State Sen. Linda Lopez is calling it quits.
The Tucson Democrat said she will submit her resignation to the Senate leadership next month to focus on her new job with the Easter Seals Blake Foundation.
Lopez said she started working for the foundation in October as director of children and family services.
“This is a really, really, really big job that I absolute love because it takes me back to the kind of work that I did before I got into the Legislature,’’ she said, adding that the job lets her have a “direct impact’’ on children and families.
“It just does not fit with being a legislator,’’ Lopez said. “You just cannot do this job part time.’’
Lopez said her decision to leave has nothing to do with what amounted to a coup by Senate Democrats last month, when they toppled Leah Landrum Taylor as the minority leader.
Lopez, who was the No. 2 Democrat, had already announced she intended to quit the leadership post. She said what subsequently occurred with putting a new Democratic leadership team in place “just made it easier’’ to leave the Senate entirely.
The exact timing will depend on how it affects her retirement. As a legislator she is a member of the Elected Officials Retirement Plan. Benefits are computed based on years of service.
Lopez said since her service started the second week of January 2001, she likely would need to stay through the second week of 2014 to get credit for her last year of service.
Once she resigns, the district’s Democratic Party precinct committeemen and women recommend three possible replacements from whom the Board of Supervisors must make a selection. Like Lopez, the appointee must be a Democrat and live in District 2.
Potential replacements include current LD2 Rep. Andrea Dalessandro, D-Sahuarita, who has already begun lobbying for the appointment, telling supporters on Facebook she asked to run for the open seat a few months ago.
Other possible replacements include former state lawmakers Victor Soltero and Tom Prezelski.