Sen. Michele Reagan, the inaugural winner for Best Handbag, a new category for 2011 Best of the Capitol, is a little reluctant to discuss the honor, as her husband might read it and discover the true extent of her collection.
“I don’t want to tell you how many I have,” she laughs.
When pressed, however, she passionately dives into a colorful description of her handbags, some of which she calls “crazy” and others “conservative.” Some bags in her collection feature cartoon images and Armani labels, while others are fashioned out of tin or laced in sequins.
Despite the effervescent nature of her collection, however, Reagan describes her own fashion style as more serious, as befits her position as a longtime legislator.
Reagan was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2002 and served six years as chairman of the House Commerce Committee. In 2010, she was elected to the Arizona Senate.
“Typically, I dress very conservatively,” she says, noting that, as a lawmaker, she feels better prepared for the demands of the day when attired “in a nice suit and a great pair of shoes.”
In fact, she says that while her handbag collection be noteworthy, she is also proud of her shoe collection, and is eager to snag the “Best Shoes” award when Best of the Capitol swings around next year.
“I’m going for it again,” says Reagan. “Tell (Sen.) Kyrsten Sinema it’s on. The campaigning starts now.”
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is no stranger to the “Best Of” list, having previously won a slew
of honors as a highly influential legislator and as one of the most stylish women at the Capitol.
This year, her presence on the awards list is again felt across the board, as the best Democratic senator in the 50th Legislature, and as an elegantly attired lawmaker boasting a remarkable shoe collection.
Sinema says she is simply honored to be able to advocate for the members of her district — while looking great, of course.
“Serving my constituents each and every day as their senator by fighting for public schools, holding government accountable and making sure big corporations and the rich pay their fair share
is one of the greatest honors I have as an elected official,” Sinema says. “Doing it in great style and fabulous shoes is just a bonus!”
Fortunately, Sinema is not only a seasoned lawmaker but also an accomplished shopper and a supporter of the many unique boutiques and clothing stores of her central Phoenix legislative district.
“But I don’t think my clothes and shoes make me a better legislator,” Sinema says. “My style — sort of a ‘colorful contemporary meets retro classic’ — is actually the last thing on my mind during the days when I’m working to pass good bills, defeat bad bills and secure a strong future for Arizona.”
Sinema maintains a rigorous schedule working as a lawyer when the Legislature is not in session, and as an adjunct professor in ASU’s School of Social Work, where she is also a doctoral candidate.
In 2010, Sinema was named one of Time magazine’s “40 Under 40” movers and shakers in American politics.
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