Arizona House Democratic leader Cano leaving for Harvard
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona House Democratic Leader Andrés Cano announced Saturday he intends to resign when the current legislative session ends so he can begin pursuit of a graduate degree this summer at the Harvard Kennedy School.
The third-term lawmaker who represents much of the Tucson area said in a statement that his acceptance to the school’s Mid-Career Master in Public Administration program in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a “once-in-a-lifetime” chance.
“As a first-generation college graduate, never did I think an opportunity like this would come my way,” Cano said. “Put simply: I want to do more for the people of Arizona and our nation — and I want to be prepared for my next chapter in public service.”
The program begins in July.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors will choose a replacement to complete his two-year term.
Cano, 31, was first elected in 2018 and again in 2020 and 2022. The House Democratic Caucus picked him to be minority leader last year.
The Legislature is expected to wrap up its work in the coming weeks. Votes on the state budget are scheduled to begin Tuesday.
Cano said Saturday that he is committed to “seeing the state budget process move forward until the very end.”
He also plans to step down in June from his role as director of the LGBTQ+ Alliance Fund, an initiative of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona.
From 2012 to 2019, Cano served as policy advisor to the late Richard Elias, former chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors.
Current Board Chair Adelita Grijalva and Supervisor Sharon Bronson issued a statement congratulating Cano on his acceptance to the Harvard program after a “meteoric rise” to Democratic leader that began when he secured a county internship at 14.
“Andrés has understood since he was a child that the power of government can be best used to provide opportunity and ensure fairness,” Grijalva said. “He’s a force of nature and Harvard better get ready; a whirlwind of positive energy is about to blow into Cambridge.”