Arizona State Sen. Kimberly Yee Expresses Interest in Franks’ Seat

Staunchly conservative Republican would be first Chinese-American Republican woman in House

Kimberly Yee has made her mark on a host of issues including abortion, education and government mismanagement. (Kimberly Yee for Arizona 2016)

Arizona state Sen. Kimberly Yee expressed interest in replacing Republican Rep. Trent Franks after he announced his resignation on Thursday.

Franks, who represents Arizona’s 8th District, announced he would resign after amid a House Ethics Committee Investigation about discussions he had with two female staffers about surrogacy.

In a message to CQ, Yee responded “Yes, I am interested.”

“I have received a lot of encouragement to run for Congress and I am considering it,” she wrote.

If elected, Yee would be the first Republican woman of Chinese descent elected to the House of Representatives.

Former Republican Sen. Hiram Fong of Hawaii was the first senator of Asian-American descent to be elected.

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Former Rep. Charles Djou, who won a special election in 2010, was the first Chinese American Republican to serve in the House. 

Yee was the first Asian American woman elected to Arizona's legislature. When she campaigned for a full term in the House of Representatives in 2010, some suggested she not use her last name.

Like Franks, Yee is staunchly opposed to abortion and calls herself a “family values, fiscal conservative.”

In 2011, Yee authored a bill that was signed into law that would require doctors to give women seeking an abortion an ultrasound and give them the option to see images of the fetus. She also sponsored a bill banning most abortions after 20 weeks, which was later struck down by federal courts.

Yee worked in both California and Arizona politics before her election, working as a staffer in the state senate as well as for Republican California Govs. Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Franks will resign his seat on Jan. 31 and Gov. Doug Ducey will have to hold a special election six months before the 2018 midterm election.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the seat Solid Republican.

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