Arizona House Democrats elected a new leadership team to take the reins for the 53rd Legislature. Rep. Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix (District 27), will serve as the House Democratic leader. Rep. Randy Friese, D-Tucson (District 9), will be the House assistant Democratic leader and Rep. Charlene Fernandez, D-Yuma (District 4), will join the team as the House Democratic whip.
Rios, a social worker, represented a rural Pinal County District in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1995-2000, and in the Arizona State Senate from 2005-2010. She also held the leadership positions of Senate Democratic whip and assistant Democratic Leader.
|New House Democratic Leadership Team|
The voters of Legislative District 9 first elected Friese to the House in 2014. Since 2008, he has been a trauma surgeon and professor of surgery at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. He was one of the trauma surgeons who cared for the victims of the January 8, 2011 shooting in Tucson that wounded Congresswoman Giffords.
"This team and caucus are ready to work across the aisle to find solutions that work for all Arizonans. Moving the state forward will take bipartisan leadership and a commitment to communication and inclusiveness," Friese said.
Fernandez also came to the House of Representatives in 2014. She is a former educator who wanted to make a difference outside of the classroom by being elected to the Yuma Union High School District Governing Board. There she served as president and vice president. She remains an outspoken advocate for students, teachers and parents.
"The future of our state depends on the quality of our education system. Finding resources for students, teachers and classroom infrastructure remains a top priority for us. We will work together to make sure our kids are prepared for success," Fernandez said.
The next Legislative Session officially begins on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. For more information about the leadership team, click here. To see a video message, click here.