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State Rep. Jennifer Longdon resigns from Arizona Legislature

Jennifer Longdon
Jennifer Longdon speaks at a press conference for Moms Demand Action at the Arizona State Capitol on Jan. 23, 2023

Phoenix Democrat Jennifer Longdon is resigning from the Arizona House of Representatives. 

Rep. Longdon sent a letter to House Speaker Ben Toma stating she is resigning from the House effective Jan. 26. Longdon is resigning to take a job with the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers. She said the decision to resign was bittersweet, but she says she couldn’t pass up this new opportunity.

“It’s going to allow me to continue to serve Arizona, working with a nonprofit in the area of health care policy, and I’m really excited for the future and for the work I hope to be able to do,” Longdon said.

A spokesperson for the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers confirmed Longdon will be the organization’s chief external affairs officer. 

Though she is leaving the Capitol, Longdon said she is confident there are still lawmakers to advocate for the issues she cared about.

That includes fellow Democrats Quantá Crews, Laura Terech and Patty Contreras. But Longdon said she also knows Republican Tim Dunn (R-Yuma), her co-chair on a committee focused on abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults, will continue to focus on those issues as well. 

With her resignation, the House loses a vocal advocate for gun control legislation and rights for people with disabilities. Longdon was shot in a random drive-by shooting in 2004 and paralyzed from the chest down. 

Her election in 2018 forced legislative leaders to adapt the House chamber in various ways to accommodate her use of a wheelchair. 

In her resignation letter, Longdon said she is proud of bipartisan accomplishments at the Legislature during her tenure and the opportunity to chair a committee focused on addressing abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults.

Democrats in Legislative District 5 in Phoenix must now meet to select candidates to replace Longdon. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will then pick from among those nominees to fill the vacancy.

Four other Democrats filed statements of interest to run for the Arizona House of Representatives in the district later this year, including Sarah Ligouri, who was appointed to fill a vacancy in the House in 2021 but lost to Longdon and Rep. Amish Shah in the LD5 Democratic primary in 2022. 

Liguori confirmed she is interested in filling the vacancy.

“I filed to return to work at the Legislature, and while this was not the timeline I expected, it is a path back and one I am familiar with,” Ligouri said.

Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.