Local agriculture leader announces candidacy for vacant AZ U.S. House seat

Local agriculture leader looking to fill vacant US House seat

YUMA, Ariz. - A House seat left vacant is now up for grabs after the Arizona House of Representatives expelled former Rep. Don Shooter amid sexual harassment allegations.

Paul Brierley, Executive Director at Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture, announced his bid Sunday night in a Facebook post. 



Like former Rep. Don Shooter, Brierley will be running as a Republican, serving in the party for more than 20 years.

He's looking to fill the vacant seat that serves the Arizona 13th Legislative District -- Yuma and Maricopa counties. 

Brierley said that working in agriculture has given him the experience to serve in the public policy arena and has been preparing himself for elected office.

Under current circumstances with former Rep. Shooter being expelled, Brierley said it's the perfect opportunity to serve Yuma County.

On February 1st, the Arizona House of Representatives expelled former Rep. Shooter in a 56-3 vote, making it the first time a state lawmaker has been expelled from office since the start of sexual harassment allegations.

Brierley said he wants to focus on serving rural Arizona.

"One of my big things is to protect rural Arizona. I think they need to have a voice up there in legislature that is so heavily dominated by those urban folks," Brierley added.

He adds that he wants funding to come back to our county.

"When you look at rural and what we need jobs to keep coming here and keep our quality of life, we need to keep our water rights, we need money for our transportation infrastructure, we need good internet, we need good healthcare. All those things, we need to think about rural," Brierley adds.

Another focus for Brierley is education.

"I think we need more money going into classrooms... we can't argue they're [teachers] getting paid too much because they're leaving by the droves," he added.

The process to fill the vacant seat starts this week. The Yuma County Precinct Committee of the Republican Party will meet Thursday to nominate three names for the seat.

On Monday, the Yuma County Board of Supervisors will pick a candidate to be the new legislator.

That candidate will be appointed to finish the rest of the session.

Brierley said that it's important for someone to be from Yuma to represent Yuma as he plans to campaign for the seat during the fall elections if appointed for the current session. 

"I'm excited for the Yuma Board of Supervisors to pick the best-qualified candidate to represent our area... I believe I'm that person," Brierley said. 

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