What makes Jan Brewer the most powerful female governor among the six currently in charge of various states? It’s a combination of name recognition, bold policy moves and governing one of the key swing states this election cycle. Per Arizona’s line of succession, Brewer was appointed governor in 2009 after then-governor Janet Napolitano was chosen as President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security.
Before serving as governor, Brewer was Arizona’s Secretary of State from 2003-09, a state senator from 1987-97, and a state representative from 1983-87. As governor, Brewer signed the now-controversial Arizona SB 1070, which made it a state misdemeanor for aliens to be in Arizona without carrying registration documents and required police officers stopping or arresting someone to determine a person’s immigration status if they suspect the person is an illegal immigrant. The bill stirred up outrage among Hispanic-Americans across the country, was immediately challenged by lawyers and was heard by the Supreme Court in April.
With Arizona, won by John McCain in 2008, currently a toss-up between Mitt Romney and Obama, Brewer has been unafraid to be critical of Obama on issues near and dear to her constituents and party, particularly illegal immigration. Romney will need her help to deliver Arizona to the GOP column again in 2012.