Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona, Eschews Re-electionBy: Brian Powell - March 12, 2014
In 2008, Janet Napolitano was asked by President Barack Obama if she would be willing to become his Secretary of Homeland Security. Upon accepting his invitation, Jan Brewer, then Secretary of State in Arizona, ascended to governor due to succession rules outlined in Arizona’s state constitution. Since that time, Brewer has been one of the most prominent governors in the United States and a leading member of the Republican party.
In an announcement made at her children’s elementary school, however, Jan Brewer has announced that she will not seek re-election following the end of her current term.
Much speculation has surrounded the fact as to whether or not Brewer would attempt to run for governor once again due to the unique way in which she came into the office. Article 5, Section 1 of the Arizona State Constitution reads that “No member of the executive department after serving the maximum number of terms, which shall include any part of a term served, may serve in the same office until out of office for no less than one full term.”
The term many have advised Brewer to contest is the word “term”, which many believe to be ambiguously defined. Joseph Kanefield, former general counsel to Brewer, believed that the state constitution “intended to apply only to an elected or appointed partial term rather than one in which a governor inherits the office by constitutional succession.”
In November of 2012, Brewer had yet to decide whether or not she was going to seek re-election, stating, “I haven’t ruled it out, and I’ve been encouraged by people — legal scholars and other people — that it’s probably something that I ought to pursue.”
In her speech given at the elementary school where she first started her political career, however, Brewer’s tone had changed: “There does come a time to pass the torch of leadership. And after completing this term in office, I will be doing just that.”
Brewer’s goal when she first left the school board of directors and sought election to Arizona’s state House of Representatives was to simply reform education standards in her home state. Upon her ascension to Governorship, though, Brewer became the spotlight for many controversial bills.
The first bit of controversy came when Arizona passed the most stringent law on illegal immigration the country had ever seen, with provisions requiring immigrants to carry their immigration papers on them at all times and allowing police to detain anyone they suspected of being in the country illegally. The Supreme Court would later strike down most of the provisions in the law but would continue to allow police officers to question and detain anyone they suspected of being in the US illegally.
The second biggest controversy to come from Arizona under Brewer’s reign happened recently when the state legislatures voted to pass legislation that would allow businesses to refuse service to homosexuals due to religious reasons. In a move which stunned many Republican politicians, Brewer decided to veto the bill on the grounds that non-discrimination and religious liberty are core values of the United States and the state of Arizona.
With Brewer deciding to not challenge the state constitution to run for governor once again, the gubernatorial race is now open for the first time since Napolitano took office back in 2002. Currently, there are eight Republicans and one Democrat waiting to take Brewer’s place next year.
Image via Twitter