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Andy Tobin Joins Arizona Corporation Commission, Addresses Conflict Of Interest

Andy Tobin
(Photo via @CorpCommAZ - Twitter)
Andy Tobin will serve the final year of Susan Bitter Smith’s term.

Arizona has a new utility regulator. Andy Tobin was sworn in Tuesday to fill the vacancy left by former Corporation Commissioner Susan Bitter Smith.

Tobin is a veteran of Arizona politics, having been speaker of the House in the state Legislature and run for Congress.

After he was sworn in, Tobin pledged to spend lots of time traveling the state and advocating for rural Arizona.

“Places I call home that many of us down here don’t get a chance to visit, that worry a lot about water," said Tobin.

Tobin will serve the final year of Susan Bitter Smith’s term. The former commissioner resigned earlier this year because of her ties to the telecom industry, which is regulated by the commission. Tobin also will have to navigate a conflict of interest.

RELATED: Susan Bitter Smith Announces Resignation

His son-in-law works for SolarCity, which has been at odds with the state’s largest utility over the rates for rooftop solar. The Arizona Public Service rate case is scheduled for later this year. 

Tobin said he may have to recuse himself from votes involving those companies. 

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.