Q&A: What will be Senate President Karen Fann’s legacy?

Arizona Capitol Television

By Camryn Sanchez | Arizona Capitol Times  

In her final year as a legislator and Senate president, Republican Karen Fann still faces a sharply divided Legislature, the Covid pandemic and a polarizing election audit. She outlines her priorities for water infrastructure and election integrity in the coming year that will be navigated by a divided caucus and a razor thin majority. Answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Is there a plan for appearing in person, virtually or hybrid?

Our goals and our plan right now is that our chamber will be open to the public. Our committee meetings will be open to the public, our gallery will be open to the public, and if a member has a medical excuse from their doctor and they need to Zoom from their office for floor votes or committee votes that will be allowed. But they will not be able to explain their votes. If they need to explain their votes, they need to come down here to the floor and then they can explain their vote and then certainly go back to their office.

Did you read the Supreme Court ruling on the BRBs?

I did. I did and have been briefed by my attorney… We were there 171 days last year trying to get 16 and 31 on the budget and we had many members saying I am not on the budget unless I get X and I said this after session was over and so did Speaker Bowers, and we knew those lines were being crossed but we were trying to get a budget done. July 1 was rolling up on us and we were going to have to shut down if we didn’t have a budget going. Services still need to be taken care of with our constituents, so the courts in some sense did us a favor by coming down on that.

Do you have an opinion on redistricting? Are the new maps what you expected to see?

I wish it leaned, personally, more right. I think that there was a lot of overpacking done covering that Mohave area. I mean, the Republicans have a 47-point advantage which is definitely quite way out there, and I do believe that there were one or two Democrat districts that were almost as bad. So, there was definitely some over packing there. So, do I wish that there was more right leaning? Yes absolutely, but objectively speaking in the overall picture I think they did a pretty darn good job and definitely better than was done 10 years ago.

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