north of 75th Avenue and Thunderbird
"Gov. Janet Napolitano's appointment to the incoming Obama administration would put a Republican at the state's helm, potentially leading to harsher budget cuts and a U-turn on state policy governing everything from gun restrictions to abortion.
One thing is certain: It would dramatically alter the Arizona political landscape.
Napolitano's departure, which could come in weeks, would place Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer, 64, in control of the Governor's Office. It would be the first time since 2002 that the GOP has controlled both the executive and legislative branches of state government, giving the party its best opportunity in years to enact a conservative agenda.
More blunt was state Sen. Ken Cheuvront, a Phoenix Democrat: "It's going to be a travesty. We will have no one to stop the extremist legislation that inevitably will be put forward by the Republican majority."
Office remains mum
Speculation on Napolitano's departure ran wild at the Capitol on Thursday, although her office was again mum. The governor didn't appear for an afternoon closed-door meeting with Cabinet members, according to multiple sources. Brewer hasn't been notified of anything by Napolitano or her staff and issued a statement declining to comment until she knows more.
She would serve the remaining two years of Napolitano's term, inheriting a state with a budget more than $1 billion out of balance, a flagging economy and a host of tough choices in terms of spending cuts.
The change in leadership could be most dramatic in how the state handles that shortfall."
"Secretary of State Jan Brewer, a Republican, will become governor if Janet Napolitano leaves the position to become secretary of Homeland Security. Brewer has been active in state and county government for 26 years, serving as a member of the state House, the Senate and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Here is a brief look at her life, career and accomplishments.
Moved to Arizona: 1970.
Family: Married to Dr. John Brewer Mother of three sons, one of whom died in 2007 after a lengthy illness.
Education: Radiological technologist certification.
Church: A member of Life in Christ Lutheran Church in Peoria.
Former occupation: Small-business owner.
Community and professional activities: A charter member of Luke Fighter Country Partnership, dedicated to preserving the missions of Luke Air Force Base. A board member of Hope and a Future, Child Help USA and Arizonans for Children and a member of the Arrowhead Republican Women's Club, the Arizona Rifle and Pistol Association and the Japanese-American Citizens League.
1982: Elected to the state House of Representatives.
1986: Elected to the state Senate.
1993: Chosen majority whip of the Senate.
1996: Elected to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, eventually serving as chairwoman.
2002: Elected Arizona Secretary of State; re-elected in 2006.
1988: Offered an emotional defense of Republican Gov. Evan Mecham when the state Senate voted to impeach him and remove him from office. She described his actions as "shockingly self-centered and far beneath the standards the people of Arizona have a right to expect," but said the governor's error was not enough to convict him. "The charge is not arrogance, incompetence or insensitivity, all of which I believe this governor is guilty of. It is obstruction of justice," she said.
1990: Sponsored legislation to require labeling of record albums with "offensive" lyrics so that no one under 18 could purchase them. She cited the state's responsibility in safeguarding the health and welfare of its youths as the constitutional justification in passing such a bill. Although the bill did not become law, the recording industry introduced a uniform warning label for albums with explicit lyrics and expressed hope that an improved voluntary system would halt campaigns in states such as Arizona for mandatory labeling. "We accomplished what we wanted to," Brewer said.
1994: Fought successfully to put a measure on the November ballot that would create the position of lieutenant governor, who, rather than the secretary of state, would be first in line to become governor. Voters defeated the measure.
2003: As secretary of state, took the lead in federal election reform by compiling the Help America Vote Act State Plan, leading to voting reforms that included touch-screen voting devices for voters with disabilities and a centralized and uniform voter-registration system.
2007: Also as secretary of state, spearheaded legislation to move the state's primary election a week earlier to give elections officials more time to deal with ballot challenges and to get the general-election ballot printed in time.
Qualifications to be governor
When Brewer ran for secretary of state in 2002, The Arizona Republic asked her about her qualifications to serve as governor should the office become vacant. While saying she had no aspirations to hold the position, she cited her experience owning and operating several businesses, as well as her long service in the Legislature. Perhaps most notably, she pointed to her work on the Board of Supervisors in helping Maricopa County revive its fortunes.
"Maricopa County had been designated the worst-run county in the country. . . . When I was elected chairman, I put out an edict that instituted a new way to do business. We implemented pay-as-you-go, reduced our long-term debt, got our bond rating back and didn't demoralize our employees."
She noted that in December 2001, before she resigned to run for secretary of state, the county was honored by Governing magazine as the "best-run county in the country."
If Brewer takes over as governor, her most formidable task would be to deal with the state's billion-dollar-plus budget deficits for this year and 2009-2010. The 2009 legislative session begins Jan. 12, and Napolitano traditionally has unveiled her budget plan during the first or second week of the session. But even before that, Brewer and lawmakers may have to take the initial steps in dealing with this year's shortfall."