In his role as director of the Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment, Ableser will oversee efforts to educate school officials, from principals to coaches, on the effects of bullying and cyber-bullying on children.
The position is fueled, in part, by the GOP-controlled Nevada Legislature's decision to raise $1.3 billion in taxes to support education. The package, pushed by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, freed up money to elevate the education department's anti-bullying efforts into a formal office.Bully for Nevada, as Teddy Roosevelt might say. It's an exciting step for education in Nevada. Ed's vision and opportunity to set in motion a culture change in American public education is tremendous and mind boggling.
So, that's the big news of the day. My home legislative district, LD26, will have a vacancy in the legislature effective September 30, 2015.
My phone's been ringing with people wanting to discuss the possibilities for filling that seat in the Arizona Senate. Arizona Eagletarian readers, for the most part, probably know that situations like this come up from time to time.
It's not really all that unusual, as Ed was first appointed before he ran for election, Carlyle Begay the quasi Democrat from Gilbert... er, LD7 in NE Arizona, was appointed when Jack Jackson took a job in the Obama administration. Andrea D'Allessandro, Democrat from LD2/Tucson was serving in the Arizona House when appointed to fill the seat previously held by Linda Lopez.
So, what happens now? Well, Ed's resignation isn't effective for another month. Most likely in early October Democratic precinct committeemembers from LD26 will meet to select three names for a short list to be presented to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. As for speculation, the most likely and reasonable scenario would be for either one or both of the current state representatives from our district, Juan Mendez and Andrew Sherwood, to be on the short list and chosen to succeed Ableser.
In the senate, it's more important to have at least some legislative experience. Think of Mesa's Jerry Lewis who succeeded recalled/disgraced Sen. Russell Pearce. With all the good intentions Lewis had, there was extremely little that he could do other than go along with the Republican caucus, largely because he didn't have any legislative experience.
In such a scenario, that would then make an opening in the Arizona House. A number of names have been talked about for that possibility, including a couple of current members of the Tempe City Council and Tempe school district governing boards.
Of course, former Senate Minority Leader David Schapira has plenty of experience and currently sits on the Tempe City Council. But he now lives in LD18, so that leaves him out.
Perhaps I'll list more names in a post in the days and weeks to come, after people start expressing their interest in an appointment.
In the meantime, best wishes to Ed and Hillary Ableser for their upcoming move to Nevada and for the wonderful opportunity to make a difference in many lives.