Tucson's Andrés Cano elected leader of Az House Democrats
Rep. Andrés Cano, a Tucson legislator, was elected to head the Democratic caucus in the state House of Representatives on Thursday.
First elected in 2018, the 30-year-old Cano will serve as the leader of what is likely to remain the minority party in the Arizona Legislature — although a handful of races still remain too close to call after Tuesday's election.
Cano represents Legislative District 20, which covers much of Tucson's Northwest Side, including the Flowing Wells area, parts of Midtown running east to Country Club Road, and the West and Southwest sides. He was re-elected without opposition on Tuesday, along with seat-mate Rep. Alma Hernandez.
House Democratic lawmakers also tapped Rep.-elect and current Sen. Lupe Contreras of LD 22 as assistant leader and returning Reps. Melody Hernandez (LD 8) and Marcelino Quiñonez (LD 11) as co-whips.
"Today we elected quality leaders and look forward to having a dynamic, diverse and unified caucus to defend our public schools, secure our long-term water needs and fight for reproductive and civil rights in the session ahead," Cano said in a news release. "We were inspired by our ability to pass a historic bi-partisan budget earlier this year because that's what Arizonans expect—to work together. With so many outstanding new members, we are looking to get past the gridlock and commit to delivering solutions for our constituents."
Cano was a protégé of the late Pima County Supervisor Richard Elías, serving as an aide in his office, with many political observers seeing him as an eventual successor prior to the supervisor's death in office in 2020. Cano began his government work as the youngest policy advisor in county history, in 2012, working in constituent outreach.
He is the director of the LGBTQ+ Alliance Fund at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona.
In the Legislature, Cano sits on the House Committee on Ways & Means, and serves as the ranking democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources, Energy, & Water.
In the news release from the House Democrats, Hernandez said, "Our diversity is our strength, and I think our team really represents the people who are both returning and coming in for the first time. Everyone on this team is dedicated to making our members feel supported and making sure they have everything they need to be as successful as possible, not just for their district but for all of Arizona."
"This is a cohesive unit that is ready to lead and take the voices of all of our members and lead on behalf of all Arizonans," Quiñonez said.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported Cano’s age by one year.