Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
With Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano accepting Barack Obama's offer to become secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Secretary of State Jan Brewer will now take over the governor's office (assuming Napolitano is confirmed). Brewer may be the last Secretary of State in Arizona history to make that move.
That's because Arizona is talking about creating a lieutenant governorship. In fact, Arizona has been talking about that for years, but Brewer's likely ascent to the top office is renewing the discussion.
In Arizona, the secretary of state's job is to run elections and to handle a series of obscure administrative tasks. The office doesn't tackle the broad range of policy issues that a governor must. As a result, placing the secretary of state second in line to the governorship is a bit like having the chairman of the Federal Election Commission second in line to the U.S. presidency (although, of course, at least the secretary of state is an elected office in Arizona).
Some people in Arizona simply want a name change -- calling the secretary of state the lieutenant governor instead. Others favor a broader move, perhaps even including electing the governor and a new lieutenant governor position together on a ticket.
These proposals will soon have a friend in the governor's office. Ironically, Brewer was a leading proponent of creating a lieutenant governorship during her days as a legislator.
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