Julie Willoughby sworn in to Az Legislature, changing expelled Liz Harris

Simply hours after the Maricopa County
Board of Supervisors chosen her to fill a legislative emptiness in a
Chandler-based district, Julie Willoughby took the oath of workplace and
turned a state consultant.

Willoughby, a Republican, replaces former GOP Rep. Liz Harris, who was expelled on April 12
for inviting a lady who made unfounded legal allegations towards
lawmakers at a February listening to, then mendacity about it to the Arizona
Home of Representatives Ethics Committee.

Willoughby, who ran as a staff with Harris in 2022, distanced herself from the previous lawmaker throughout her swearing in ceremony Friday within the Home chambers. 

“The largest subject I’ve with the
2020 election is that it’s 2023 and we’re nonetheless speaking about it,”
Willoughby mentioned when requested by reporters if she believed the election
fraud lies pushed by her former working mate. When requested immediately if she
is an election denier, Willoughby answered, “No, sir, I’m not.” 

“I actually wish to transfer ahead
and, if there may be fraud, if there may be points, let’s have a look at them. Let’s
sort out them collectively in an actual method the place we will make a distinction and we
can transfer ahead,” Willoughby mentioned. “If we maintain trying within the rear
view mirror, we’re by no means going to seek out the best way that we should be, so I
actually wish to deal with that.”

Willoughby is the chief nursing officer for Distinctive Group Hospital-Maricopa. She additionally ran unsuccessfully in 2018 for the legislature. 

The swearing in got here after a brief
particular assembly of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Friday
morning wherein the Board authorised Willoughby on a 4-1 vote, with
Democratic member Steve Gallardo casting the only vote towards
Willoughby. 

“These are by no means straightforward selections, they don’t seem to be,” Gallardo mentioned. 

Gallardo mentioned he spoke to a “couple”
of the candidates and made it clear that they probably didn’t agree on all
points, however one subject was tantamount to him — elections. For Gallardo,
approving any candidate that was not prepared to say that the 2020
election in Maricopa was “protected and safe” was a non-starter. 

Willoughby’s marketing campaign web site consists of “voter integrity” in her points part,
and states that “with the ability to guarantee our elections will not be being
tampered with or manipulated is of the utmost significance.” There isn’t a
proof that the 2020 or 2022 elections have been tampered with or
manipulated in any method. 

Upon Gallardo mentioning his
objections, one of many handful of Harris supporters within the crowd heckled
him and the remainder of the board. The small contingency of Harris
supporters additionally argued with Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone prior
to the assembly beginning, making claims that he was not upholding the Structure. 

Harris supporters have been displaying up at board conferences
since her expulsion, usually making doubtful claims of election fraud or
throwing verbal barbs at these in attendance. An elevated presence of
Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies was on the particular assembly, although
solely 4 Harris supporters confirmed up. Not one of the three nominees to
fill the emptiness — Harris, Willoughby and Steven Steele — confirmed up at
the assembly. 

Different members of the board have been extra
accepting of the appointment, thanking all of the nominees for his or her
endurance and participation within the course of. 

District 1 Supervisor Jack Sellers,
whose district encompasses Legislative District 13, carried out the
interviews, mentioned that his discussions with the candidates addressed
points like homelessness, water, elections and Proposition 400.

Sellers referred to as the conversations
“well mannered and cordial,” however added that Harris reaffirmed that she believes
her removing was “illegal.” The Arizona Structure permits the
legislature to expel members with a two-thirds supermajority.

“There you go, violating the
structure! You guys are good at it!” one of many Harris supporters
shouted on the conclusion of the assembly, adopted by yells of
“treason.” 

The scene on the swearing in was a lot
extra cordial as Willoughby, surrounded by household and pals, was sworn
in by Arizona Supreme Courtroom Justice Clint Bolick. 

“I do know we’re going to hit the
floor working,” Willoughby mentioned in a brief speech after her swearing
in, flanked by her husband and youngsters. 

The legislature has already been in
session for 115 days and Republican and Democratic lawmakers are
at the moment engaged on negotiating a finances with Gov. Katie Hobbs because the
deadline looms for a potential authorities shutdown, one thing that was
tacitly famous by Home Speaker Ben Toma. 

“Sure, now we have a whole lot of work to do in a
very quick time frame,” Toma mentioned. “You’re going to (see) what it
actually means to drink from a firehose very quickly right here.” 

The Arizona Senate nonetheless has a vacant
seat that’s awaiting an appointment from the Board as nicely as a result of
resignation of Raquel Terán who’s pursuing a bid for Congress.