Thoughts from Dawn Wallace
Over the holiday break, I rewatched The Candidate, a 1972 film featuring a charismatic, free-thinking political outsider who is haphazardly thrown into what is expected to be a losing electoral campaign. Not surprisingly, the candidate’s uncompromising integrity begins to weaken as his chances of winning increase. He eventually succumbs to a sensationalistic political strategy, built on hollow campaign promises and media spectacle. The film chronicles his descent from idealistic contender to shallow celebrity figure. The closing moments of the film are the most shattering – celebration at his triumph contrasted with a voiced realization, “So what do we do now?”
The film ends without further explanation and gives the audience plenty of runway to conjecture. Is it that his moral devolution has led him into a quandary of conscience or identity, or is it Machiavellian awareness that the absurdist performance art of politicking is the means to a more profound end?
The answer may be found in a 1985 speech given at Yale University, when then New York Gov. Mario Cuomo famously noted, “We campaign in poetry, but when we’re elected, we’re forced to govern in prose.” Poetry is stylistic language in the abstract, while prose is the speech of the ordinary. His quote transposes evocative language on the campaign trail with policymaking that must be consequential and implementable.
Cuomo’s quote and the central theme of The Candidate illustrates the contradiction at the center of American politics. The zeal of the electorate for ideological purity has not always been congruent with practical need for qualified individuals willing to take on the real and tedious work of public policy. Politics continues as the purview of extremism, while governing is desired in the hands of moderates.
In this election cycle, the predictions of the pundits and pollsters of more of the same fell flat. I, for one, am relieved that the Arizona voters finally said enough to the poetry and yes to the prose.
Congratulations to our Flinn-Brown Fellows who succeeded in their races (see list below). A special shoutout to my friend, Representative-Elect Juan Ciscomani, the Network’s first congressman!
The 2022 Flinn-Brown Convention was held Friday, Nov. 4 at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. We had a packed house at Dorrance Center, with over 100 Flinn-Brown Fellows attending from across the state for dynamic presentations and inspired conversations about “The State of Our Democracy.” Thank you to all the Fellows and speakers who made this a special day!
Thank you to 2011 Fellow, the Honorable Benjamin Graff, for emceeing this year’s Flinn-Brown Awards! Congratulations to our 2022 winners: 2013 Fellow Luis Heredia, 2018 Fellow, the Honorable Bill Regner, 2014 Fellow, Mayor-Elect Becky Daggett, 2011 Fellow Frank McCune, and 2018 Fellow, the Honorable Nikki Lee. Thank you each for your service in strengthening our communities and the Flinn-Brown Network.
We will soon get to work planning the 2023 Flinn-Brown Convention. While there have been variations on Convention since the early days of Flinn-Brown, the last five years have evolved into larger-scale events, with greater time commitments for Fellows. As we look forward to next year, with almost 450 Fellows in the Flinn-Brown Network, it is time to hear from you about how we can reimagine this event to bring maximum value and increase participation from Fellows across the state. To that end, I would sincerely appreciate your response to this survey to guide us and the 2023 Planning Committee in the right direction.
Save the date!
Join us December 14 for a Fellows-only event featuring lobbyists Meghaen Dell’Artino of Public Policy Partners, Gaelle Esposito of Creosote Partners, Lourdes Pena of Triadvocates, and Jay Kaprosyof Veridus. These capitol insiders will preview the 2023 legislative session, including legislation, budget, and how political dynamics of the 2022 election will drive topics and issues at the state capitol.
Note: This event will be presented in a hybrid format, with in-person capacity as well as livestreaming for virtual participation. Registration details will be arriving soon in your inbox.
Did you miss a previous CivEx? Now you can find webinar recordings on our website. View past
Fellows Book Recommendations
Each month, we feature suggestions from Fellows to create a virtual Network library of books about public-policy issues, the practice of leadership, professional development, or other areas worth sharing. This month’s recommendations come from Councilman Matthew Herman (Casa Grande, 2019) and Amanda Stone (Tucson, 2015).
Matthew Herman: I read a lot for pleasure and relaxation, and I think it is a good way to unwind and take care of yourself. Right now, I am reading the Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series by George R.R. Martin. It is definitely an escape from reality.
Amanda Stone: I recommend Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner. It is an older book but gives a really good foundation of knowledge on water use and development in Arizona and other states. It will give people a good foundational knowledge of many of the factors contributing to our current water crisis.
