PHOENIX (AP) - Democrat Mark Kelly has been assigned temporary office space in Washington and has named a transition team as he awaits formal swearing in as a U.S. senator representing Arizona.
Kelly won the Arizona Senate seat once held by John McCain, riding Arizona’s changing electorate to flip a Republican Senate seat in a state long dominated by the GOP.
Arizona will send two Democrats to the Senate for the first time in nearly 70 years when Kelly joins Kyrsten Sinema in Washington.
Kelly announced the bipartisan transition team on Monday as he prepares to be sworn in as early as Nov. 30. He said it is made up of leaders from across the state with expertise on key issues like defense, water, education, public health and tribal communities.
“As I prepare for the work of representing all Arizonans in the U.S. Senate, I want Arizonans to know that I am committed to being a Senator who will work to get things done and be an independent voice for them in Washington on Day One,” Kelly said in a statement. “This team of community leaders, Republicans and Democrats, will help ensure we are successful in this next mission, serving and getting results for Arizonans.”
Leading the team will be Sharon Harper, a board member of the McCain Institute and business leader, and Luis Heredia, executive director of the Arizona Education Association.
Kelly will be in Washington for part of this week as he goes through new member orientation.
Kelly, a former astronaut married to former Rep. Gabby Giffords, defeated Republican Martha McSally, who was appointed to the seat by GOP Gov. Doug Ducey after McCain’s death in 2018.
Kelly positioned himself as a pragmatic centrist with no patience for Washington partisanship during the campaign. When the coronavirus pandemic struck, he retreated to mostly online outreach, minimizing face-to-face campaigning while blasting McSally and President Donald Trump for allowing the pandemic to get out of control.
Most new members of Congress will take office in January, but Kelly is expected to be sworn in as soon as election results are certified because McSally was temporarily filling the seat until last week’s special election. Kelly will finish the last two years of McCain’s term and then face reelection in 2022.
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