Replacement Ariz. legislator in midst of eligibility challenge previously cited Gilbert residence - East Valley Tribune: Politics

Replacement Ariz. legislator in midst of eligibility challenge previously cited Gilbert residence

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Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013 8:32 am | Updated: 8:39 am, Sat Aug 10, 2013.

A newly appointed state senator whose eligibility to fill a vacancy is being challenged by another legislator told the Legislature earlier this year that he lived in a Phoenix suburb, not the rural northeastern Arizona county where he says he lives now.

Carlyle Begay listed his residence as Gilbert in Maricopa County during Senate confirmation of his appointment to a state authority earlier this year, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.

Begay changed his voter registration to Apache County on July 22 before Apache County supervisors appointed him on July 31 to fill the 7th Legislative District's vacant Senate seat.

He was sworn into office Tuesday to replace fellow Democrat Jack Jackson Jr., who quit to take a U.S. State Department job.

Rep. Albert Hale, a District 7 Democrat who also wanted the Senate appointment, says Begay should be removed from office because he hadn't lived in the district long enough.

Hale has formally demanded that Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Apache County Attorney Michael Whiting take action to have Begay removed from office.

The demand cited a state law that allows a person to go to court to correct an unlawful situation involving a public office if an attorney general or county attorney will not act.

Horne spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said Friday she had no information on the office receiving or acting on Hale's demand. Whiting did not immediately respond to a call for comment on whether his office would act on Hale's demand.

Begay didn't immediately return calls Friday. He had said after being sworn in that he has maintained residency within Apache County, where he lived before moving to the Phoenix area years ago.

The Arizona Constitution says a person must be a resident of "the county from which he is elected at least one year before his election. "

A state law on appointing replacement legislators says the appointee must live in the same district and county as the person being replaced and also be a member of the same party.

Hale's demand cited Begay's appointment earlier this year on Gilbert's Industrial Development Authority Board as evidence that Begay's true residence was in Maricopa County.

Begay, 32, was born in Tuba City and attended the University of Arizona. He works as a vice president of business development for Phoenix-based American Indian Health Management and Policy.

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