State Senate

Democrats in the Arizona Senate

LD 2- Andrea Dalessandro


Home City: Sahuarita
Occupation: Retired math teacher, accounting professor, CPA/tax accountant
Member Since: 2013
Senator Andrea Dalessandro was born in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, the international symbol of freedom and opportunity. As the granddaughter of immigrants she has been able to live the American Dream. With the opportunity of affordable higher education, she was able to become a high school math teacher and later, after she received her M.B.A. from Rutgers University, she became a C.P.A., small business owner and a college professor. Because of her knowledge of math and accounting she is frequently heard saying that “fiscal responsibility is a two-sided equation” and “better accountability for all tax dollars.”

As a Rotarian in the Tubac Club in Santa Cruz County, her guiding principles come from the Rotary 4 Way Test of the things Rotarians think, say, or do.

  • Is it the TRUTH?
  • Is it FAIR to ALL concerned?
  • Will it build GOODWILL and better friendships?
  • Will it be BENEFICIAL to ALL concerned?

Ms. Dalessandro strongly believes that we must maximize business opportunities in Arizona. She recently graduated from the intensive, eleven-week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Citizens’ Academy in Nogales. She believes that a better understanding of, and support for, increased trade with Mexico, will not only benefit people in Legislative District 2 (southern Pima and all of Santa Cruz County) but all of Arizona.

Economic development and the growth of good paying, sustainable jobs with the public educational system to supply a well trained workforce are her priorities. She is concerned about a sufficient water supply and clean air. Ms. Dalessandro strongly believes that we must keep our promises to our veterans.

Ms. Dalessandro serves on Judiciary, Rural Affairs and Environment and Financial Institutions Committees. She resides in Sahuarita. Her daughter is a nurse/midwife and Ms. Dalessandro is the grandmother of five.

LD 3- Olivia Cajero Bedford

Home City: Tucson
House Member: 2003-2010
Senate Member: 2011-present

Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford was well versed with state politics long before Tucson citizens honored her by electing her to serve in the Arizona Legislature. She served eight years as a State Representative to her constituents and in 2010, she won the Senate seat.

She grew up in a political family that placed a high value on public service. Understanding the importance of public service, Senator Cajero Bedford became the second generation in her family to represent southern Arizonans at the state Capitol. She provided her parents, Rep. Bernardo “Nayo” Cajero and Rep. Carmen Cajero, with advice on important votes during the 28 years they served in the Arizona House of Representatives. She urged her parents to ensure that high school students receive free text books and that the state provide funding to establish the University of Arizona Cancer Research Center.

Before having the opportunity to serve Tucsonans at the state level, Senator Cajero Bedford was a business owner and a director of sales and marketing for the tourism/hotel industry. Years of business experience make her a strong advocate of small companies and economic development.

Since taking office in 2003, Senator Cajero Bedford has fought to defend a woman’s right to choose. This issue is important to her and remains at the top of her list each session.

Senator Cajero Bedford is a graduate of the Council of State Governments’ Legislative Academy. She has been involved with a number of civic organizations over the years including the Girl Scouts, Arizona Tourism Advisory Council, National Association of Latino Elected Officials, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, Women in Government and National Conference of State Legislatures.

Increasing career and technical education in high school curriculum has been one of her goals for her tenure in the legislature. Senator Cajero Bedford works with high schools in her district to help teachers coordinate school field trips to the Legislature to improve students’ understanding of government and expand on what they have learned in the classroom. It is her wish that as a result, one of these students will then start to think about a career in politics.

She was honored, that the Arizona Medical Association, in 2007 awarded her with the “Walk the Talk” award. In addition, was honored among the 2007 Tech 10 Legislators at the Fifth Annual Governor’s Celebration of Innovation, The Victoria Foundation in 2010. She and her mother, Carmen were honored by Latina Perspectives Magazine with the Latina Trailblazers award in 2011.

LD 4- Lisa Otondo

Home City: Yuma
Occupation: Real Estate Agent, International Flight Attendant, Instructor (Cross-Cultural Communications), Professor, Specialist, (International Affairs, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Teacher
Member Since: 2013

Having completed two terms (four years) in the House of Representatives, Lisa Otondo is pleased to start the 2017 Legislative session as District 4’s new Senator. As a second-generation Arizonan, (born and raised in Yuma), she comes from a large Basque family with deep farming roots. This upbringing has given her a keen awareness of the issues and challenges facing farming and rural communities. She is passionate about water issues in Arizona and the need to address these issues. Sen. Otondo is proud to serve on the Jon Kyle Leadership Round Table, the Agribusiness and Water Council, (ABWC) and she received her water management certificate from the ABWC/ASU Water Management program.

As a former public school teacher, Senator Otondo knows first-hand the importance of supporting our schools our teachers and staff. She has worked in a bipartisan manner to increase state funding for our public schools, universities, Junior Career & Technical Education Districts (JTEDs) and Community Technical Enterprises (CTE’s). She will continue to fight to improve public education funding, teachers’ salaries and reduced class sizes.

Senator Otondo is the ranking Democrat on the Transportation & Technology Committee, and serves on the Natural Resources Energy & Water Committee. One of her goals for the 2017-2018 session is to bring stakeholders together for “Water Wise” lunches for networking and keeping abreast of legislation for sensible water policy. She is also concerned about the serious transportation and infrastructure problems facing Arizona, and is adamant that the Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF) not continue to be swept for a “quick fix” to other budgetary problems.

Ms. Otondo completed her Master’s Degree in International Public Administration from the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and speaks five languages including Spanish, Mandarin, French and Portuguese.

During her spare time, she volunteers as an interpreter for various non-profit agencies. She enjoys reading, traveling and the arts. She looks forward to serving her constituents in District 4.

LD 7- Jamescita Peshlakai

Home City: Cameron
Occupation: Legislator
Member Since: 2013
“Ya’at’eeh shi kei doo shi dine’e!”

My dear relatives and community members, my name is Jamescita Mae Peshlakai. I am Dine’, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation; my clans are Tangle People Clan and Red House Clan. My maternal grandfathers are Bitter Water Clan, and paternal grandfathers are Cliff Dweller Clan. Born, raised and living in Legislative District 7, my constituents are family, LD7 is home, and it is an honor to serve as your Senator.

One hundred and twelve years ago, two of my great-grandfathers; Chishi Nez and Beshlagaii Atsidii, met with President Theodore Roosevelt to negotiate the annexation of the western part of the Navajo Nation to protect it from settlers. My grandfather and my father devoted much of their lives serving as headmen and tribal officials; I respect and value this legacy in public service.

As a young woman, I served in the US Army, and am a Persian Gulf War Veteran. There are great inequities in the treatment of veterans in our state, most especially those who reside in rural Arizona and on Native Nations. Now, as a mother of two daughters, planning for a better Arizona is critical.

I served in the Fifty-First Arizona State Legislature on the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee, as well as the Public Safety, Military, and Regulatory Affairs Committee. Now, in the Fifty-Third Legislature, I am on the Natural Resources, Energy, and Water Committee, as well as the Transportation and Technology Committee.

LD7 is the largest State Legislative District in Arizona and the United States. LD7 stretches from near Lake Mead, to the Four Corners National Monument and south beyond Globe. LD7 extends to seven counties, Mohave, Coconino, Navajo, Apache, