Pima County Supervisor Ann Day, who still calls herself a "cowgirl from the Lazy B" ranch, is hanging up her spurs after 22 years in political office.
The Republican announced Thursday she won't be running again when her term comes up in 2012.
The announcement, which is sure to launch a scramble for the open seat, caps a career that included 10 years in the state Senate and 12 years representing District 1, which runs north of the Rillito and includes Oro Valley, parts of Marana and the Catalina Foothills.
"It's the right time," said Day, who will be 73 next month. "Democracy needs fresh recruits."
Around her office are mementos and relics, from cowboy poetry to pictures of three grandchildren and a photo of her father branding a calf. She points to a photo of H.C. Day, her grandfather, who started the Lazy B in 1880 and served as the chairman of the Board of Supervisors in Graham County. His mantra was to deserve the trust of the voters - something she said has resonated with her. "The voters have given me their trust and I have tried to return that trust each and every day," Day said.
Day's upbringing on the rural eastern Arizona ranch - with sister, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and brother, Alan - gave her an independent streak that shaped her politics. If a cow was sick, vets weren't nearby. If a ranch hand broke a bone, someone there had to set it.
That streak served her in a legislative caucus that often ran counter to her moderate breed of politics. It helped fuel her reputation as a consumer advocate, spearheading reforms in the HMO industry and helping establish cancer patients' rights to clinical trial treatments.
She continues to be outspoken, whether it's criticizing county spending or expressing frustration about her GOP colleagues now serving in the Legislature.
Read more of this story in Friday's Arizona Daily Star
Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4243.