"I'll be talking about health care, but I'm glad to be up there and representing Arizona," the first-term governor said Tuesday of her scheduled July 27 prime-time appearance on the second night of the convention.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (search) will address the convention on July 28.
State Democratic Party Chairman Jim Pederson said the selection of Napolitano to speak at the convention is a sign that the national party regards Arizona as a priority in the race leading up to the Nov. 2 election.
Napolitano agreed. "I think it shows they put a value on Arizona and I think it helps show Arizona to the country," she said. "It's all putting forth that this is a state that has a lot of vitality to it, has a lot of energy to it and it's going to be an important state for electing the next president of the United States."
Napolitano noted that Arizona will get similar exposure at the Republican National Convention in New York through an Aug. 30 address by U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Napolitano said she did not request the speaking slot at the Democratic convention. "On these kinds of things, it doesn't work that way. They just kind of call you and say this is what we'd like you to do."
Asked whether the convention appearance would boost her long-term political prospects, Napolitano played down that possibility.
"It's hard to me to say that one speech at one convention has much of a difference one way or the other. I think ultimately the value is on what you actually got done for the people you represent."
Napolitano, a former U.S. attorney and former state attorney general, was mentioned early on during speculation about Sen. John Kerry's running mate. The presumptive Democratic nominee chose Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.