Adrian Fontes, Candidate for Maricopa County Recorder

Adrian is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, having served on active duty from 1992 to 1996, and was nominated for a meritorious commission.

His service to our country taught him the importance of dedication, discipline, and sacrifice to forcefully fight for the American dream. After leaving active duty, Adrian received his Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University before continuing on to the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver.

Since graduating from law school, Adrian has spent his career advocating for justice and fighting for those who are disadvantaged — first as a prosecutor with the Denver District Attorney and then for the Maricopa County Attorney’s office and the Arizona Attorney General’s office before entering private practice.

As County Recorder, he has worked to bring a renewed energy and vision to the office, with the goal of rebuilding public trust in the election system in Maricopa County. He has focused on the voters’ experience, accountability, and security. Adrian will continue to work to make sure that every Maricopa County citizen who is eligible to vote is able to vote, whether at their kitchen table completing their early ballot or at the booth on Election Day — and that all of their ballots are counted.

Paul Penzone, Candidate for Maricopa County Sheriff

Julie Gunnigle, Candidate for Maricopa County Attorney

Julie Gunnigle was born and raised in Maricopa County and currently lives a mile from the school that she attended growing up.  Julie is running for Maricopa County Attorney because she believes the people of Maricopa County deserve a criminal justice system that is smart, fair and tough. 

She graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School, cum laude. After law school, Julie went on to serve as Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County, Illinois where she prosecuted financial crime and public corruption. 

 Julie’s plan as County Attorney is clear:

  • Be tough on violent criminals who prey on women, children, and the elderly

  • Be smart with reforms so we can create real sentencing reform, end cash bail, have bond reforms, and eliminate private prisons 

  • Be fair to our residents by creating effective diversion programs for young adults and children, veterans with mental health issues, and end prosecution of low-level marijuana offenses

Robert McWhirter, Candidate for Maricopa County Attorney

Mr. McWhirter is a nationally and internationally known speaker and author on trial advocacy, immigration law, and the history of the bill of rights. He is a frequent guest on Arizona Horizon and KJZZ as a Constitutional expert and historian. Mr. McWhirter is a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law with the State Bar of Arizona.

Mr. McWhirter has international management experience having worked extensively in Latin America on justice reform:

In 2010-2011, Mr. McWhirter served in El Salvador administering an $11 million USAID project to reform the justice system where he successfully developed and oversaw programs and trainings for the Salvadoran courts, police, and prosecutors.

In 1989 Mr. McWhirter was a visiting professor of law at the Catholic University of Chile and the University of Chile teaching courses in Spanish on Comparative Criminal Procedure and Free Speech Privacy and the Internet.

Mr. McWhirter has taught trial advocacy in Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Uruguay, Mexico, and El Salvador.

Mr. McWhirter still travels to Latin America, most recently he trained lawyers in Puebla Mexico.

 

Ryan Tait, Candidate for Maricopa County Attorney

Ryan Tait began his career as a prosecutor in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, where he prosecuted in the Pretrial, Juvenile, Adult, and Major Crimes trial bureaus. His trial skills earned him recognition in each bureau he was assigned. As a Major Crimes prosecutor, Ryan took more cases to trial and boasted a higher trial success rate than any other attorney in his bureau.

It became apparent to Ryan that fighting for justice in Maricopa County required fighting for fair outcomes on behalf of the accused. He has spent the last seven years doing just that.

 

Ryan is a member and graduate of the inaugural class of the Arizona Criminal Forensic Academy, where he developed a sharp ability to identify and attack weaknesses in even the most complex cases. Coupled with his passion for defending individuals against government overreach, Ryan’s acquired knowledge and natural abilities have resulted in a passion to fix our broken criminal justice system from the inside out.

Tamika Wooten, Candidate for County Attorney

For the past 25 years, Attorney Tamika Wooten has proudly devoted her life to protecting children and families of Maricopa County. As a practicing attorney for 29 years, Tamika has served in all three areas of the Maricopa County justice department as a defense attorney, a prosecutor and a judge.

After being appointed as Chief Prosecutor in Glendale, Arizona, she coordinated with the presiding judge to develop an award-winning Domestic Violence program. Tamika brings years of courtroom experience as a judge in Avondale, El Mirage, Surprise, and Wickenburg while also owning and operating her own sports agency as a Certified NFL Contract Advisor. Tamika’s nearly three-decade track record of service within the Maricopa County justice system has positioned her with the ideal qualifications and community experience needed to be the clear choice for the next Maricopa County attorney.

With nearly 3 decades of experience within the Maricopa County legal system, as a prosecutor a defense attorney and a judge, a wife to a pediatrician, mother of two daughters and a dog – Tamika’s values line up with the hard-working families of Maricopa County who want to keep our communities safe and make sure our loved ones return home every night.

