Rep. Espinoza

Diego Espinoza of Tolleson says it has been an “honor and privilege to serve in the Arizona House of Representatives for the past eight years.” (File Photo)

Rep. Diego Espinoza of Tolleson resigned his seat in the Arizona House Sept. 5 — and will also forgo his victorious primary election win for a seat in the State Senate — to join Salt River Project’s government and community relations team. 

Espinoza has served four terms in the House, and 14 years on the Tolleson City Council prior to that. As a lawmaker, Espinoza was instrumental in passing a bi-partisan state budget, a state referendum for in-state tuition for DACA recipients, and stronger tools for law enforcement to combat catalytic converter theft. 

Espinoza is also the west region chair of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators and a member with National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund.

“It has been a honor and a privilege to serve in the Arizona House of Representatives for the past eight years,” Espinoza said. 

“In that time, we have addressed many key issues for our great state. I am proud of the many accomplishments for my legislative district, our Latino community, Arizona, and our country. However, the most memorable will be delivering for our Democratic Caucus with this past budget — championing key investments for our indigenous communities, infrastructure, social services and lastly, a record investment in education.”

At SRP, Espinoza will focus on municipal government and community relations. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will be responsible for appointing a replacement to fill out the remainder of Espinoza’s term. The Senate seat in newly drawn Legislative District 22 will be open to a write-in candidate

“I’m very excited,” Espinoza said. “It wasn’t something that was planned. I applied, on the May 29, had some communication and then didn’t hear anything. On Aug. 3, I received information that I am the candidate. I discussed that with my seatmate, Sen. (Lupe) Contreras, the opportunity that was presented and I wanted to take it.”

He said it wasn’t a secret that he was looking to retire from politics after 21 years. Espinoza’s legacy is set. He recently announced $1.5 million in funding for mental health for the West Valley. 

“I leave with very good examples of what we can be doing,” he said. “It’s a great time to retire. It’s been a team effort, but I’ve put my grain of salt toward the great state of Arizona.”

Maricopa County Supervisor District 5 Steve Gallardo thanked Espinoza for his work in a statement. 

“I would like to thank Rep. Diego Espinoza for serving the people of Legislative District 19 in the Arizona House of Representatives,” Gallardo said.

“He served his constituents well and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board of supervisors to fill that open position. We will announce a process in the coming days in accordance with Arizona statute.

“Rep. Espinoza was also the lone candidate running for the Arizona Senate in the new Legislative District 22. After withdrawing from this race, the position will be open to write-in candidates who must register with the secretary of state office by Sept. 29, 2022. I encourage qualified candidates to consider this opportunity to be a part of the legislative process.”