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Arizona Governor's Top Aide, Kirk Adams, Leaving Post

Emmanuel Lozano/The Arizona Republic/File

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's chief of staff, Kirk Adams, said Monday that he is stepping down after helping the Republican governor negotiate his first term in office.

Adams said that although he's loved every minute of the high-pressure job it is time to "move on and find another adventure."

"When I say this is the best job in the country, I really do feel that way," Adams said in an interview. "It's just that I don't think you can do it for eight years. And plus, change is good. For any organization I think after a while you have the risk of running stale."

Adams is a former Arizona House speaker who became chief of staff after Ducey was elected in 2014. The chief of staff helps the governor set policy and negotiate with lawmakers on budget and other issues. Ducey won re-election Nov. 6.

Adams has been seen as a potential pick for the late Sen. John McCain's seat now held by Jon Kyl.

Kyl said when he was appointed in September that he might serve only until January. If he leaves, Ducey will appoint a replacement until 2020, when there will be an election to fill the last two years of McCain's term.

Ducey has sidestepped questions about a potential replacement for Kyl.

"We have this hard and fast rule that we don't comment on any of this, because right now there is no vacancy," Adams said.

Ducey praised Adams as a critical member of his team.

"Kirk's long list of accomplishments prior to joining our team has grown exponentially over the last four years thanks to his unrivaled talent, policy depth, remarkable leadership and ability to build consensus among Arizona stakeholders," Ducey said in a statement.

Adams said he's not sure what he'll be doing next. The 45-year-old Republican from Mesa was appointed to the state House in 2006, won a full term later that year and became speaker two years later. He resigned his House seat in 2011 for an unsuccessful 2012 bid for Congress.

He headed Ducey's transition team after the 2014 election and was later named chief of staff.

Ducey's office announced Monday that Daniel Scarpinato will replace Adams as chief of staff. Scarpinato served as the governor's deputy chief of staff for communications and strategic planning until July when we joined Ducey's reelection campaign. 

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