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TUCSON, Ariz. Arizona Sen. Linda Lopez is drawing criticism from colleagues for not leaving her post sooner after she conceded earlier this month that she has plans to retire.

Critics say the Tucson Democrat is staying on to pad her retirement benefits and that her decision puts Senate Democrats in a bind since she'll likely leave before or at the outset of the upcoming legislative session.

With Lopez's planned departure, the Arizona Capitol Times reports ( ) the minority caucus in the Senate will be down one vote for weeks as officials in Pima County work to appoint Lopez's replacement.

Lopez is dismissing arguments that the Legislature and her district would be better off if she resigned immediately.

The 65-year-old Lopez took a job in November with the Easter Seals Blake Foundation.

Associated Press,

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