Arizona voters to decide if they want another elected official at State Capitol

Proposition 131 would create Lieutenant Governor position.
Prop 131, a November ballot initiative would create a new Lieutenant Governor position in Arizona.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 4:16 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 20, 2022 at 6:08 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - It’s a question Arizona voters will soon have to answer: Do they want another high-ranking elected official at the state capitol?

State Senator J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler) wants Arizonans to say yes. He is the sponsor of Prop 131, a November ballot initiative that would create the new position Lieutenant Governor of Arizona. The Lt. Governor would be of the same party as candidates running for Governor, and they would run on the same ticket.

“We’ve had governors convicted of felonies, passed away, appointed to other positions,” said Sen. Mesnard. “A lot of people don’t realize, even when a Governor leaves the state on a temporary basis, the powers of government fall to the next in line, which is the Secretary of State.”

For Sen. Mesnard and supporters of Prop. 131, that’s the problem. Arizona’s current line of succession is set up in such a way that if the Governor steps down, resigns, or dies, the Secretary of State takes over, even if they are from a different political party. Political consultant Doug Cole with HighGround said there have been four times in the past 40 years when an Arizona Governor has been replaced by a Secretary of State from a different political party.

“It can be very disruptive, like it was in 2009 when you had Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, resign, to be replaced by the Secretary of State, and a very conservative Jan Brewer coming in behind,” said Cole. He said the goal behind having a Lt. Governor is to create more continuity, with Arizona’s top two elected officials having the same philosophy, values and priorities.

The push to create the new position has received support from both Republicans and Democrats at the state legislature. “It’s benefitted both parties,” Cole said.