Syms: I will embrace, thrive in dual legislative roles at capitol and at home

Maria Syms

Maria Syms

Paradise Valley Councilwoman Maria Syms says she intends to finish out her term on town council.

Councilwoman Syms was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives to represent Legislative District 28 at the Nov. 8 general election, beating out fellow Republican candidate and Town Council member Mary Hamway.
Democrat Kelli Butler of Paradise Valley was also elected to the Arizona House of Representatives to represent Legislative District 28.

The Arizona House of Representatives, which is the lower house of the state Legislature, elects its members to two-year terms with a term limit of four consecutive stints in office.

The Republican Party holds a 36-24 majority in the House while the state’s 30 legislative districts — a district consists of at least 170,000 people — elects two representatives for each district.

District 28 covers an area that extends from Union Hills to Thomas Road, and from Interstate 17 to just east of Scottsdale Road.

The Town of Paradise Valley has no code that prohibits Councilwoman Syms from serving on town council and the Arizona House at the same time.

“I can say that there is not a Paradise Valley town ordinance or council policy regarding a member serving on two governing bodies,” said Paradise Valley Town Clerk Duncan Miller in an Oct. 6 statement. “I cannot speak to whether there is any case law on this at the state level.”

The Town of Paradise Valley Independent asked Councilwoman Syms some questions about how this dual role — one that will be in effect for the next two calendar years — can be tackled effectively.

This is what she had to say:

•Why are you holding onto your town council seat now that you have been elected to the Arizona House of Representatives?

I am extremely grateful to the people of Paradise Valley who have put their faith and confidence in me to represent their interests in maintaining a high quality of life in our town. Having served our town since 2003, longer than any sitting councilmember, I offer a comprehensive understanding of issues important to our residents that helps inform our decisions. I am proud that more than 95 percent of our residents are satisfied with the direction of our community and I feel a responsibility to them to fulfill my commitment and finish out my term.

•A mother, lawyer, town council member and now a member of the Arizona House; are you taking on too much?

There are leaders in Arizona like Gov. Ducey, Attorney General Brnovich, Mayor Collins and many more, as well as the other working parents throughout our state who are successful and effective in each of their roles.
There are many working parents who rise early each day, get the kids up, make breakfast, pack the lunches, do the hair, check the homework and drop the kids at school before going off to work a full-time job out of necessity to put food on the table and out of a desire to make the world better for the next generation.

Balance is something all parents strive to achieve and it takes a team effort. I am confident I will remain effective because I have an extremely supportive husband, responsible children and an abiding commitment to working hard for the people who put their faith in me to represent them.

•Do you see any conflicts of interest developing in terms of Legislature efforts in opposition to town values?

I am not aware of any town values that conflict with the state’s efforts in offering quality education for all Arizona children, improving our economy, creating job growth and keeping families safe.

•If a conflict does arise how will you handle that?

There are procedures to follow in the state Legislature if a conflict does in fact arise and I will follow all ethical rules in fulfilling my duties as a representative.

•What kind of opportunities do you think both elected positions will carry and how will they differ from one another?

I feel very fortunate that each position offers me a unique perspective that could potentially inform my decisions. As a councilmember and long-time volunteer for our town, I have a direct relationship with our residents and it has given me an understanding of the values important to our community such as public safety, for example.

As a representative, I am in a position to support laws and policies that further those values. I welcome the opportunity and I am honored to continue to serve Paradise Valley and our state.

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