After Lawmaker Calls Out Maricopa County Supervisors, Two Vacancies Filled In Legislature

May 9, 2023

By Daniel Stefanski |

After a state senator aired his frustrations with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, two legislative vacancies have been filled.

On Friday and Monday, respectively, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors filled a vacant seat in the Arizona House of Representatives for Legislative District 13 and a vacant seat in the Senate for Legislative District 26.

Julie Willoughby was appointed for Legislative District 13. The newest House Republican fell short of victory in the 2022 election but found her way into the chamber in 2023 thanks to the expulsion of former Representative Liz Harris.

In announcing the selection of Willoughby, Maricopa Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Jack Sellers issued the following statement: “I would like to thank the PC’s from District 13 for selecting three qualified candidates for our consideration. I interviewed all of them about important issues such as Prop 400, homelessness, water, and elections. We take this duty seriously and follow a process that includes background checks and interviews so residents can be confident in the person chosen to fill the vacant seat.”

House Speaker Ben Toma told AZ Free News, “We’re proud to welcome Representative Willoughby to the House and to be a part of our majority Republican Caucus. There is still a lot of important work for us to accomplish this session for the people of Arizona and we can’t wait to get it done.”

Representative Flavio Bravo was appointed for Legislative District 26, opening up another vacancy to be filled in the state house. Bravo was selected after the resignation of former Senator Raquel Terán.

Bravo’s appointment was also heralded by another Maricopa County Supervisor, Steve Gallardo, who stated: “I would like to thank the PC’s from District 26 for selecting three qualified candidates for our consideration. It was a difficult decision because I respect all three of these community leaders. Flavio Bravo knows this district well and will represent it vigorously in the Senate.”

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors’ appointments came after Arizona Senator J.D. Mesnard took to the floor of his chamber to address the Board’s ongoing consideration of two legislative vacancies.

Senator Mesnard’s frustrations boiled over on the Senate floor as he laid out his charge against the Supervisors’ alleged delay in filling the two vacancies for 19 (Senate) and 20 (House) days. He informed his colleagues “the length of these vacancies is the longest, while we’ve been in session, in a half a century – 56 years!” Mesnard also said that 8.76 days is the historical average to fill the vacancy.

The East Valley lawmaker indicated that due to this historic delay, changes in statute could be on the horizon to ensure a more expedient selection by a county board of supervisors during an ongoing legislative session.

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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