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Kimberly Yee breaks barriers as Arizona’s new Treasurer

Sen. Kimberly Yee (Capitol Media Services 2016 file photo by Howard Fischer)

Sen. Kimberly Yee (Capitol Media Services 2016 file photo by Howard Fischer)

Sen. Kimberly Yee, who once served as spokeswoman for the state Treasurer’s Office, will soon be its leader.

Yee, a Republican and the Senate Majority Leader, easily fended off a challenge from Democrat Mark Manoil to win the opportunity to manage the state’s $15 billion in assets.

In her victory speech, Yee emphasized her political history of breaking barriers.

When she was first elected to the Arizona Legislature, she became the first Asian-American woman to serve in Arizona’s state house. She also touted being the second woman to serve as Arizona’s Senate majority leader — second only to Sandra Day O’Connor. She was the first Asian-American state Senate majority leader.

“Today, with your help, I’ve become the first Chinese-American Republican woman to hold a major statewide office in the entire country,” Yee said at the Arizona GOP Election watch party.

Republicans have held the office for 50 years, making Yee favored to win the treasurer’s race. Manoil is the first Democrat to seek the treasurer’s office since Gov. Doug Ducey defeated Democrat Andrei Cherny in 2010.

A rising star in the GOP, Yee is the state’s first Asian-American woman to serve in the state Legislature. She has served in both houses since first taking office in 2011. Before that, she served as former Treasurer Dean Martin’s communications director.

Yee promised to keep fiscal conservatism alive and well in the Treasurer’s Office.

“We will make sure that we keep Arizona’s economy going strong as it has under leadership from Gov. Doug Ducey,” she told the GOP crowd at the Scottsdale hotel and resort.

Yee will replace Eileen Klein, who was appointed to the position earlier this year. Klein, who declined to run for a full term, replaced Jeff DeWit, a former Trump campaign leader who was appointed to be NASA’s chief financial officer.

As state Treasurer, Yee will earn an annual salary of $70,000.


Arizona Treasurer’s race by the numbers

Early votes

Kimberly Yee 55 percent

Mark Manoil 45 percent

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