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Former city councilman sworn in at Arizona House of Representatives

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PHOENIX — A former councilman in the West Valley has been chosen to take over a vacancy in the Arizona House of Representatives.

Peoria real estate broker Ben Toma was appointed Wednesday, replacing Phil Lovas, who resigned to take a job with the federal government.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors made the announcement. The group had whittled down possible replacements for the District 22 opening to three. They picked from nominees chosen by precinct committeemen.

Toma sat on the Peoria City Council from 2014 until he was unseated in 2016 by Bridget Binsbacher.

“Ben Toma brings a unique background to the House, and I’m excited about having him as my newest colleague,” House Speaker J.D. Mesnard said in a press release.

“It’s also nice to have the House back to full strength as we head into the final stretch of the session.”

The opening was created when Lovas stepped down over a week ago after five years. He had announced his impending departure for a position with the U.S. Small Business Administration on April 10.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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