by Jim Nintzel
State Rep. Jennifer Burns has announced she will not seek re-election, saying she "can no longer afford the level of time and financial commitment required to be a representative."
Burns is something of an anomaly in the Arizona Legislature: A Republican who represents the Democratic-leaning Legislative District 25, which includes Marana, Sierra Vista and a big chuck of rural Southern Arizona.
Burns is a moderate who often sides with Democrats. She has faced frequent challenges from the right wing of the GOP, as well as occasional challenges from the Dems.
Burns' seatmate, Manny Alvarez, is expected to seek the Senate seat that Democrat Marsha Arzberger will have to give up after four terms, leaving two open House seats.
Democrat Pat Fleming, who unsuccessfully ran the LD 25 seat in 2006, has announced that she is running for a House seat, as has Democrat Richard Boyer, who lost a Corporation Commission race in 2006. Republican David Stevens, another former House candidate, is also in the race.
From Burns' press release:
While it has been an extreme honor to serve in the Arizona House of Representatives, I am announcing that I will not run for re-election in 2008. I sincerely thank my constituents for giving me this opportunity to work with them to give Arizona a brighter future. Together, we have made a difference and I look forward to future opportunities to continue serving the people of Arizona.
During my six years, I joined with others to fight for increased funding for teachers and the classroom, economic development programs such as Science Foundation Arizona, and the universities and community colleges. We protected critical services for children and our most vulnerable. We stood up for businesses on issues important to them and provided the largest tax cut in Arizona history. I championed causes critical to rural and Southern Arizona, including protection of military bases, water issues, infrastructure investment, and higher education. I also worked to uphold issues important in the legislative process, including working collaboratively, knowing the issues, appreciating differences of opinion, and respecting the institution.
As State Representative for District 25, I have seen Arizona from a unique perspective. While it has required more than a full-time effort to serve close to 200,000 people, stretched over 18,000 square miles, I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet many wonderful people and to be a real part of the many communities in my district. Some of the memories I cherish include the 10 to 12 parades a year, Memorial Day and the Shrimp Festival in Gila Bend, the Cowboy Hall of Fame and FFA Dinners in Willcox, Fourth of July fireworks in Marana, border tours in Nogales, and Mother’s Day Pancake Breakfasts in Arivaca. I’ve appreciated interacting on a personal and professional level at chamber of commerce events, economic forums and numerous other meetings throughout District 25 and Arizona. I have also been honored to host Afghan elected officials in Arizona and to personally visit South Africa, Ireland, and our military men and women across this country. Each of these experiences strengthened my belief and pride in Arizona.
I thank my constituents--Republicans, Democrats, and Independents--for the opportunity to serve them and for their votes of confidence. Unfortunately, I can no longer afford the level of time and financial commitment required to be a representative. However, I will continue to be involved and hope those who follow will continue the obligation to join in the activities, learn what matters to the people in our communities, work collaboratively, and fight for Arizona’s future.