State Sen. Paul Boyer, who cast key vote for county supervisors, will not seek re-election
State Sen. Paul Boyer said Tuesday he will leave the Legislature when his term expires at the end of next year, capping a tumultuous chapter at the Capitol.
Boyer, R-Glendale, said he's lost the enthusiasm to seek a third Senate term amid what was likely to be a bruising primary, as well as what he described as a "toxic" atmosphere at the Capitol.
Boyer drew scorn from some of his GOP colleagues earlier this year when he voted against holding the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in contempt for not responding fully to a Senate subpoena regarding the 2020 presidential election.
He was also hounded by adherents of the "Stop the Steal" movement, to the point that he briefly moved out of his house and had to get a new cellphone number.
In addition, he was a holdout on the state budget this spring, successfully angling to get more of the state's surplus funding directed toward debt reduction while ensuring local governments would not be penalized by deep cuts in state income-tax collections.
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An admitted "outsider," Boyer said the Legislature "feels more toxic than it had ever been.” In addition to the blowback he got for his "no" vote on holding the supervisors in contempt, his desk on the Senate floor was moved to the Democratic side of the aisle and he was left off of a text-message string that GOP lawmakers used to keep in touch.
Boyer has been a sharp critic of Senate President Karen Fann, R-Prescott, saying she does not deal honestly with him.
Earlier this month, she hosted a fundraiser for Anthony Kern, the former lawmaker whom Boyer defeated in 2020 and who is again seeking the Senate seat representing parts of the northwest Valley. Boyer said that violates an unspoken rule of not intervening in competitive primaries.
While his enthusiasm has waned for another run for office, Boyer said he will return in January with a list of policy issues.
“They’re stuck with me for a year," he said, only half-jokingly.
As chairman of the Senate Education Committee, he will again press to expand the state's empowerment scholarship account program to all low-income children.
He's also interested in leveraging federal water-infrastructure dollars to build a desalination plant in a joint effort with Mexico and said he will push for funding to help the state's 144 fire districts, which have struggled with staffing and service issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fueling his decision to leave, Boyer said he and his wife want to add to their family (they have one son) and he'd like to find a job that would allow his wife not to work outside the home if she so chose.
He left his job as a teacher at Veritas Preparatory Academy this year because of legislative demands and his pursuit of a master's degree. He expects to graduate in May from the University of Dallas with a master of humanities with an emphasis in classical education. His plans after that, he said, are uncertain.
Boyer's announcement adds to the growing list of senators who have said they will not seek re-election in 2022. They include Fann and Senate Majority Leader Rick Gray, R-Sun City, and Democrat Sean Bowie, D-Phoenix.
Bowie and Boyer represented the "middle" of the GOP-controlled Senate, to the extent there is a middle.
“We literally are because we’re the only two who are talking to each other," Boyer said. The two broached a budget plan that never got any traction.
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