Athena Salman

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Athena Salman
Athena Salman by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Member of the Arizona House of Representatives
from the 26th district
Assumed office
January 9, 2017
Serving with Isela Blanc
Preceded byJuan Mendez
Personal details
Born1989 (age 29–30)
Political partyDemocratic

Athena Salman is an American politician, activist and a Democratic member of the Arizona House of Representatives elected to represent District 26 in 2016.

Salman currently serves as the Minority Whip of the Arizona House of Representatives.


Salman is a native Arizonan and International Baccalaureate alumna. She graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University with degrees in economics and political science.[1]


Salman spoke at the 2017 American Atheists Convention.

Salman, an atheist,[2] made national headlines during her first legislative session when she gave a humanist prayer on the House floor, which was ruled out of order by the Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives.[3]

In 2018, Salman's legislation to provide unlimited feminine hygiene products to incarcerated women was heard in an all-male committee.[4] As a result, a viral campaign to pressure immediate change ensued [5] leading to a policy change by the Arizona Department of Corrections that increased the allotment of pads and for the first time included tampons.[6]

Salman was one of nine women to come forward with sexual harassment allegations against former Arizona House of Representatives member, Don Shooter; eventually leading to his expulsion.[7]

Salman supported Proposition 205 in 2016, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana for those 21 and older.[8] Salman also supports public education, immigration reform, reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality.[9]


Salman was recognized as 2018 Best Politician by Phoenix New Times[10] and named by The Arizona Republic's top ten newsmakers to watch in 2019.[9] Salman and state senator Juan Mendez received Phoenix New Time's 2017 Best Power Couple.[11] She was also awarded the City of Tempe's MLK Diversity Award in 2016.[12]


In 2016, Salman defeated incumbent Celeste Plumlee and Michael Martinez in the District 26 Democratic primary. Salman defeated Republican Steven Adkins and Green party candidate Cara Trujillo in the general election.[13] In 2018, Salman defeated Republican Ray Speakman in the general election.[14]

In both elections, Salman ran as a Clean Election Candidate and received no PAC contributions.[1]


  1. ^ a b Athena Salman Ballotpedia, 2019-01-25, retrieved 2019-01-25
  2. ^ Friendly Atheist. "Athena Salman, Openly Atheist Candidate for Arizona State House, Wins Race". Retrieved Mar 21, 2019.
  3. ^ Nichols, John (2017-04-21). "Arizona Legislator Gave an Invocation that Didn't Mention God. You Won't Believe What Happened Next". Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  4. ^ Jenkins, Jimmy (2018-02-05). "'Pads And Tampons And The Problems With Periods:' All-Male Committee Hears Arizona Bill On Feminine Hygiene Products In Prison". Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  5. ^ Vera, Amir (2018-02-13). "Why women in Arizona are sending a state representative pads and tampons". Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  6. ^ White, Kaila (2018-02-21). "Arizona prisons will now give female inmates free tampons". Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  7. ^ Stracqualursi, Veronica (2018-02-02). "GOP lawmaker expelled from Arizona House after report finds pattern of sexual harassment". Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  8. ^ "District 26 candidates define their positions at debate". 2016-10-28. Retrieved 2017-03-25.
  9. ^ a b "Top Ten Newsmakers You'll Want to Watch in 2019". 2016-10-28. Retrieved 2019-01-25.
  10. ^ BEST POLITICIAN Athena Salman, 2018-06-15, retrieved 2019-01-25
  11. ^ BEST POWER COUPLE Juan Mendez and Athena Salman, 2017-06-15, retrieved 2019-01-25
  12. ^ Past City of Tempe MLK Diversity Award Winners, retrieved 2019-01-25
  13. ^ "State of Arizona Official Canvass 2016 General Election November 8, 2016" (PDF). Phoenix, Arizona: Secretary of State of Arizona. p. 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-12-20. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  14. ^ "State of Arizona Official Canvass 2018 General Election November 6, 2018" (PDF). Phoenix, Arizona: Secretary of State of Arizona. p. 17. Retrieved January 25, 2019.

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