Meet Our Candidates

Meet Our Candidates 2017-12-13T23:04:39+00:00

Candidates – Table of Contents

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Local Candidates Statewide Candidates
Arizona Legislative District 1 AZ Senate Member     Felicia French

Arizona Legislative District 1 AZ House Member     Ed Gogek

Arizona Legislative District 1 AZ House Member     Jo Craycraft

Arizona Legislative District 1 AZ House Member     Jan Manolis

Arizona Legislative District 6 AZ Senate Member     Wade Carlisle

Arizona Legislative District 6 AZ House Member     Bobby Tyler

Arizona Corporation Commission                              Kiana Sears

Arizona Corporation Commission                             William Mundell

U.S. Congressional District 4                                     Anna Maria Perez

U.S. Congressional District 1                                     Tom O’Halleran

Governor                                                       David Garcia

Governor                                                        Steve Farley

Senator                                                           Kyrsten Sinema

Senator                                                           Deedra Aboud

Secretary of State                                           Katie Hobbs

Secretary of State                                           Mark Robert Gordon

Attorney General                                            January Contreras

Superintendent of Public Instruction            David Shapira

Superintendent of Public Instruction             Kathy Hoffman

Inspector of Mines                                         William Pierce

You can also find the latest information on AZ Candidates at the Arizona State Democratic Party’s site – click here.


Felicia is a third generation Arizonian, who lives in rural Arizona. She has a proven commitment to public service, which she has shown by taking on the roles of a combat veteran, helicopter pilot, registered nurse, and educator, with over 32 years of leadership experience.

During her military career, she received training in Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques and in mediation- making her a strong bipartisan candidate.

Her leadership skills were formed through her many experiences by working her way up the ranks from a Private to a Colonel in her 32 years serving in the United States Army, as a combat helicopter pilot and medic, to a nurse manager and senior medical advisor, and through mentoring at-risk youth to teaching.

Felicia is knowledgeable and experienced in matters of the military, healthcare, and education, which helped create her political platform. She is a strong advocate for veteran’s affairs, affordable accessible quality healthcare for all, improving our education system starting with early-childhood, and creating more sustainable jobs. When she has time to spare, she enjoys hiking, reading, and staying up to date on current events.

Felicia French

Ed Gogek - Candidate for AZ House - LD1:

Ed Gogek

Ed Gogek grew up in Decatur, Illinois, a small city in the middle of the state. He went to college and medical school in Illinois, and trained in psychiatry in Maine and Canada. His special interest in residency was working with alcoholics and drug addicts, and he has continued as an addition counselor ever since. In 1991, Gogek came to Arizona as a National Health Service Corps scholarship physician at a time when Prescott was considered a physician shortage area. Since then, he’s worked in Prescott and Phoenix, with jobs in homeless clinics, jails, prisons, mental health centers and several substance abuse treatment programs. In 2000, he began private practice and for several years was the only psychiatrist in Prescott taking insurance – which he has accepted the entire 14 years of his practice.

In the 1990s, Gogek and his brother wrote a column on addiction as a political issue, which was distributed through the New America News Service, a branch of the New York Times Syndicate. Their opinions were printed in more than a dozen major newspapers including the Arizona Republic. In 2010 and 2016, Gogek worked with committees opposed to legalizing marijuana in Arizona. His current interest in running involves supporting public education and environmental issues.

Jo Craycraft - Candidate for AZ Senate LD1:

Jo Craycraft, a retired FBI agent with a law degree–who also worked in counterintelligence in Los Angeles–started her police career in Tempe, AZ. She worked there as a police officer from 1975-1980, then in Los Altos and San Jose, CA and as a private investigator before joining the FBI as a Special Agent in 1987. She retired in 2007.

Craycraft, an FBI agent with a law degree who also worked in counterintelligence in Los Angeles, said she felt called to run for office because she wants to represent the interests of the people of the district. As state senator she will support promoting job creation, living wages and school funding.

Craycraft has a Law degree from Santa Clara University, and was admitted to the California BAR in 1985. She also earned an M.B.A. from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, CA and a bachelor’s in Psychology and Criminal Justice from Ball State University.

