Arizona Corporation Commission picks Republican Lea Márquez Peterson as next chair

Commission on Monday, Jan. 4, 2020, by Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel./Courtesy photo Arizona Corporation Commission

By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic

Republican Lea Márquez Peterson won a contested vote Monday to serve as chair of the Arizona Corporation Commission, the state body that sets rates and policies for utilities.

During a ceremony to swear in newly elected members of the five-person commission, including Márquez Peterson, she bested Republican Justin Olson for the top position.

The chairperson of the commission can set the tone and direction of the regulatory body by running the meetings and setting the meeting agendas. The commission oversees regulated electric, gas and water utilities, as well as pipeline safety, railroad crossings and securities issues in the state.

The five commissioners elect their chairperson, often giving the honor to the longest serving member of the majority party. Both Olson and Márquez Peterson were initially appointed to the commission by Gov. Doug Ducey before winning office, and Olson was appointed in 2017 while Márquez Peterson was appointed in 2019. 

Márquez Peterson took her oath of office Monday after winning one of three seats on the November ballot to serve a full four-year term. Also sworn in were Democrat Anna Tovar and Republican Jim O’Connor.

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