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Last vacancy filled in Arizona House of Representatives

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(The Center Square) – The vacancy to replace former Democratic Rep. Leezah Sun will soon be filled.

Dr. Elda Luna-Nájera, who is the president of the Tolleson Union High School District Governing Board, was appointed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Monday.

“I am honored and humbled by this opportunity. Serving as the LD22 House Representative is a responsibility I don’t take lightly,” Luna-Nájera said in a statement. “I am excited to be a voice for my community and look forward to collaborating with my seatmates Democratic Leader Contreras and Senator Diaz to advance our district’s priorities. I thank leadership for their trust and support.”

House Democratic Leader Lupe Contreras emphasized that it’s a perk that the Democratic caucus is now completely filled back in.

“With Dr. Luna-Nájera, our caucus returns to full strength, but more importantly we gain another powerful voice for public education,” he said in a statement. “She also has tremendous experience working with families who are struggling, who experiencing homelessness. Those issues are front and center right now and her expertise will benefit our caucus, her constituents and our entire state.”

As for her predecessor, Sun resigned in January in order to avoid facing a possible censure or expulsion vote. The House Ethics Committee determined that she had behaved poorly for expressing that she wanted to harm a Tolleson city employee, The Center Square previously reported.

Three other Democratic representatives resigned this session – Athena Salman, Jennifer Longdon and Amish Shah – in order to pursue other work opportunities and in Shah’s case, a congressional bid. Their seats were filled by Reps. Jevin Hodge, Sarah Liguori and Charles Lucking, respectively.

Even though Democratic precinct committeemen in LD-22 met to provide three names to the county board, they missed the deadline. As a result, the county appointed a five-person “citizen’s panel” to choose the three names.

“I could not think of a more qualified person to fill this vacancy in LD-22,” Supervisor Steve Gallardo, the sole Democrat on the board, said in a statement.

“Dr. Luna-Nájera is a respected community leader in the West Valley and her experience in the education system will make her a tremendous asset to the Arizona State Legislature. I am excited to see the great things she will do with this opportunity,” he added.

Republicans hold a narrow two seat majority in both chambers but have Gov. Katie Hobbs at the helm deciding the fate of most legislation.

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