to celebrate with employees who gave up their job protections.

Now the ousted agency head said he’s compelled to consider a possible gubernatorial bid thanks to a groundswell of support from his former DES employees.

“I have no desire to get into politics. Zero. I’d be A-OK if I was still the director of DES,” Jeffries told the Arizona Capitol Times. “I think the governor made a huge mistake in moving me out, and there’s thousands of DES colleagues who feel the same way. Many DES colleagues have asked me to run for governor so I can fix DES all over again.”

Jeffries said he would decide by Thanksgiving whether to jump in the race.

He would be running against his former boss in Ducey, who Jeffries supported during Ducey’s campaign in 2014.

Jeffries, a Republican, has since soured on the governor, who Jeffries said hasn’t lived up to campaign promises to reform and overhaul state government.

“I left the private sector to serve what I thought was a public servant, not a politician. I left the private sector to make real this notion, this belief, that government can run at the speed of business,” Jeffries said. “The governor shook my hand and said he would take the fights that would surely come as I sought to transform an agency that he said was irreparable. Now he took a scuffle or two, but he didn’t take the big fights in the end.”

Meanwhile, Jeffries is also considering suing the state for libel over a report that found DES amassed an excessive and poorly secured stockpile of ammunition during his tenure.

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