Senator Jamescita Peshlakai resigns from Arizona Senate for federal post


State Senator Jamescita Peshlakai on Wednesday announced her resignation from the State Senate, effective immediately, to make an appointment in the Biden administration.

Window Rock’s fourth-term Democrat is the 13th Arizona lawmaker to step down this year, with most of them leaving since the legislature adjourned its regular session in late June. Two of these resignations were due to the displacement of members of the House to fill vacant positions in the Senate.

Peshlakai shared her resignation letter on Twitter, claiming she was joining the US Department of the Interior.

“I will start working federally in the new year and have more of an impact throughout the western United States.” she wrote to Senate Speaker Karen Fann and Senate Democratic Majority Leader Rebecca Rios.

His departure will trigger another replacement process, with county officials in his sprawling northeastern Arizona district tasked with choosing a new senator. By law, the new senator must be a Democrat, from the same party as Peshlakai.

Peshlakai told the Arizona Republic that in addition to serving a larger population from a federal post, his decision to leave the legislature was also driven by low pay.

“The salary is not enough to take care of a family,” she wrote in a text message. She’s a mother and a grandmother, she wrote, and the salary of $ 24,000 doesn’t go far.

Rural lawmakers like her will benefit from a higher daily wage over the coming year under a law that was designed to provide more funding for the cost of housing and food for lawmakers living in outside of Maricopa County.

Peshlakai said serving as a Native Woman, Veteran, and Descendant of the Diné, Hopi and Chiricahua Apache First Nations, has been “the honor of my life” and is committed to continuing to work for all Arizonans in her new life. job.

Peshlakai served one year in the House of Representatives and has been in the Senate since 2017.

The second half of this year saw an unusual turnover in the Legislative Assembly, which will begin its 2022 session on January 10 with 13 new members, assuming Peshlakai’s replacement is appointed by then.

The departures are due to a myriad of reasons, ranging from new job opportunities to seeking a senior position to death and criminal charges.

Contact the reporter at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @maryjpitzl.

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