Jan Manolis - Candidate for AZ House - LD1:

Jan Manolis, a retired Technical Services Manager, began her career in information technologies after graduation from high school and held technical and managerial positions within the Information Technology field. She spent 18 years as Technical Services Manager, a supervisory leadership role for the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department, until 2014. While continuing to focus on her career, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business and dual Master of Science degrees in Information Technologies and Business Administration. 

Manolis later held a position as adjunct faculty member of the University of La Verne in La Verne, CA from 1999-2006. She was a Senior Systems Consultant for Computer Associates in Los Angeles from 1988-1995. She also served for six years in a volunteer position as Vice President, Board of Directors, for Solheim Lutheran Home, a continuing care retirement community. She moved to Prescott in 2014. In addition to serving as Treasurer of Arizona Federation of Democratic Women (AFDW), Manolis also serves on the Board as Treasurer for the Democratic Women of the Prescott Area (DWPA).


Wade Carlisle - Candidate for AZ House - LD6:

Wade Carlisle moved to Holbrook in 2000 with his wife Sandy. They are the parents of two children. Received a BS Degree in Business Administration from NAU in 1994. Carlisle is the President/Managing Member of Walt’s Hardware and also works for BNSF and as a substitute teacher for the Holbrook Unified School District. Previous employment includes, Roxy Theater, Navajo County Public Works, Little Colorado RC&D, Arizona Tractor and Disc and the Carlisle Ranch.

Carlisle has been a member of the Holbrook City Council since 2004 and currently serves as the Vice-Mayor of Holbrook. He serves on the NACOG Regional Council and NACOG Head Start Committee and the Rural Transportation Advisory Council. Other committees he has served on include the Navajo County Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Board, Navajo County Sheriff’s Posse Search and Rescue and as a member of the Holbrook Chamber of Commerce.

Wade Carlisle
Bobby Tyler

I am Bobby Tyler, the current Mayor of Holbrook, and a third-generation Arizonan from McNary, Arizona. I am running to be representative for Legislative District 6 to create a prosperous future for generations to come. After years of the status quo, I am committed to fighting for rural and Northern Arizona at the legislature in Phoenix. Economic development is how we are going to bring good paying jobs, and a world-class public education system to northern Arizona!

I am a third generation Arizonan, and a product of the northern Arizona public school system. My family moved from Louisiana to McNary, Arizona to work in the lumber industry for better opportunities and higher wages, something I want to bring back to northern Arizona.

I have lived a life of public service. I volunteered as a firefighter and a citizens police officer for a combined thirteen years with the city of Holbrook. I then spent over 33 years working in the power industry where I learned and worked many positions and assignments, including safety officer ensuring those around me were working in a safe environment. Since then, I have been on Holbrook City Council since 2011 and as Mayor of Holbrook since 2015.

I am running to be the voice that the State leaders have forgotten. A voice for the struggling young families trying to make ends meets The people struggling to find a job with benefits and a fair wage. This is how a strong economy is made and maintained.

Kiana Sears is a community advocate, engaged ASU Sun Devil, nonprofit community leader, and an Arizona seasoned public policy professional. Her commitment to service is inspired by her father, a Vietnam veteran, and her mother, a dedicated civil servant in municipal water services for many years. Sears loves the beautiful State of Arizona and believes we must pay special attention to three key aspects for our state to flourish: water, solar and the education of all Arizona’s children, irrespective of ethnicity.

For nearly a decade Sears has worked in a legislative staff capacity, most recently serving as a Water & Wastewater Executive Consultant (Public Utility Analyst) for the Arizona Corporation Commission (AZCC). During her tenure at the AZCC, Kiana greatly appreciated the opportunity to serve and protect Arizona rate payers. Sears understands that the rate payers are families and small business owners that deserve the opportunity to thrive. Protecting our water supply, water rights, as well as our access to solar power and renewables are among her highest priorities. Please support Sears as she promises to serve with integrity and to work hard every day to restore the public’s trust in this critical branch of Arizona’s democracy.

Kiana Sears
William Mundell

Want to see all of the regulated utilities trying to buy the Corporation Commission this election cycle? Here’s a simple chart that makes it very easy to understand:

Ana Maria was born in Missouri in 1968, and traveled often to visit her father in Puerto Rico. Ana Maria graduated with a Master’s Degree in Architecture, 1991 from Tulane University and has 13 years of professional experience in Missouri, Louisiana, New Mexico and Arizona. She moved to Arizona, with her daughter Alina Perez in 2002, settling in Sedona.

Ana Maria is putting the organizational and leadership skills of working on multi-million dollar commercial and government projects, to serve the community of Congressional District 4. She will be the new member of Congress in AZ-04 that is accountable, responsive and supports social justice.

In the last several years, other than spending time with her family, hiking, gardening, and keeping up with current events, she has also been studying Congress and its ways. She envisions a better way of leadership in government, so that we can keep the American dream alive.

Deedra Aboud
Tpm O'Halleran

We are best when we are united.

Arizonans share a hope and vision for our children’s future, the need for an economy that works for everyone, concern for our veterans, and an attachment to our natural resources and our unmatched scenic beauty. Tom wants to help make this hope and vision a reality.

Yet we face significant challenges.  To overcome these challenges, we must work together. Through problem solving, cooperation, and working across political lines, Tom believes important issues affecting America and Arizona can be resolved.

David has dedicated his career to improving Arizona public schools. David is a well-respected teacher in both the education and business communities, as well as in the classroom. His strengths include legislative experience, serving as a research analyst for the Arizona State Senate and leading the Arizona Department of Education as Associate Superintendent. He is known for answering tough questions and developing visionary solutions. These traits have earned respect and accolades from people on both sides of the political aisle. In 2014, the Arizona Republic called David a “Champion for Education.” Now, he is a professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University where he teaches research and policy to Arizona’s next generation of leaders. David is the one person most capable of tackling the crisis in Arizona’s schools.

Arizona is being held back because our state leadership is not committed to creating an excellent public education system. “Doug Ducey’s failed commitment to public education is hurting our economy. We need a well-trained workforce to attract good-paying jobs and encourage businesses to start, build and stay in Arizona,” he says. To strengthen our schools, our next Governor needs not only expertise but a teacher’s commitment to education. David Garcia is that person.
David will fight for working families. David has never forgotten the people who shaped him and the neighborhood he will always call home. He’s running for Governor because the political process is rigged against the regular, hard-working Arizonans that our state leaders are elected to serve.

David Garcia
Steve Farley

Steve Farley was first elected to the Arizona Legislature as State Representative from District 28 in November 2006, eventually rising to become House Assistant Minority Leader. He now serves as Senate Assistant Minority Leader and the Ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, as well as Member of the Appropriations, and Joint Legislative Budget.

Steve entered public service because he loves Arizona and understands the challenges facing our families and communities. He has fought to increase teacher pay and reduce class sizes all to ensure every Arizonan has access to a first class education. Steve has made it a point of his legislative career to focus on bringing good paying jobs, spurring economic development, exemplary public safety, and world class transportation choices to Arizona.

Steve is a well-known artist and graphic designer who invented a new way of converting photographs to glazed ceramic tile, and he has since completed numerous mural projects around the U.S. He has run his own public art and graphic design business since 1991.

Steve is a strong advocate for public transit and other transportation improvements all over the state. He was instrumental in gaining approval for a comprehensive regional transportation system of roads, buses, bikeways and sidewalks, and the Modern Streetcar light rail line which opened in Tucson in 2014 and which has created hundreds and hundreds of jobs and more than a billion dollars in private construction projects within three blocks of its route — all in the middle of the worst recession Arizona has seen.

Steve is father of Amelia, 22, and Genevieve, 18. Steve graduated from Williams College (Mass.) in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

Kyrsten Lea Sinema is an American politician and the U.S. Representative from Arizona’s 9th congressional district, first elected in 2012. A member of the Democratic Party, prior to being elected she served in both chambers of the Arizona legislature, being elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2005, and the Arizona Senate in 2011.

Sinema has worked for the adoption of the DREAM Act and has campaigned against Propositions 107 and 102, two voter referendums to ban the recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions in Arizona.

After her election to the House of Representatives, she joined the conservative Blue Dog Coalition and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. She is a centrist on liberal-conservative scales. In 2014, she was endorsed for re-election by the United States Chamber of Commerce, becoming one of five Democrats to be endorsed by the Chamber in the 2014 congressional election cycle.

Kyrsten Sinema
Deedra Aboud

We want elected leaders who understand and embrace our diversity.

We want elected leaders who listen to our concerns and perspectives.

We want elected leaders who consider all of us when they represent our state.

We want elected leaders who understand basic anatomy, history, sociology, and science.

We want elected leaders who answer to us, and not to corporate interests or Washington lobbyists.

We want to be engaged… and we want elected leaders to engage us.

Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs has dedicated her life to improving our community. She has worked tirelessly to fight back against the extremists trying to take over our state. As a native of Phoenix and lifelong resident of Arizona, she knows what’s at stake. That’s why she will continue fighting for every resident in District 24 and across Arizona.

Katie has a long record of supporting Democratic values such as equality for all, strong public education, and healthcare for low income families. Katie has fought hard against cuts to K-12 schools and higher education, and worked to restore funding to career and technical education programs. She has also sponsored bills to implement measures to better protect domestic violence victims, require rape kits to be tested, and equal pay measures for women.

As a social worker, Democratic leader and equal rights champion, Katie Hobbs is well equipped to continue to lead Democrats at the Arizona State Senate.

Katie Hobbs
Mark Robert Gordon

Mark Robert Gordon, an Arizona native and life-long resident, has two decades’ experience as an elections and voting rights watchdog. His national law office, headquartered in D.C., advises governments, candidates, political parties, and not-for-profits nationwide about federal issues. He has designed, run, and participated in election integrity programs for political parties, candidates, and NGOs nationwide, and has served as an Election Protection & Voting Rights attorney nationwide on federal Constitutional issues and voting rights concerns. His approach to election integrity and voting rights is nonpartisan in nature–simply aiming to ensure that the Constitutional and statutory rights of every citizen, regardless of political party, are preserved and protected.

MRG recently served as an elections specialist on the bipartisan Transition Team of newly elected Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes and helped as part of the DNC and Georgia Democratic Party’s election protection team for this past June’s Congressional runoff in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. MRG was a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention and is an elected Arizona State Committee Member and Precinct Committeeman from LD28 in North Central Phoenix.

MRG has served as as a strategist, advisor, attorney, and/or speechwriter to U.S. Presidential, Senate, House, gubernatorial, and state legislative candidates, and has been involved in dozens of campaigns since his days as a volunteer for Gary Hart’s 1984 Presidential run, a staff member for Carolyn Warner’s 1986 run for Governor, and an intern, writer, and researcher for then-Congressman Morris Udall.

MRG has logged hundreds of pro bono-hours for not-for-profits, arts organizations, and civil rights/anti-discrimination matters. He has enjoyed a long entertainment career as a critically-acclaimed New York stage-and-screen actor/writer/director/producer and print model.

MRG attended Osborn School District elementary schools and Central High School in Phoenix. He went on to earn degrees from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs, Columbia Law School, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

January Contreras has a long history of fighting for Arizona families
January was a county and state prosecutor before founding Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services (ALWAYS) to protect Arizona’s women, children, and families.

January has worked to keep our streets safe
January put public safety first when she was a Deputy County Attorney for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, and an Assistant Attorney General. She fought to hold criminals accountable, and earned a reputation for being tough and fair.

January has battled against cuts to health care for Arizona’s working families
January fought against special interests to fend off cuts to health care insurance when she worked as a policy advisor to Governor Napolitano, and an Assistant Director at the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS).

January has protected seniors from abuse and exploitation
January prosecuted crimes as an Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Attorney General, the department which she is now running to lead. She brought justice to victims and their families in elder abuse and exploitation crimes across the State.

January has stopped fraud against small businesses and the government
January was an Assistant Attorney General in the Fraud and Public Corruption Section of the Office of the Attorney General, where she prosecuted fraud, waste, and abuse in our health care system to protect small businesses and taxpayer money.

January protected children who were abused and neglected
January founded a not-for-profit, ALWAYS, so kids and young adults who have survived trauma and criminal acts have access to lawyers who will fight for them. In this work, January has seen first-hand the consequences of our state’s opioid and heroin epidemic.