(Casa Grande, 2019)
Matt manages his family’s small RV dealership and repair shop in Casa Grande, where he works side by side with his parents daily. It is said that he is the oldest person in Pinal County to still get an allowance from his parents because his mom still signs the checks. Matt is the third, but hopefully not last, generation to run a business in Casa Grande for 57 years. It has evolved from an agricultural chemical company to an RV dealership today. As a lifelong Casa Grande resident and third generation Arizonan, he has seen the many changes and challenges in Casa Grande and Arizona. He started his career in local politics and public service as the Student Body president of Casa Grande Jr. High School and then Casa Grande Union High School. Matt is a proud third generation ASU Sun Devil and lives with his wife, Erica, an artist, who is also a Casa Grande native, their one Chihuahua and two Dachshunds.
1. Can you please describe your work and how public policy impacts how you manage your organization?
Public policy impacts me in a variety of ways, being on both sides of it. For my day job as a small business owner, I see how policy affects landowners, taxes, and customers alike. Decisions made at the local and state level can have significant impacts on property taxes and services for business owners. Sales tax rates have a direct impact on consumers’ buying decisions, while sales taxes provide most of the general funds for municipalities in our state. It is a delicate balance trying to provide services and a reasonable tax rate.
As a Casa Grande City Councilman, I also set public policy for our community. It is a great duty to ensure people are heard and treated fairly while providing for the greater good. Weighing the needs of all stakeholders is an important part of the process. Lately, we have been challenged with residential density changes and workforce housing needs. We have to make sure there is an adequate supply of housing while being respectful of our water situation. As a city we are always affected by state policies that we have no control over. Being in a more rural area we sometimes bear the brunt of policies set in the Arizona Legislature that have a bigger impact on us. The water cutbacks have hit us especially hard while the more urban areas are seeing no restrictions. Setting public policy at the city level allows you to see the immediate impacts on your community; we are the closest governing body to the citizens. People that are affected by decisions are the same ones you see around town and at the grocery store.
2. Do you have a favorite quote that is meaningful to you?
I have two that are meaningful to me, and they are simple. The first one is attributed to John Maxwell: “Teamwork makes the Dream work.” I use this often with the Casa Grande Youth Commission as their liaison. It just teaches them that nothing can be accomplished on their own. You need to include everyone and work together to get our projects done.
The second is attributed to Hannibal: “Either I will find a way, or I will make one.” I use this at work. As a small business owner, I use this on a daily basis. It means a lot because one of my key employees found this quote and wrote it down for me and said it reminded her of how I do things. We also paraphrase it sometimes like the great Southern Philosopher Larry the Cable Guy intones: “Git ‘er Done”!
3. How has the Fellows Network been useful to you?
The Network has been invaluable, especially for my public service. It has let me be part of a statewide Network that makes a large state a small community. I have been able to share ideas with members of other city councils, meet up with Fellows at state events and feel included. It means a lot to me since I am not in Maricopa County where most of the policy and decisions are made for the state. It makes this small-town guy feel like a part of it all and helps me to make a difference. Many times in Pinal County we feel disconnected, but being a Fellow helps us to participate in statewide conversations.
During my time in my cohort, I had a great opportunity to meet many different people with different views and beliefs. I loved our discussions and debates, learning from everyone and seeing things through different lenses. It truly was a place to share ideas, learn and listen to the other side of an issue.
4. What do you see as potential opportunities strengthening civic health in Arizona?
After the recent elections, I think we have a great opportunity for people to get educated and learn about the process. We need to take this time and bring people together to accomplish common goals. Statewide and local level emotions are running high. Both parties need to evaluate and see what worked and why some things did not. Being divisive and spouting vitriolic comments is not going to solve problems. Nothing is going to happen on one side or the other, it takes people working as a team to make meaningful changes to produce solid policy. The most important thing is to keep the great state of Arizona moving forward.
If you missed a Fellows Spotlight, you can view them on the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership website now.
Fellows Elected to Office
Congratulations to our Flinn-Brown Fellows who were elected or re-elected during the 2022 elections.
