State Rep. Jennifer Pawlik Announces Departure From Legislature

May 8, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

State Rep. Jennifer Pawlik (D-LD13) announced on Tuesday that she won’t be seeking re-election. This means the district may experience a fresh slate of leadership come November 2024.

Pawlik stated that she needed to go in a different direction with her political career. Pawlik has also worked as a Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) teacher. 

“It’s time to take my leadership and service in a new direction and to open the door for new candidates to run in this district,” said Pawlik.

District 13 incorporates Chandler, Sun Lakes, and Gilbert. Pawlik was elected to the legislature in 2019, defeating the mother of State Sen. J.D. Mesnard (D-LD13) for the seat. 

That same district recently experienced another, different loss with the expulsion of their other state representative, Liz Harris. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is looking for a replacement for Harris. 

The seat will likely be one of the more competitive ones heading into the 2024 election, a significant turning point for a closely-divided legislature where Republicans hold a bare majority. Pawlik was the first Democrat elected to the district. 

Less than 24 hours after Pawlik’s announcement, former Republican state representative Jeff Weninger filed a statement of interest for reclaiming the seat. Another listed as running for a District 17 seat is Julie Willoughby, another Republican who filed last month and ran last year. 

Pawlik earned 35 percent of the vote (47,166 votes); Harris, 32 percent (43,829); and Willoughby 32 percent as well (43,559). Pawlik ran uncontested in the Democratic primary last year. 

Prior to Pawlik, the district was held by former Republican legislator Joanne Osborne and current Republican State Rep. Tim Dunn (R-LD25). 

During her time in the legislature, Pawlik has only had one bill codified: HB2639 last year, declaring May to be Asian American/Pacific Islander Month.

Pawlik co-sponsored 14 bills that were codified, mainly relating to mental health and racial equity efforts. The co-sponsored bills signed into law were: HB2570 in 2019, establishing a study committee on murdered indigenous women; HB2646 in 2019, allowing Arizona Commerce Authority to review Rural E-Connectivity Pilot Program applicants; HB2672 in 2019, cracking down on “party house” short-term rentals; SB1468 in 2019, requiring the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System Administration to make suicide awareness and prevention training available and requiring educators to include suicide awareness and prevention training; SB1446 in 2020, requiring student ID cards to include contact information for suicide prevention resources, crisis centers, or emotional support services; SB1445 in 2020, requiring instruction on suicide awareness and prevention to be included in school counselor and social worker training programs; HB2098 in 2021, establishing reporting requirements for law enforcement agencies receiving reports of missing, kidnapped, or runaway children; HB2241 in 2021, requiring information about the Holocaust and other genocides to be taught at least twice between grades 7 and 12; HB2705 in 2021, allowing students belonging to a Native American tribe to wear their traditional tribal regalia or objects of cultural significance at a graduation ceremony; HB2787 in 2021, modifying criteria for an agency determination of whether a person’s criminal record disqualifies a person for a license, permit, certificate, or other state recognition; SB1097 in 2021, allowing students absent for experiencing behavioral or mental health issues to have an excused absence; SB1376 in 2021, includes mental health instruction in the health education course of study and competency requirements adopted by the State Board of Education; HB2083 in 2022, requiring the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System to cover the costs of up to 10 annual program hours of diabetes self-management training if prescribed by a primary care physician; and HB2309 in 2022, requiring a police officer to read juveniles their Miranda rights prior to questioning them in temporary custody.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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