Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) listens to instructions before acting as a downed pilot as part of the ACC-sponsored personnel recovery exercise Angel Thunder 17 in Gila Bend, Ariz., on May 13, 2017. Air Force photo by SSgt. Marianique Santos.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday said he will appoint USAF veteran Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) to the late Sen. John McCain’s Senate seat.
The announcement comes at the end of a turbulent political year for McSally, in which she sacrificed her spot in the US House of Representatives to run for Arizona’s other Senate seat, only to lose the tight race to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.
“All her life, Martha has put service first—leading in the toughest of fights and at the toughest of times,” Ducey said in a release. “She served 26 years in the military; deployed six times to the Middle East and Afghanistan; was the first woman to fly in combat and command a fighter squadron in combat; and she’s represented Southern Arizona in Congress for the past four years. With her experience and long record of service, Martha is uniquely qualified to step up and fight for Arizona’s interests in the US Senate.”
Her appointment is also a tentatively good omen for future funding of the A-10 program, for which she’s been a long-time advocate. Keeping the A-10 in the fight is on McSally’s shortlist of priority issues—along with veterans and border security—spotlighted on her Congressional website.
McSally currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee and two of its subcommittees—Tactical Air and Land Forces, and Oversight and Investigations. She’s also on the House Homeland Security Committee, chairing its border and maritime security subcommittee, and serving on its emergency preparedness, response, and communications subcommittee.
She is a graduate of both the US Air Force Academy and the Air War College.
Ducey’s decision follows the resignation of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who came out of political retirement in September to temporarily fill McCain’s seat after his passing. Since assuming the role, Kyl’s been appointed to the Senate Armed Services Committee, and its strategic forces, airland, and seapower subcommittees.
“I have concluded that it would be best if I resign so that your new appointee can begin the new term with all other Senators in January 2019 and can serve a full two [potentially four] years,” Kyl wrote to Ducey in a Dec. 12 resignation letter. According to the letter, Kyl will officially leave the office just before midnight on Dec 31.
A special election to determine the seat’s future holder is slated for 2020.
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