New Arizona Congressmen Acclimate To Jobs In DC

Published: Sunday, March 5, 2017 - 5:05am

The newest members of Arizona’s congressional contingent are getting acclimated to their jobs in Washington, D.C. But, while one is already moving up the ranks, another said he’s being largely ignored.

Tom O’Halleran previously served as a Republican in the Arizona House and Senate. He switched parties after breaking ranks with far right factions in the GOP in 2014 and was elected as a Democrat to the state’s 1st Congressional District, defeating former Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu in November.

As a 71-year-old freshman minority backbencher in the U.S. House, O’Halleran said he feels he’s being left in the dark.

“I’m afraid there’s far less transparency than even that the Arizona State Legislature had, so I’m disappointed in that," O'Halleran said. "The(re’s a) lack of even being able to fully have any real knowledge of what bills are going to be coming to the floor a day ahead of time, that we’re going to be voting on.”

O’Halleran is one of two freshman Arizona Congressmen that come to D.C. from the state Legislature.

The other, former Senate President Andy Biggs, a Republican from the 5th District based in Mesa, has already been named chairman of his own subcommittee on the Environment, within the House Science, Space and Technology committee.