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Schapira is elected minority leader

David Schapira

David Schapira

The Senate minority caucus, which is poised to see numbers shrink to nine members next year, has elected Rep. David Schapira, a Tempe Democrat, as leader.

Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor of Phoenix was chosen as assistant minority leader.

Meanwhile, Sen. Paula Aboud of Tucson was elected whip.

The challenge for the minority is to avoid becoming irrelevant now that Republicans hold a supermajority control of the 30-person chamber.

Democrats were mostly relegated to the sidelines during the crafting of budgets in the last two years.

The current partisan split is 18-12, but their former leader, the late Sen. Jorge Garcia of Tucson, once said the ratio that best worked for the minority is 17-13.

Schapira said their strategy would be to reach out to the opposite party.

The majority and minority obviously have differences, but they have the same interest, which is to move Arizona forward, he said.

“The key is communication,” said Schapira, adding he has a good relationship with colleagues from the opposite aisle.

Schapira joins the Senate this January after defeating Republican Wendy Rogers on Nov. 2.

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