January has taken on human traffickers
At ALWAYS, January has served Arizonans, including survivors of human trafficking. She has a passion for fighting for trafficking victims, and she will work to throw each and every trafficker behind bars.

January combatted violence against women
At the Department of Homeland Security, January led the charge to establish the Council on Combating Violence Against Women.  She has served on the White House Council on Women and Girls, contributed to the development of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, and volunteered on the Board of Directors of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. At ALWAYS, she regularly represented victims of domestic violence who would otherwise have no lawyer.

January is a proud Arizonan who cares about family – hers and yours
January is a proud Arizonan. She attended the same school as her mother, Ann Ott Elementary School in Phoenix, before moving to Mesa and graduating from Westwood High School. She went on to earn her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Arizona in Tucson.

January recently celebrated her 23rd wedding anniversary, and is the proud mother of two teenage sons.

January Contreras
David Shapira

“Parents and teachers across the state know our education system is in crisis. Billions of dollars in cuts have left us with crumbling schools and a dwindling number of qualified teachers. Our elected leaders are failing us,” said Schapira. “I have spent my entire professional life as both an educator and a public education advocate because I believe education is the boot-strap by which we pull ourselves up. Educational opportunity in this country has produced innovators, leaders and visionaries who propel our nation forward.”
In addition to his career as an educator, David also serves his community in public office. Elected to the Tempe City Council in 2014, David has partnered with local school districts, non-profits and local businesses to increase access to educational opportunities for all students. David’s proudest achievement on the Council is the recent passage of the “Tempe Free PRE” initiative, which provides high-quality, free preschool for 360 low-income children. 

Prior to the Tempe City Council, David served in the Arizona House of Representatives and as Minority Leader in the State Senate. Throughout David’s time in the legislature, he served on the Education Committee, including four years as the ranking member. During and after his time in the Senate, David was also an elected member of the Tempe Union High School District Governing Board. 

The Arizona Republic has recognized David as a “Lawmaker Who Made a Difference,” an “Emerging Leader Worth Watching” and as one of “Tempe’s Exemplary People,” acknowledging his commitment to advocate for his community.

Kathy Hoffman is a dedicated educator who is committed to improving educational achievement for all of Arizona’s students. She brings over 5 years of teaching experience, most recently as a speech therapist in Peoria Unified School District. Her passion for education arrives from personal experience in a diverse array of settings, including bilingual education, special education, and volunteer work.

Expand Preschool and Full-Day Kindergarten Programs

Data demonstrates that participation in preschool programs results in improved reading, writing, and math skills during elementary school.

Improve Graduation Rates

Students who drop out of school have higher unemployment rates, higher healthcare costs, and are more likely to need government assistance. Ensuring Arizona’s students have a bright future requires providing the skills they need to succeed in a modern economy.

Support Special Education

I serve on a Special Education team that works to improve academic achievement and life skills of students with disabilities. These students need a voice in government who understands our complicated Special Education system and often complex needs of individual students. 

Equality of Opportunity

Inclusive school policies begin with recognizing that all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, deserve the opportunity to attend school free from the fear of bullying and discrimination.

Teacher Retention

It is no secret that Arizona’s teachers are severely underpaid compared to the national average. This disparity has resulted in Arizona being ranked “the least attractive state for teachers” by the Learning Policy Institute. The recent elimination of certification requirements for teachers (SB 1042) does nothing to improve the situation. Rather than paying teachers fair wages, our schools are being asked to place the education of Arizona’s children in the hands of unqualified individuals at unsustainably low wages.

Education in Rural Communities

One of the biggest mistakes we can make with rural education is treating rural schools the same as urban schools. Rural communities deal with higher rates of poverty, mental healthcare needs, suicides, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, less access to quality food, higher prevalence of seasonal work, and limited access to post-secondary education.

Kathy Hoffman
Bill Pierce

Following a near fatal accident at work, in the  fall of 1985, Bill Pierce became an strong advocate for workplace safety.
He believes the training I have received from MSHA, OSHA and the NRC will be a vital asset to ensure a greater level of job safety can be achieved, and the number of job related incidents will be reduced.