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First female Asian-American Arizona Sen. Kimberly Yee seeks to inspire minorities and increase voter

By Angel Mendoza

The Arizona State Legislature serves as a breeding ground for debates on the future of state policy and has a new voice seeking to bring historically underrepresented demographics to the forefront of local politics.

Sen. Kimberly Yee became the state's first female, Asian-American legislator in and said she wants to inspire other people who come from minority backgrounds to get involved in the political process.

Although Arizona achieved statehood over a century ago, it wasn’t until 2010 when Yee gained a position as a state representative, thus becoming the first Asian-American woman to be elected into state legislature in the state’s history.

She was later elected to the Arizona State Senate in 2012. Yee is a Republican representing parts of Phoenix, Peoria and Glendale.

After graduating from Pepperdine University with a bachelor's degree and acquiring a master’s degree at ASU, Yee said she went on to spend most of her career working for elected officials.

“Never did I think I would run for office myself,” she said.

She said that prior to her appointment to the state legislature, she spent a lot of time being active in many campaigns that helped her better understand politics over policy.

Her status as the first female Asian-American to represent constituents at the state's capitol never crossed her mind while running for office, she said.

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