Arizona Corporation Commission member appointed to Energy Department

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Arizona Corporation Commissioner Doug Little has taken a job with the Department of Energy as a deputy assistant

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Doug Little has taken a job with the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., as a deputy assistant secretary for intergovernmental and external affairs.

Little, one of Arizona's five elected utility commissioners, plans to resign from the commission and assume the federal post on Oct. 2. His move gives Gov. Doug Ducey the opportunity to make his second appointment to the Commission in two years. The appointee will be able to serve the remainder of Little's term, which runs through 2018.

“To have an impact on energy policy on a national level, that is something you can't say no to.”

Doug Little

Little was elected in 2014 and served last year as chairman of the commission, which regulates electric, water and gas utilities in Arizona. The commission's other duties include oversight for railroad crossings, pipeline safety, power-line siting and securities regulation.

"I think it is going to be really fascinating," Little said. "I love the job I have here at the commission. It is very fulfilling. I love the people here at the commission. They are a great, hardworking team. But this is one of those things that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To have an impact on energy policy on a national level, that is something you can't say no to."

The commission was Little's first elected office. He retired from the software industry and now owns a Scottsdale gun range and self-defense training company called Armed Personal Defense.

As an instructor at the school, he teaches not only courses on concealed weapons, but a variety of rifle and pistol classes, including AR15 and Kalashnikov fighting and defensive knife skills, according to the website.

At the Corporation Commission, Little joined the board of directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and also served on the board of the Western Conference of Public Service Commissioners and as vice chair of the state regulators for the Western Energy Imbalance Market, a group that helps schedule power plant operations more efficiently throughout the region.

Little was nominated by fellow commissioners to serve as the chairman in December 2015 after Chairwoman Susan Bitter Smith resigned amid a conflict of interest dispute.

That resignation gave Ducey the opportunity to appoint former state lawmaker Andy Tobin to the commission. That appointment was made less than two weeks after Bitter Smith resigned. Tobin subsequently won election last year and is serving a four-year term.

Little faced a brutal Republican primary in 2014 when he and now-Chairman Tom Forese ran as a team. Arizona Public Service Co., the largest company regulated by the commission, is widely believed to have contributed to the $3.2 million in "dark money" that was spent supporting Little and Forese.

APS has not denied its involvement and, since then, has chosen to disclose any money spent on such elections.

Republican and Democratic challengers to Little in 2014 jumped on the fact that so much money was supporting him and Forese without any disclosure of who was funding the advertisements.

A group called Tell Utilities Solar Won't Be Killed, funded by rooftop-solar leasing companies, aired advertisements portraying Little as a Pomeranian "lap dog" to APS. Little's campaign made a joke of the ads by raising money for dog-rescue groups.

Possible appointees to fill Little's position could include former Democrat Rodney Glassman, who has switched parties and is running as a Republican in 2018. Glassman said previously he only intended to run if there was a vacancy on the commission with Forese running for state treasurer.

State Rep. Brenda Barton also has formed a committee to run for the commission in 2018 but could not be appointed because she is still in the Legislature.

When Ducey was considering Tobin's appointment, several people wrote his office to nominate themselves or others for the position. Those people, who could also be hoping for an appointment this time, include:

  • Former state Sen. Lori Klein Corbin. Klein Corbin drew attention in 2011 when she pointed a loaded pistol at an Arizona Republic reporter's chest during an interview to demonstrate its laser sight.
  • Lakeside retiree Larry Consolver. Consolver said in his letter he is a veteran, former commercial insurance broker and lifetime holder of a special Arizona hunting license that allows him to kill wildlife from a vehicle or watercraft and is issued to those with a severe, permanent disability, among other qualifications.
  • Former Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control Director D. Alan Everett. Everett reported in his letter that he has 25 years in management with Amoco Oil Co. He also said he had reached out to the governor months before Bitter Smith actually resigned.
  • Former Union Pacific Railroad Co. Public Affairs Director Zoe Richmond. The spokeswoman for the railroad was endorsed for the commission by Richard Travis, a principal in the Triadvocates lobbying firm. Union Pacific is regulated by the Corporation Commission, which determines what type of safety devices or underpass/overpass are used at each of its hundreds of road crossings in the state.
  • Carefree Mayor Les Peterson. Peterson cited experience working for Procter & Gamble, where he “was heavily involved in business analysis and planning with leading companies.” He also cited experience through involvement with a wastewater rate case in Carefree.

Other candidates who at least initiated a run for the commission previously and also might be interested in the job include former Sen. Al Melvin, Gilbert Councilman Eddie Cook and former Rep. Rick Gray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Article Arizona Corporation Commission member appointed to Energy Department compiled by Original article here

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