With the passing away of Rep. Frank Pratt (R-Casa Grande) and the resignation of Rep. Bret Roberts (R-Maricopa), the Pinal County Supervisors have chosen two new legislators to replace them. The five-member board chose them at a meeting on October 27.
Teresa Martinez will replace Roberts representing LD 11, which is located between Phoenix and Tucson. She described herself to The Arizona Sun Times as “A pro-life, pro-gun, back the blue, protect our border, love America, protect our elections through election integrity conservative.” She said, “I am not going to trample on your freedom, but I don’t want you to trample on mine or anyone else’s.”
Martinez is a former political director of the Arizona Republican Party and the director of coalitions and Hispanic outreach for Rep. Paul Gosar (R-04-AZ). She worked as a congressional liaison for former Rep. Rick Renzi, who held the CD4 seat prior to Gosar, and was a voting rights ambassador for former Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan. She is a member-at-large for Arizona’s CD1 in the Republican Party.
She said her goal at the legislature is to serve the people. “In my mind, I’m still a servant to the constituents, it’s going to be customer service,” she told The Times. “How can I make your life better? A servant’s heart. It’s about we the people, not the elected officials — the guy who takes the tickets at the theater, the security guard at the county building, people who work at restaurants and manufacturing facilities. I want to protect people from losing their jobs against the vaccine mandate. The vaccine should be a choice; I’m not going to let you and your decisions infringe on someone who doesn’t want the vaccine. You can’t demand that people who are healthy stop living their lives because you are afraid.”
The legislature starts announcing bills on November 15, and Martinez thinks she knows what her first bill will be. “Let’s just say it will be jaw dropping,” she told The Times. “It’s about protecting people.” She intends to focus on water, transportation, and agriculture in the legislature. Coming from a rural part of the state between Phoenix and Tucson, she said, “I’m pro-business and pro-growth, but want to make sure we have enough water and resources for the future generations. We need future vision.”
Neal Carter will replace Pratt representing LD 8, which includes much of the San Tan Valley. He is a lawyer and works for a software company. He obtained his law degree from New York University and worked for the tax department of the largest law firm in the world. He served as general counsel for the Pinal County Republican Committee. He was endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona (RLCA).
He volunteers with Compassion Queen Creek, as well as for veterans organizations, at Arizona State Prison in Florence, and as a council advocate for the Knights of Columbus in San Tan Valley. He represented the Coolidge Veterans Commission free of charge and won a Pinal County Superior Court jury verdict on their behalf.
He opposes mask mandates and recently drove 1,500 miles to Illinois to avoid wearing a mask on an airplane.
Former legislator Pratt was considered one of the most liberal Republicans in the legislature, scoring a 78 last year from the RLCA. Roberts scored a fairly high 94 and was endorsed by the organization. The shift may make a huge difference in the legislature since several votes last session came down to one or two moderate Republicans who voted with the Democrats. The terms Martinez and Carter are finishing conclude at the end of 2022.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Arizona Republican Party” by Arizona Republican Party.