Arizona House, Senate Democrats choose leaders - East Valley Tribune: Politics

Arizona House, Senate Democrats choose leaders

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Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012 5:17 pm

House and Senate Democrats chose leaders Thursday who are likely to continue to push the same priorities as before -- but perhaps with a bit more success because of increased numbers.

Senators selected Leah Landrum Taylor of Phoenix as minority leader. She had been in the No. 2 slot; current Minority Leader David Schapira did not seek reelection to the Senate, having made an unsuccessful bid for Congress.

In the House, Democrats decided to keep current Minority Leader Chad Campbell, also of Phoenix, for another two years.

Landrum Taylor said Capitol observers should expect no major changes in how Senate Democrats will operate. She said she worked very closely with Schapira for the last two years.

"There will be a lot of similarities going forward,'' she said.

One priority is working with Republicans.

While they remain in the majority, their edge dropped from 21-9 to 17-13. Landrum Taylor said that should mean an increased role, especially in preparing the budget.

"I just want to make sure we are at the table,'' she said.

A top priority, she said, will be restoring the cuts to education, especially with the failure of voters to approve Proposition 204. That would have created a permanent one-cent sales tax surcharge, with most of the funding earmarked for K-12 education.

In the 60-member House, Campbell will be leading anywhere from 24 to 26 Democrats, depending on the outcome of two close races, up from just 20 for the last two years.

Ruben Gallego of Phoenix is assistant House minority leader, with Tucsonan Bruce Wheeler as whip.

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