- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The board overseeing Arizona’s early childhood development program has chosen the woman who championed the 2006 voter initiative creating the agency as board chair.

Nadine Mathis Basha was announced as chair of the First Things First board on Tuesday.

Mathis Basha co-wrote the initiative creating an 80-cent per pack cigarette tax and earmarking it for early childhood education and health programs. She served as its first board chair and is serving her second board term after being appointed in 2012 by former Gov. Jan Brewer.

Mathis Basha has been a teacher, small business owner and state Board of Education member. She was married to grocery chain executive Eddie Basha Jr. until his death in 2013.

First Things First spent about $150 million on programs and administrative expenses during its 2015 fiscal year.

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