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Arizona’s Lesko sets early priorities for new job in House of Representatives

Republican U.S. Congressional candidate Debbie Lesko, right, celebrates her win with former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer at her home, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. Lesko ran against Democratic candidate Hiral Tipirneni for Arizona's 8th Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona. (AP Photo/Matt York)

LISTEN: Debbie Lesko, Congresswoman, Congressional District 8.

PHOENIX — Republican Congresswoman-elect Debbie Lesko of Arizona had a full plate already hours after she won a special election to replace Trent Franks.

Lesko, a former state senator and state representative, has set early priorities for her work in Congressional District 8: “Building up my district office so that we can take care of the people’s needs and I want to protect Luke Air Force Base,” she said Wednesday on KTAR 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

“It’s very important to our national security, and to our economy here in Arizona and the West Valley,” she said.

She’s also set to start looking for a place to live next week, organize her staff and join her party’s Freedom Caucus after she’s sworn in. She would be the only woman in group.

Lesko will face a quick turnaround with an August primary, and, if successful, will face Democratic competition in the November general election.

“I really need to hit the road running,” she said.

Lesko won the race with nearly 53 percent of the vote to 47 percent for Democrat Dr. Hiral Tipirneni. Turnout in the heavily Republican district was about 38 percent.

“There is no down time,” Lesko said. “I knew I knew there would be four elections if I won, so I’m just taking it one step at a time.”

She expected to get some help navigating Capitol Hill from fellow Arizona GOP Reps. Andy Biggs, David Schweikert and Paul Gosar.

“I served with Andy Biggs in the state Senate, so I know him well … I’m sure he’ll offer his help,” Lesko said.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said he expected Lekso to join the group, news site Politico reported.

“I’m from a conservative district, it makes sense that I join the Freedom Caucus. I think they are a good group of people that have good, conservative values and can negotiate to get things more conservative.” Lesko said.

The man she succeeded, Franks, had also been in the caucus.

She expected to be sworn in the week of May 7.

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