|Secretary of State of Arizona|
January 26, 2009
|Preceded by||Jan Brewer|
|President of the Arizona Senate|
January 2003 – January 2007
|Preceded by||Randall Gnant|
|Succeeded by||Tim Bee|
|Born||1959 (age 53–54)
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
|Alma mater||Yavapai College
Arizona State University
Bennett was born in Tucson into a family that were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). He later moved to Prescott, Arizona, where he attended Prescott High School and Yavapai College. Between terms there he served a two-year mission in southern Japan. In 1981 he transferred to Arizona State University and graduated with a degree in accounting.
In 2008, Bennett was named Chief Executive Officer [CEO] of GeoBio Energy, a company attempting to develop and market alternative fuel from plant sources such as algae. Bennett served as CEO of his family fuel distribution business, Bennett's Oil Co., from 1985 to 2006.
In 1989, several underground petroleum storage tanks owned by Bennett's Oil Co. released petroleum into the environment. In the years following, Bennett's undertook various remedies to decontaminate the area, paid for by its insurance company. Bennett's insurer, Federated Mutual Insurance, submitted five separate applications to the state for periodic reimbursement of the cleanup costs. The first four were approved, but the last was denied under a recently enacted statute limiting reimbursement to costs not covered by insurance. Bennett's appealed the denial in court, arguing that the law was intended only to prevent double recovery, not to limit the state to providing only secondary insurance. The court affirmed the state's interpretation of the law and denied reimbursement.
This later came to prominence when as a state senator (see below), Bennett co-sponsored a bill in 2004 which would provide reimbursement for oil company cleanup costs already covered under private insurance. Some accused Bennett of a conflict of interest, given that his own company would benefit from this change. The bill never made it out of committee and did not become law.
Prescott City Council
Bennett was elected to the Prescott City Council in 1985 and served one term and during that term he was Mayor Pro Tem in 1988.
State Board of Education
He was appointed to the Arizona State Board of Education in 1992, serving as president in 1996 and 1998.
In 1998 he was elected to the Arizona State Senate, where he served as Chairman of the Education Committee for two years and President of the Senate for four years (2003–2007). After eight years in the State Senate, he was prevented from seeking re-election in 2006 because of term limits, which he opposes. He abandoned a run for governor in 2006, but he said that he would run for statewide or federal office in the future.
Secretary of State
When Jan Brewer ascended from Arizona Secretary of State to Governor upon Janet Napolitano's resignation to become United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Brewer chose Bennett to be the new Secretary of State. Normally, the Secretary of State is first in line to succeed the Governor should she have resigned, become removed from office, or become permanently disabled from being able to discharge her duties. However, as Bennett was not elected as Secretary of State, then-Attorney General Terry Goddard would have become first in line to succeed Brewer. Bennett was sworn in as Secretary of State on January 26.
In May 2012, Bennett indicated he might attempt to remove President Barack Obama from the 2012 Presidential election ballot. Although Hawaiian officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama's birth in Hawaii, Bennett sought to have Hawaiian officials write to him personally. Bennett stated he had not made a similar request regarding any other Presidential candidate. Bennett denied being a "Birther", stating that he believes Obama was indeed born in Hawaii. Bennett also changed his position regarding the impartial role of the Secretary of State when he agreed to co-chair the presidential bid by Republican Mitt Romney. Bennett acknowledged that is a change in his personal policy. In October 2012, Bennett contributed as a guest columnist to the Sonoran Alliance website which markets itself as offering a 'blatantly conservative worldview'. In the column, Bennett appeals to the conservative readership to make their vote count.
Bennett won election to a full term as Secretary of State in the November 2010 general election, defeating his Democratic opponent Chris Deschene with 59% of the vote. Bennett was sworn in for a full term on January 3, 2011, at this point becoming the first in line to succeed Brewer (who had also been elected to a full term) to the governorship.
In May 2012, Bennett formed an exploratory committee to run for Governor of Arizona in 2014.
- Maricopa County Superior Court, Case LC2003-000524-001
- "Documents For Bill". Azleg.gov. 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
- [dead link]
- "Colleagues laud Bennett as Senate term draws to close". Azcentral.com. 2006-07-16. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
- "News : Prescott's Bennett named Ariz. Secretary of State - Inside Tucson Business azbiz.com newspaper | Arizona News | Tucson Jobs | AZ Business | News and Features for Tucson and Southern Arizona's business and legal communities | Territorial news". Azbiz.com. 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
- Ariz. Const., art. 5, § 6..
- "Arizona Secretary of State Bennett seeks verification of Obama's citizenship". Azcentral.com. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
- "Bennett changes personal policy, co-chairs Romney campaign". East Value Tribune.com. 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2012-10-17.
- "Ken Bennett: Arizona’s Voter Turnout Rates". Sonoran Alliance. 2012-10-10. Retrieved 2012-10-17.
- Náñez, Dianna M. and Gersema, Emily (2010-11-03). "Republican Ken Bennett defeats Chris Deschene". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
- "Secretary of State Ken Bennett eyes 2014 gubernatorial race". azcentral.com. 2012-05-06. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
|President of the Arizona Senate
|Secretary of State of Arizona