BISBEE — The county Board of Supervisors appointed Lupe Diaz of Benson to the Legislative District 14 seat vacated by Becky Nutt Friday afternoon.
County administrator Richard Karwaczka explained the process of selecting an appointee from the three candidates — Diaz, Brian McKeighen and Robert Montgomery — and said the supervisors needed to name their selections and give reasons for them. If there was no majority consensus, the process would be repeated until there was.
Supervisor Ann English said she would have preferred to have a work session or an executive session to discuss the three candidates prior to voting.
“Normally, we would have a chance for discussion at a work session or something. We’ve had no chance for discussion between ourselves,” she said.
Supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby named Diaz, a member of the Benson council and a pastor, as their selection. English chose McKeighen.
Judd, who served in the state legislature, said she chose him on the basis of his resume and the substantial response from her constituents. She thought he would do the best job.
“All three of the candidates have good skills and would be able to fulfill the role,” said Judd. “But, two submitted resumes and made a good first impression.”
Crosby said, “Two of the three hold elected office. The county precinct committeemen rightly chose you three. And I believe each of you would do the job of state legislator in a manner of which we would be proud.”
Crosby went on to say he would be consistent with the precinct committeemen recommendation and selected Diaz.
English said, “It appears we’re moving toward a consensus pretty quickly here. I recognized and felt all three of these men were conservative Republicans and that’s what they wanted us to consider. All were involved in their communities.
“But, I actually saw a spark of a desire to be a public servant in one of these gentlemen and the desire to initiate legislation that I thought was important for our county and our region. So, my pick was Brian McKeighen.”
With a two-vote consensus, English said it was important to have the full board support the appointee and when the votes were taken, Diaz was the unanimous choice.
Diaz, a Bisbee native, has served as the senior pastor of Grace Chapel Benson since in 1988. He is president of Grace Christian Center Inc., a nonprofit 501©3, and chairs the board of elder meetings. He serves as administrator of Grace Christian Academy.
He served as President on the San Pedro Valley Chamber of Commerce for two terms
He is the Chaplain to the Republican Legislative District 14, meeting monthly with the State Senators and State Representatives for updates and presentations that govern the state and district.
Diaz was unavailable for comment following his appointment.