- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 30, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - Former Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin has been appointed to fill a Corporation Commission post that was vacated earlier this month when Commissioner Susan Bitter Smith resigned.

The appointment by Gov. Doug Ducey was announced Wednesday.

Bitter Smith’s resignation came after Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit seeking her removal because she is a registered lobbyist for cable companies regulated by the commission. She said she believes she’s on solid legal ground but the issue has become a distraction.

Tobin, who will serve the final year of Bitter Smith’s term, said in an interview that he’s unsure whether he will run for the post in 2016.

“It’s a great honor to be part of the Corporation Commission,” Tobin said. “I look forward to helping. I am glad there is going to be some rural representation there now.”

When Tobin joins the Corporation Commission, he will step down from his current posts as director of the Arizona Department of Insurance and interim director of the state’s Department of Financial Institutions.

The Republican from Paulden was first elected to the state House in 2006 and served as speaker from mid-2011 until he left the Legislature at the end of last year.

Tobin lost a 2014 congressional campaign to Democratic incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick.

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