Effective Monday, Becky Nutt was no longer the state representative for District 14 in the Legislature. The three-term Republican hailing from Pearce resigned, cited “personal reasons” for her decision to step away from the position.
Don’t read too much into her stated motive for resigning. It was well known in Republican circles that Ms. Nutt would not seek a fourth term in 2022, which has inspired one Benson area resident, and possibly other potential candidates, to begin circulating nomination papers.
Unlike other prompt and unexpected resignations, Rep. Nutt isn’t leaving office with a reputation tarnished by scandal. Her record in the Legislature has been exemplary, if somewhat silent, since her election in 2016.
Until Monday, the effective date of her departure, Ms. Nutt was the House Majority Whip, a position that rallies fellow lawmakers to get behind key legislation. She chaired the House Rules Committee, responsible for enforcing punishment on fellow lawmakers for disorderly behavior, and she served as a member on the Appropriations, Commerce and rural affairs committees.
During the first session of the 55th Legislature, completed in June, she was the prime sponsor of seven initiatives and signed on as a co-sponsor for another 55 bills.
Notable measures included expanding community colleges to offer four-year degrees, requiring county treasurers to report collections and disbursements of public funds on the county website within five days of submitting the report to the board of supervisors, and a resolution seeking to establish the office of lieutenant governor in Arizona.
Ms. Nutt played a central role in the dismissal of 82 complaints filed against Rep. Mark Finchem earlier this year. Finchem, a Tucson-area Republican who is running for secretary of state, traveled to Washington, D.C., to take part in the Jan. 6, 2021, protest that was followed by the storming of the United States Capitol. He said, and continues to say, there was “substantial evidence that this election was a fraud” and tweeted photographs of protestors massed on the steps of the Capitol building. His actions inspired fellow lawmakers to file complaints and constituents to mount an unsuccessful recall petition.
In 2017, Rep. Nutt joined with several lawmakers in calling for then-Speaker J.D. Mesnard to remove two female lawmakers from their leadership roles in the House of Representatives following accusations of sexual misconduct at the Capitol.
Throughout her tenure, Rep. Nutt consistently emphasized the importance of rural Arizona to fellow lawmakers. She was part of a “rural caucus” of legislators who stood together in the interests of communities outside of Tucson and Phoenix.
She was successful in bridging the gap between private enterprise and schools, championing legislation that encouraged industry to invest in science, technology, engineering and math, know as STEM programs.
As she did before she became a state representative, Becky Nutt sought to generate economic development, especially in rural areas. At the Capitol, she worked closely with the Arizona Commerce Authority to point potential employers to her district.
There is some confusion about naming a replacement for Nutt. On her 2020 nomination form, she listed Clifton in Greenlee County as her residence. She provided her mailing address as Pearce in Cochise County.
It will fall upon Republicans to come together and recommend a replacement. The Secretary of State office should decide by Wednesday whether Cochise or Greenlee county will make the appointment.
Whomever is appointed, they will have very big shoes to fill.