The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors today appointed ex-legislator Rick Gray to replace former state Sen. Debbie Lesko in Legislative District 21.
Lesko had resigned at the end of the opening day of the 2018 legislative session to run for Congressional District 8.
Gray, who will be sworn in on Jan. 19, edged out Rep. Tony Rivero and former Rep. Jean McGrath, whom LD21 precinct committeemen also nominated last week to replace Lesko.
Supervisor Clint Hickman, whose district includes LD21, said it was a tough decision to choose from among the three people who had already served the West Valley, but Gray, who was in the House from 2011 to 2016, is knowledgeable and will continue to work hard for his constituents.
After the appointment, Gray told the board that the title of “senator” is not particularly important to him.
“The idea of a title of senator is about as appealing to me as if somebody says, ‘I’m gonna take you out for dinner and we’re going to have a great bowl of kale.’ But the opportunity to serve, to me, is what’s important,” he said.
He added that the appointment is both humbling and exciting.
Gray, who had first filed to run for election in the House, said he expects Lesko to win her congressional race, which means he’ll run for the Senate. However, he added that it’s still too early to say if he would close his House campaign.
“The first thing on my mind is prepping myself for all the legislation that is going to be coming through,” he said. “When you’re in the Legislature, you’re inundated with stuff.”