Congressman-Elect Juan Ciscomani (Tucson, 2011)
Senator Raquel Terán (Phoenix, 2018)
Representative Jennifer Pawlik (Chandler, 2018)
Representative Chris Mathis (Tucson, 2011)
Representative-Elect Matt Gress (Phoenix, 2015)
Mayor-Elect Becky Daggett (Flagstaff, 2014)
Mayor Kevin Hartke (Chandler, 2014)
Mayor Kell Palguta (Prescott Valley, 2019)
Mayor Mila Besich (Superior, 2019)
Mayor Cecilia McCollough (Wellton, 2018)
Councilwoman Kara Egbert (Sahuarita, 2015)
Councilwoman Fernando Shipley (Globe, 2011)
Councilman Matthew Herman (Casa Grande, 2019)
Councilwoman Laura Dorrell (Clifton, 2017)
School District Governing Board
Member Stephanie Parra (Phoenix, 2020)
Member-Elect Christine Thompson (Phoenix, 2017)
Member-Elect Ruth Ellen Elinski (Cottonwood, 2014)
Justice of the Peace
Justice-Elect Kristel Ann Foster (Tucson, 2015)
Board Member Benjamin Graff (Phoenix, 2011)
Board Member Alexandra Arboleda (Phoenix, 2018)
Fellows In The News
We are happy to help promote your work through social media, so reach out if you would like us to officially recognize a professional accomplishment, event, or program with which you are involved.
Carla Berg (Tempe, 2020) was quoted in a Fronteras article about the rollout of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) monkeypox vaccine pilot program in Arizona.
Toni Cani (Phoenix, 2014) was interviewed for a 12News story about former President Obama’s recent campaign stop at Cesar Chavez High School. He also shared his thoughts on Arizona’s political races on AZFamily’s Politics Unplugged.
Reetika Dhawan (Yuma, 2022) was elected to serve on the Arizona Technology Council Board of Directors.
Dave Engelthaler (Flagstaff, 2022) was recently honored with the Dr. Cliff Harkins Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award.
Erin Hart (Phoenix, 2013) was quoted in an AZEDNEWS article about the impact of the aggregate expenditure limit on K-12 public schools.
Mayor Kevin Hartke (Chandler, 2014) and Mayor Mila Besich (Superior, 2019) were elected to serve as Vice President & Treasurer of the Arizona League of Cities and Towns.
William Holmes (Chandler, 2013) is starting a new position as Engagement Manager, Strategy Consulting Services at Mayo Clinic.
Reyna Montoya (Gilbert, 2020) was interviewed for a KJZZ podcast about immigration policy.
Debbie Nez-Manuel (Scottsdale, 2017) shared her personal story about her mother going missing at a recent Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Committee meeting to bring awareness to violence against indigenous people. She was also quoted in an Arizona Mirror article about the State Fair’s annual All Indian Rodeo which is hosted and produced by non-Natives.
Stephanie Parra (Phoenix, 2020) was interviewed by Arizona PBS about the underrepresentation of Latino educators in Arizona schools.
Stephanie Parra (Phoenix, 2020) and Alec Thomson (Phoenix, 2019) were recognized as Cap Under 40 Honorees.
Paula Randolph (Scottsdale, 2012) was quoted in a BBC articleregarding the city of Tucson’s use of rainwater harvesting to conserve water during drought. She was also interviewed for a KJZZ podcast about how climate issues impact voters’ choices.
Gina Roberts (Scottsdale, 2019) was interviewed on Arizona’s Morning News regarding the 2022 elections and the importance of voter education. She was also quoted in a Cronkite News article about the value of candidate debates in the elections process.
Jami Snyder (Phoenix, 2013) was quoted in a Health Payer Intelligence article about Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System’s (AHCCCS) Whole Person Care Initiative which was created to address social determinants of health for Medicaid beneficiaries.
Chris Stoller Michelena (Tucson, 2015) was featured in the Phoenix Business Journal about his new position as the Arizona Director of LS2group.
Alfred Urbina (Tucson, 2013) was interviewed for an article in the Washington Post about the U.S. Supreme Court case, Haaland v. Brackeen, and the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
Brad Vynalek (Phoenix, 2011) was quoted in an AZ Big Media articleabout how the Arizona legal industry is addressing the talent shortage.
Sara Rose Webber (Tempe, 2017) is now the Deputy Director at Arizona State Parks and Trails.
Updates are gathered from conversations, press releases, articles, social media, tipsters, and confessions. Have news to share? Send it to Danielle Underwood.
