Today, after over 16 years representing Arizona in the Senate, the No. 2 Republican Senator Jon Kyl has announced his retirement. Sen. Kyl is now the 5th Senator (and 2nd Republican) to announce retirement plans this year. His decision follows that of Sen. Conrad (D-ND), Sen. Hutchison (R-TX), Sen. Lieberman (I-CT), and Sen. Webb (D-VA).
As it is well known by now, the arms-control community has had a contentious relationship with Sen. Kyl, who has served as the face of GOP on nuclear issues. The most notable and recent clash was over New START and Senator Kyl’s desire to block ratification by any means necessary – in spite of the board bipartisan support the treaty received.
Although the Council wishes Senator Kyl luck in his private endeavors, his retirement may signal hope on the horizon for further progress on President Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons. Kyl has long been known as an opponent to ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT )- if and when CTBT is brought to the Senate for ratification, will another Republican Senator step up to lead the opposition? Speculation over who will serve alongside Senator McCain begins now – stay tuned to the Council’s Senate Election Center.