Gov. Doug Ducey’s Chief of Staff Kirk Adams announced his resignation Monday.
Adams, who started at the beginning of Ducey’s first term, served through Ducey’s first term, announced on Twitter that he will return to theprivate sector, although he did not specify his plans.
“I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to serve as Governor Ducey’s chief of staff,” Adams said in a statement “The decision to leave this role is not one I made lightly — I’ve often said I have the best job in the country, and that is attributed to the governor’s leadership and the exceptional team we built over the last four years.”
When I was elected Governor in 2014 — there was a clear choice to lead the transition team, and later to serve as my chief of staff. 1/4 https://t.co/Sf1s7R2HrH
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) November 26, 2018
Adams told the Arizona Capitol Times that he will take a few weeks to spend time with friends and family — including taking his family on a trip to New Zealand next month — before deciding on his next steps. He also joked on Twitter that he might finally be able to fit in a few rounds of golf.
In Adams’ resignation letter dated Nov. 12 — less than a week after Ducey was re-elected for a second, four-year term — the governor’s right-hand man said he left it all on the field over the past four years.
Adams said there was no specific event that made him realize it was time to move on.
“I have only a gut feeling that now is time,” he wrote.
Adams also said in his resignation letter that he has no specific plans for what comes next in his professional life.
In an interview with the Capitol Times last year, Adams said his biggest worry about leaving the Governor’s Office was that his next job may not be as fulfilling and exciting as serving as Ducey’s chief of staff.
“I’ve enjoyed the complexity of a role like this,” he said in the interview. At the time, he was the second longest currently serving gubernatorial chief of staff in the country.
Ducey expressed his gratitude for Adams on Twitter, saying he was a remarkable chief of staff. Adams, who will nearly finish out Ducey’s first term as governor, has already served for longer than many gubernatorial chiefs of staff, which on average, serve about three years.
The chief of staff job is a high-stress position that comes with long hours. It is very unusual for a gubernatorial chief of staff to serve through a governor’s multiple terms because of the taxing nature of the job.
Ducey praised Adams for developing Proposition 123, which settled a long-standing lawsuit over education funding. He also praised his right-hand man for championing his teacher pay raise plan and the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act earlier this year.
“Kirk’s long list of accomplishments prior to joining our team has grown exponentially over the last four years thanks to his unrivaled talent, policy depth, remarkable leadership and ability to build consensus among Arizona stakeholders,” Ducey said in a statement. “I am grateful to Kirk for his service and for his work to build an exceptionally talented team that will help continue Arizona’s success as a national leader for opportunity, jobs and economic growth.”
Some personal news: After 4 yrs as chief of staff for @dougducey, the time has come for me to depart from this role.
— KirkAdams (@KirkAdams) November 26, 2018
Adams’ name was tossed around frequently as someone Ducey might appoint to fill the U.S.. Senate seat held by John McCain before the senator passed. With U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl’s plans unclear — he may step down before the end of the year — Adams has once again been rumored to be on the shortlist to fill the Senate seat.
Ducey press spokesman Daniel Scarpinato will take over as chief of staff, the Governor’s Office announced later in the day Monday.
Prior to serving as Ducey’s go-to guy, Adams served in the Arizona House of Representatives and was Speaker of the House for a two-year stint that ended in 2011. An Arizona native, he also mounted an unsuccessful congressional campaign in Arizona’s 5th District.
Before he became Ducey’s chief of staff, Adams served as a co-chair on the governor’s transition team.
Adams is also well known in the Capitol community as the creator of the end-of-session Twitter tradition #startyourownrumor. Adams spurred the tradition in 2011 when as Speaker of the House, he tweeted out numerous fake rumors as the Capitol community was abuzz with rumors that Adams was going to run for Congress.
But the tweetstorm has grown over the years into self-deprecating comic relief for Arizona political nerds and a sign that the Legislature is close to adjourning sine die. Every year on the day of sine die, Adams kicks off the fun by starting his own rumor on Twitter and then others join in using the #startyourownrumor tag.
It is unclear if Adams will still lead the sine die rumor mill after his departure or if that task will carry over to his predecessor.
Adams’ last day will be Dec. 14.
Read Adams’ resignation letter below.