PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today announced that former Senator Jon Kyl has agreed to serve in the U.S. Senate again, filling the seat vacated by the late Senator John McCain.
As Arizona’s Senator, Kyl will serve through at least the second session of the 115th Congress, concluding this year.
“There is no one in Arizona more prepared to represent our state in the U.S. Senate than Jon Kyl. He understands how the Senate functions, and will make an immediate and positive impact benefiting all Arizonans. I am deeply grateful to Senator Kyl for agreeing to succeed his friend and colleague of so many years. Every single day that Jon Kyl represents Arizona in the United States Senate is a day when our state is being well-served,” said Governor Doug Ducey.
Senator Kyl represented Arizona in the United States Senate from 1995 through January 3, 2013. There, he served as Senate Minority Whip, the second-highest ranking position in the Republican conference. Prior to his service in the Senate, he was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1987 through 1995.
“We are all saddened by the circumstances that required this appointment and appreciate there was only one John McCain. John and I served the people of Arizona for nearly two decades, and in that spirit, along with Senator Flake, I will do my best to ensure Arizonans are well represented in the Senate. There is much-unfinished business, including confirmation of President Trump’s nominees for judicial and executive branch positions, and I look forward to getting to work on behalf of my fellow Arizonans,” said Senator Jon Kyl.
As a member of the Senate, Kyl will be a voice for Arizona on critical issues confronting our state and nation, including appropriations bills, executive branch vacancies, among others. His expertise on water and natural resource issues will be very beneficial to our state as we face new challenges in those areas. The Kyl Center for Water Policy, named for Senator Kyl, is housed at the Morrison Institute at Arizona State University. Over the last few months, Senator Kyl has been working closely with the White House on the senate confirmation of the President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. Now, Senator Kyl can cast a vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
About Jon Kyl
Jon Kyl served with John McCain as a United States Senator representing Arizona from 1995 to 2013. Prior to his service in the Senate, he was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1987 through 1995. Kyl retired from Congress in January 2013 as the second-highest ranking Republican senator. During Senator Kyl’s 26 years in Congress, he built a reputation for mastering the complexities of legislative policy and coalition building, first in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate. In 2010, Time magazine called Kyl one of the 100 most influential people in the world, noting his “encyclopedic knowledge of domestic and foreign policy, and his hard work and leadership” and his “power to persuade.” In 2012, Kyl was named Arizonan of the Year by the Arizona Republic.
As a member of the Judiciary Committee, Kyl helped write reforms to U.S. patent law, the landmark Crime Victims’ Rights Act, as well as important provisions of the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and other anti-terrorism laws. As a member of the Finance Committee, he was the chief advocate of pro-growth tax policies, including low tax rates on income, capital gains, dividends and estates. He was a member of the Joint Select Committee for deficit reductions, the so-called “Super Committee.” He’s been a leader on water and land-use issues, leading to the formation of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at the Morrison Institute at Arizona State University, which bears his name.
Before his public service, Kyl practiced law at Jennings, Strouss & Salmon in Phoenix. In 1985, he served as chairman of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. Born in Oakland, Nebraska, Kyl received both his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Arizona. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was editor-in-chief of the Arizona Law Review. He and his wife Caryll have two children, Kristine Kyl Gavin and John Kyl, and four grandchildren.
Governor Ducey's Remarks
Governor Ducey gave the following remarks announcing the appointment of Senator Jon Kyl to the U.S. Senate on September 4, 2018:
We’ve just concluded a very difficult week for our state and country.
John McCain was an American hero, and we were very blessed to have had him as our senator. We’re all aware of the size of the void John McCain leaves.
Our prayers and hearts remain with the McCain family and will we continue to celebrate the life of John McCain.
I want to start off by saying: All of us hoped today would never come. But it has come.
I realize what an important decision this is, and that there is no replacing Senator John McCain.
But the law requires me to do it, and the people of Arizona deserve representation in the U.S. Senate. It’s a decision that I made with careful and thoughtful deliberation.
As you can imagine, I received a lot of advice from people about this selection – most of it unsolicited.
However, the best piece of advice came from another governor who told me: “Just do the right thing. Pick the best possible person, regardless of politics.”
It was really good advice. And clarifying advice. And it made my job easy.
As I contemplated who could best serve our state in the U.S. Senate, I kept coming back to one name and one person, Jon Kyl.
There is no one in Arizona with the stature of Senator Kyl.
He is a man without comparable peer.
With nearly two decades experience in the Senate -- serving alongside John McCain -- Senator Kyl is prepared to hit the ground running.
Over the last few months, Senator Kyl has been working closely with the White House on the senate confirmation of President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh.
Now, Senator Kyl can cast a vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
He’s a beacon of integrity -- highly regarded by people on both sides of the aisle and able to work across party lines to get results.
There’s a reason he was considered one of the best senators in the country – it’s because he was.
He’s an expert on the matters facing Arizona: Water; land-use; and issues facing our Native American communities.
I want someone who can enter and lead these conversations.
For those reasons, I have asked Senator Jon Kyl to step forward once again, in a spirit of service, to aid our state and serve in the seat vacated by Arizona’s most beloved, adopted son, John McCain.
People automatically assume that this appointment will serve through 2020.
I haven’t been able to get that assurance from Sen. Kyl yet.
What I have gotten is a commitment to serve Arizona through at least this session of Congress, and it’s my hope that he serves longer.
There is far too much work before the Senate, work that is important and consequential to our state and our nation.
Work that demands immediate attention. It’s not the time for newcomers and now is not the time for on-the-job training.
Arizona needs someone who can hit the ground running on Day One, and that’s Jon Kyl.
The fact is every single day that Jon Kyl represents Arizona in the United States Senate is a day when our state is being well-served.
At the memorial here in the state capitol last week, Senator Kyl spoke of how Senator McCain always put the interests of Arizona and America before all else.
Senator Kyl has done the same throughout his own service to our state and nation, and will do so again.
Lastly, I also want to thank Caryll Kyl. She has been so kind and giving and selfless, and we sincerely appreciate her.
No question, these are difficult circumstances. But we are blessed to have the leadership and statesmanship of Jon Kyl as we come together and move forward.
Senator Jon Kyl's Remarks
Jon Kyl gave the following remarks following Governor Ducey's announcement of his appointment to the U.S. Senate on September 4, 2018:
I am grateful for Governor Ducey’s confidence in me and honored to accept his appointment.
We are all saddened by the circumstances that required this appointment and appreciate there was only one John McCain.
John and I served the people of Arizona together for nearly 20 years, and in that spirit, along with Senator Flake, I will do my best to ensure Arizonans continue to be well represented in the U.S. Senate.
The governor asked me to serve for the remainder of the term, and he’s made some very convincing points. I have committed to serving at least through the second session of the 115th Congress. I do know, I will not seek this seat in 2020, nor any other in the future.
I am accepting the appointment to fill the seat vacated by the passing my of dear friend because of: 1) my sense of duty to the state I love, 2) the institution of the Senate in which I served for 18 years, 3) the governor has asked for my help and 4) because I am putting country first – just as this seat’s previous occupant did every single day for more than 30 years.
For now, there is much-unfinished business on the Senate’s calendar, including confirmation of President Trump’s nominees to judicial and executive branch positions. I look forward to going to Washington and getting to work.