Democrat Demion Clinco was named Tuesday to a vacant seat in Legislative District 2.
Clinco, president of the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation and who works as a historic preservation consultant, was chosen by the Pima County Board of Supervisors to fill the vacancy created when Andrea Dalessandro was appointed to a Senate seat last month.
Clinco will be sworn in later this week. He will complete Dalessandro's term, which expires next January and must run for election this fall if he wants to retain the seat. In an interview, he said he plans to run for a full term later this year.
His top priority is education, he said.
“It’s the cornerstone of our economy and of the future of our state, and if we don’t have a huge laser beam focus on education, which then leads to job creation and workforce development, we cannot compete as a region," Clinco said.
The chain reaction that led to his appointment started when Linda Lopez resigned as a state senator from the district, which covers part of South Tucson and south of Sahuarita and Green Valley. Lopez said she needed to devote full time to a new job.
Dalessandro and Clinco were among those nominated for Lopez's seat, and Dalessandro was appointed. Clinco then was nominated with two others last weekend by District 2 precinct committee members as possible replacements for Dalessandro.
Because Lopez is a Democrat, the law required a Democrat be named to the Senate seat, and the same law applies for replacing Dalessandro in the House.
Clinco was appointed with a 3-2 vote. Supervisors Sharon Bronson and Richard Elías voted against Clinco's appointment, but said during the meeting it wasn't because of his qualifications.
"I had hoped to see a woman in that seat to replace a woman," Bronson said. "But certainly all the names that came forward were worthy, and again, congratulations."
Elias said he voted no for the same reason.
"I think Demion is a fine man and well-qualified to do this, but I think it would have been more appropriate to have nominated a woman," Elías said.
Clinco provided historic preservation stories to Arizona Public Media from 2011 to 2013.