Board and Commission Openings
Serving on a board or commission is a great way to influence public policy on issues where you have expertise or a passion to serve.
Fellows interested in building their skills as a board member may want to contact Board Development Phoenix for information or to learn more about private and nonprofit board service opportunities.
The Governor’s Office seeks applicants for vacancies on the following boards and commissions:
- Pinal County and Pima County Commissions on Trial Court Appointments has vacancies for non-attorney members.
- State Liquor Board has a vacancy for a member with no financial interest. Members require Senate confirmation.
- Arizona Barbering and Cosmetology Board has a vacancy for a public member who is a cosmetologist.
- Arizona Racing Commission has a vacancy for a member with horse-racing experience.
Apply for these positions through the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions.
Maricopa County has vacancies on the Travel Reduction Program Regional Task Force in Districts 2, 3, 4, and 5. You can apply for these positions through the Clerk of the Board here.
The city of Phoenix has vacancies on the following boards and commissions:
- Sister Cities Commission
- Youth and Education Commission
- Village Planning Committees (Check your village for vacancies)
Most counties and cities in Arizona have boards and commissions with frequent vacancies. Check local websites for more opportunities. If your city or county has specific opportunities you would like to share, please contact Jennifer Papworth with details.
Career and Professional Opportunities
Applications for Leadership West Class 29 are now open. Leadership West is the only program that offers a behind-the-scenes look into issues in the West Valley. The 150-hour Flagship Program is designed to transform already exceptional individuals into 4th Quadrant Leaders who generously utilize their knowledge, collaboration, and skills to make life better for everyone in their organization, community, and region. Apply here.
SciTech Institute is hiring for STEM Ecosystem Hub Coordinators in various regions.
The Arizona State Senate has the following positions open: Senate Democratic Caucus General Counsel and Policy Advisor, Senate Democratic Caucus Chief of Staff, Senate Democratic Caucus Policy Advisor, and Legislative Research Assistant Analyst.
The University of Arizona is hiring for an Executive Director, Wassaja Carlos Montezuma Center for Native American Health. Find more information here.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital has an opening for a Director of Donor Relations.
The Thunderbird School of Management is searching for an Executive Director of Engagement.
Health First Foundation Northern Arizona is seeking a Senior Philanthropy Officer.
Vitalyst Health Foundation is hiring a Program Manager, Grants & Partnerships to assist with grants/contracts management and program coordination.
The Nature Conservancy has several opportunities across Arizona, including a Southern AZ Water Projects Manager, Northern AZ Land Water Protection Manager, and a Forest Restoration Spatial Data Manager. External candidates should visit www.nature.org, “our people” menu option, and the landing page will have “join our team” with a “careers” link.
Chandler-Gilbert Community Colleges in the Maricopa Community Colleges System is seeking a Vice President for Administrative Services.
Events & Conferences
Venture Café Phoenix connects creators, entrepreneurs, investors, coworkers, students, and visionaries at that flagship program, the Thursday Gathering, to build a strong, inclusive and equitable innovation ecosystem. Check out the schedule of gatherings for December.
The Arizona Department of Homeland Security is holding the Arizona Cybersecurity Workforce Development Planning Session Dec. 6 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. at the State Capitol Executive Tower. Event is open to state agencies, counties, cities, K-12 schools, and tribal nations to help identify best practices, current challenges, and future opportunities. Event registration here.
Join George Hammond with the University of Arizona Eller Economic and Business Research Center and Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC, for their insights at the 2022 Eller Economic Outlook Luncheon on Dec. 9 from 12:00-1:30 p.m. Register here.
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry will host its 2023 Legislative Forecast Luncheon on Friday, Jan. 6 at Chase Field. Details and registration available here.
The University of Arizona is hosting the Arizona Rural & Public Health Policy Forum on Jan. 31 at the University of Arizona Phoenix Virginia G. Piper Auditorium. The full-day forum is designed to address current rural and public health policy issues and their impact on Arizona’s rural and tribal communities. Registration can be found here.
The Greater Phoenix Chamber’s Legislative Kick-off will be held on Jan. 12 at the Phoenix Art Museum. Registration and event details here.
Leadership West Alumni Association will have its annual West-X Leadership Summit on Feb. 16. Details and event registration available here.