Jeanne Casteen, Candidate for Maricopa County Schools Superintendent

Jeanne Casteen is a dedicated and passionate educator from Phoenix, Arizona. Born in Illinois to two hard-working United Auto Workers, Jeanne moved to Arizona in 1991. She has watched as the state of Raul Castro and Rose Mofford has become a national spectacle for bad policies and hyper-partisan politics. Jeanne understands the importance of access to an accessible, affordable education. Her children and stepchildren are the products of Arizona schools, and she’s attended several junior colleges and a state university herself.

After graduating from ASU (summa cum laude) with a degree in Human Communication and History in 2008, Jeanne entered into the teaching profession through the Teach for America (TFA) program. She received a Masters’ in Secondary Education in 2010 from ASU. Seeing how policies- often made by those completely disconnected from education- had real consequences for her students, Jeanne decided to run for the Creighton School District (CSD) Governing Board in 2012 and currently serves as President of the board. Jeanne firmly believes that a child’s zip code should not determine their access to opportunity.

Jennifer Samuels, Candidate for Maricopa County Schools Superintendent

I am a teacher, activist, financial executive, marathon runner, wife and a mother. I became a teacher 13 years ago and have a Master’s in Special Education and will graduate this December with a Master’s in Educational Leadership. My experience includes both general and special education classrooms, grades K-8. In 2018, after lawmakers moved forward with a voucher expansion bill that would have bled the education system further, I decided to run for office as a Representative for Legislative District 15. Campaigning for the Legislature deepened my sense for the people of this county and their commitment to public education. 

Nothing worth accomplishing is easy. We face serious challenges as we struggle to re-prioritize public education. The teacher-led movement for change, insisting we change course, inspired most of us—parents, business leaders, and other educational advocates.  Just like a marathon race, I will reach the finish line for my students and colleagues. Finally, Ben and I celebrated our 14-year wedding anniversary this summer and enjoy raising our three daughters – ages 9, 11 and 13 – who attend our local public schools.

Dan Toporek, Candidate for Maricopa County Treasurer

Dan Toporek spent the last 34 years honorably serving our Nation as a Marine and Army Attack Pilot, and now he seeks to continue his service as Treasurer of Maricopa County.  As your Treasurer, Dan will bring the same dedication to honorable service as he did when he was flying combat missions overseas or managing the resources necessary to keep our Nation safe.

The office of County Treasurer is an office of special trust. The Treasurer must faithfully collect the funds needed to pay for the services provided by our County, distribute those funds as directed by the County Board of Supervisors, and invest and protect those funds until needed. Dan promises to keep that trust, find innovative ways to invest the taxpayers money, and to ensure the office of the County Treasurer treats all people with respect, fairness and equality.

Aaron Connor, Candidate for Maricopa County Assessor

For over 15 years, Aaron Connor has been working in the mortgage industry. He has worked in underwriting, loan processing, title review, as a loan officer, a business analyst, and systems administrator.  He now understands the entire life-cycle of the mortgage industry to find efficiencies and ensure the consumers investments are maximized.

The impact that Aaron will make:

  1. Improve technology to enhance the Maricopa County Property Owners experience
  2. Fairly and accurately assess property values while providing excellent customer service
  3. Enhance accountability and transparency to the office

Whitney Walker - Candidate for Maricopa County Supervisor District 3

Whitney is an advocate, policymaker, and visionary who believes everyone should have equal access and opportunity to define their American Dream. As a natural-born advocate for social justice and equity, Whitney’s professional life mirrors her commitment to service and lifts the voices of those in her community. She has spent her career advocating for sustainable policy solutions on behalf domestic and sexual violence survivors and their families. She has a proven record working with advocates to close systematic gaps to end cycles of violence and poverty as a committee member on the Impact of Domestic Violence and the Courts for the State of Arizona and by working directly with policymakers to create legislative change.

Whitney is passionate about elevating the voices of marginalized communities and remains steadfast in building a Maricopa County that thrives for all of us. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Juris Doctor Degree. Whitney is running to be District 3’s Supervisor to uphold the mission of providing necessary public services so that every person and every family can enjoy living in a healthy and safe community. Whitney is committed to ensuring that everyone prospers regardless of their race, color, ability, legal status, who they love or, their gender expression. 

Steve Gallardo, Candidate for Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, District 5

Tom Nerini, Candidate for Maricopa Community College District Governing Board, District 5

My entire career has been dedicated to helping students access and succeed in education. For more than 20 years I have worked and attended some of the best colleges in North America. I’ve designed, implemented and coordinated highly successful programs which ensured student access and success in college. I know what it takes for students to be successful in college.

For the past 8 years I have worked as a school counselor in Phoenix Union High School District. Each day I am fortunate to work with students; to get to know their dreams, their abilities and the obstacles they face . I know what they are capable of and what an asset they are to our community. I know that the Community College is the best and, for many students, the only hope to access higher education.

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