Arizona state Rep. Athena Salman stepping down to focus on abortion rights

Dec 20, 2023, 11:04 AM

Arizona state Rep. Athena Salman announced Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023, that she is resigning from the...

Arizona state Rep. Athena Salman announced Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023, that she is resigning from the Arizona Legislature at the end of the year. (Arizona Legislature and KTAR News Photos)

(Arizona Legislature and KTAR News Photos)

PHOENIX – State Rep. Athena Salman announced Wednesday that she is resigning from the Arizona Legislature to focus on protecting abortion rights.

The Democrat is stepping down at the end of December to work as director of Arizona campaigns for Reproductive Freedom For All, a nonprofit political action and advocacy organization formerly known as NARAL Pro-Choice America.

“The right to decide if, when and how to start and grow your family faces the largest threat in generations,” Salman said in a press release. “We are one bad court decision away from a 160-year-old total ban on abortion being reinstated in Arizona.

“When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, I committed to do everything in my power to restore abortion rights in the United States of America.”

The Arizona Supreme Court started hearing a case this month to determine whether a 1864 near-total abortion ban should be put into effect.

How long as Athena Salman been in the Arizona Legislature?

Salman, who represents District 8, was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2016. Her husband, Juan Mendez, is a state senator for the same district, which includes parts of Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to be an authentic and compassionate leader for my community in the Arizona Legislature,” Salman said. “I am forever grateful to my constituents and supporters for your support, and deeply appreciate the love and encouragement of my friends and family.”

Salman’s current term runs trough the end of 2024.

Democratic precinct committee members will nominate three candidates to replace Salman. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will then select one of the candidates, who under state law must be the same party as the departing lawmaker.

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Arizona state Rep. Athena Salman stepping down to focus on abortion rights