Leach named president pro tem of state Senate

Vince Leach
Arizona state Sen. Vince Leach

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann announced she is appointing Sen. Vince Leach to the position of president pro tempore, or “pro tem.”

Leach represents Legislative District 11, stretching from Phoenix into the northwest part of Tucson and including Maricopa. He was elected to the Senate in 2018, after serving four years in the House of Representatives.

Leach is the vice-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a key figure in state budget discussions. He also serves on the Judiciary, Government and Finance Committees.

“I really am pleased to be named president pro tem,” he said. “What’s really exciting about it that the voters in District 11 in Southern Arizona now have someone at the leadership table and part of not only budget negotiations, which I’ve been involved in ever since being elected, but now on the larger issues that come before us.”

The pro tem works closely with the Senate president and presides over the chamber in the absence of the president. Leach and Fann first served together in the House. He said they already communicate frequently.

“I thank the president for the confidence she has in me,” Leach said. “Even more importantly, the voters who sent me back for two more years to serve in the Senate.”

The Republican defeated Democratic challenger JoAnna Mendoza by about 8 percentage points.

“I am so pleased to name Senator Leach President pro tem of the Senate,” Fann said in a news release. “He brings years of experience in the Legislature and has such a knowledge of the process here at the Capitol. He’s been invaluable to our budget talks, and many of our budget successes can be tied to him. He has shown his strong leadership skills time and time again, and I’m looking forward to him in his new role as president pro tem.”

The Legislature is scheduled to go back into session Jan. 11. The last session was heavily impacted by COVID-19. Leach said he doesn’t think a decision has been made on requiring or requesting masks. Policies and protocols will depend on the state’s coronavirus situation at that time.

“We’re flexible and we can move one way or the other,” Leach said. “The Senate staff are looking into how many committees we’re going to have, how we’re going to schedule them, how we’re going to have in-person for those who want to be in person to testify and how Zoom may or may not fit into that. We want to continue to be as transparent as we were last year.”