On Wednesday, members of the House Republican Caucus of Arizona’s 54th Legislature elected Representative Rusty Bowers of Mesa to be Speaker of the House. Senator Karen Fann of Prescott will be the next Senate President, after a post-election organizational meeting by the Republican Majority.
Rep. Bowers handily defeated challenger Rep. Mark Finchem, who had attempted a run despite being widely viewed as a comical character. Former Speaker of the House JD Mesnard, who was termed out of office and forced to run for a Senate seat, had challenged Fann for the spot despite the fact that his tenure in the House was marked by chaos and distrust among members.
“Being entrusted by my colleagues to serve as Speaker of the House is a responsibility that I don’t take lightly,” said Speaker-elect Bowers. “It’s a privilege that I aim to carry out with honesty, civility, hard work, and enthusiasm. While the state has many challenges to confront over the next couple of years, I’m optimistic about the ability of the House to address them and keep Arizona on the right track.”
Bowers has represented Legislative District 25 in the House since 2015. He previously served in the House from 1993 to 1997 and served in the Arizona Senate from 1997 to 2001, where he was Majority Leader from 1999 to 2001.
Bowers is an educator and artist.
The House Republican Caucus also elected fiscal conservative Representative-elect Warren Petersen of Gilbert to be House Majority Leader and Representative Becky Nutt of Clifton to be House Majority Whip.
Majority Leader-elect Petersen has served Legislative District 12 in the Arizona Senate since 2017 and previously served in the House from 2013-2017. He is the owner of a real estate brokerage firm.
Nutt has served Legislative District 14 in the House since 2017. The election of Nutt came as a surprised to many given the fact that she could not whip op for even the most bills.
Speaker-elect Bowers also announced that Michael Hunter will continue as chief of staff, a role he has served in since 2016.
Fann will be the second woman to preside over the State Senate in Arizona. She has represented Legislative District 1 in the Senate since January 2017, after serving six years in the House of Representatives. She is a small business owner and licensed contractor.
Senators also selected Senator Rick Gray to serve as Majority Leader. Senator Gray was appointed to the Senate earlier this year, to represent Legislative District 21. He served in the House of Representatives from 2013 to 2017. He is a small business owner who lives in Sun City.