Steve Farley

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Steve Farley
Steve Farley by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Member of the Arizona Senate
from the 9th district
In office
January 14, 2013 – January 14, 2019
Preceded byRick Murphy
Succeeded byVictoria Steele
Member of the Arizona House of Representatives
from the 28th district
In office
January 2007 – January 2013
Preceded byTed Downing
Succeeded byEric Meyer
Personal details
Born (1962-12-24) December 24, 1962 (age 56)
Upland, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationWilliams College (BA)

Steve Farley (born December 24, 1962) is an American politician, artist, and graphic designer who previously served as a State Senator from Arizona, including serving in the capacity of assistant minority leader. He also served previously in the Arizona House of Representatives, serving as assistant minority leader there as well. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

A native of California, Farley is a graduate of Williams College, where he obtained a degree in political science. As an artist, his work includes a ceramic tile mural at the Broadway Underpass, at the eastern gateway to downtown Tucson. Farley developed a method for converting photographs into ceramic tiles, and has worked on similar projects throughout the country. Since being elected as a state legislator, Farley has focused on investment in education, healthcare, and public transportation. He was the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee.

On June 5, 2017, Farley announced he was running for Governor of Arizona in the 2018 election, challenging Republican incumbent Governor Doug Ducey, but lost in the Democratic primary. He unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination in the 2019 Tucson mayoral election.

Early life and education[edit]

Farley was born in Upland, California to two public school teachers. As a teenager, Farley heard stories of how administrators at his mother's school micromanaged teachers and exerted unnecessarily strong control over classrooms, so he went to the local papers attempting to expose the injustice in his school system. The reporter didn't feel like running with the story.[1]

He graduated from Williams College in 1985 with a degree in political science.


Farley began his foray into politics as a citizen advocate for increased investment in public transportation, and aided in the approval of the comprehensive regional transportation system which created Pima County's Regional Transportation Authority.

Farley was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2006, and became the assistant minority leader in 2010. In 2011, he proposed a controversial 300% tax hike on all medical marijuana sold in Arizona,[2] but his bill did not become law. In 2012, he was elected to the Arizona Senate. Farley served on the Finance, Appropriations, and Joint Legislative Budget committees where he oversaw the $10 billion state budget. He has also served on the Ethics, Government and Environment, and Transportation committees.[3] He was Senate Assistant Minority Leader[4] and the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.[4]

In 2012, Farley campaigned on issues like investing in new technologies and high-wage jobs, expanding health care for self-employed and small-business owners and making long-term care more affordable for middle-class seniors, in addition to his work in increasing the production of clean solar energy, outlawing driving while texting and protecting Tucson's sovereignty.[5] Farley opposed the controversial Arizona SB 1070 and worked with Governor Jan Brewer to expand Medicaid, bringing healthcare to 400,000 Arizonans.[6] During Farley's last term in the Arizona Senate, he was one of the key Democratic lawmakers who helped the Red4Ed movement gain steam and bring forth a $415 million increased investment in Arizona public schools and a 20% pay increase for teachers.

During his time in the state legislature, Farley put out a weekly Farley Report to inform his constituents on the inner workings of state government. His lengthy blog posts helped explain obscure and complex policies and kept Arizonans up-to-date on state issues.

On June 5, 2017, Farley announced his campaign for Governor of Arizona against incumbent Republican Governor Doug Ducey. Farley lost the Democratic primary to David Garcia.[7] In the campaign, Farley played towards his comprehensive knowledge of the state budget and sold himself as a policy wonk. He proposed closing tax loopholes to secure greater funding for public education, saying "I know we have the money, we've just chosen to give it away," and criticized the Arizona economy for benefiting those at the top more than the average Arizonan.

On January 10, 2019, Farley announced his campaign for Mayor of Tucson, Arizona.[8] He has been campaigning on a platform focused on economic development, environmental preparedness, and investment in education and public transportation. He has proposed creating a public healthcare option for Tucson residents, switching diesel engine buses to electrical engines powered by solar energy, creating a resiliency plan for extreme climate emergencies, and preparing Tucson's economy to be competitive in emerging industries.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Farley is also a prominent artist, whose work appears throughout Tucson, including the iconic ceramic tile mural by the Broadway Underpass, at the eastern gateway to downtown Tucson.[10] Farley developed a method for converting photographs to ceramic tiles, which has led to him working on several similar projects throughout the country.[11]

Farley is engaged to Kitt Leonard, an IT specialist at the Tucson Medical Center, and has two children.[3][4]


  1. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Nintzel, Jim. "Farley: Why I Proposed a 300% Tax on Medical Marijuana". Tucson Weekly. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Senator Steve Farley". Arizona State Legislature. Archived from the original on August 9, 2013. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "Meet Steve". Farley for Arizona. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  5. ^ Benson, Phil (November 7, 2012). "Rep. Steve Farley wins AZ Senate seat in Legislative District 9". CBS5AZ. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  6. ^ "Candidate: Steve Farley". Arizona Star. Archived from the original on August 21, 2013. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  7. ^ Nunez, Steve. "UPDATE: Democrat Steve Farley announces run for AZ governor".
  8. ^ "Steve Farley announces run for Tucson mayor". Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  9. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Nintzel, Jim (August 4, 2005). "Steve Farley". Tucson Weekly. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  11. ^ "Senate Member - Steve Farley". Arizona State Legislature. Retrieved June 16, 2017.

External links[edit]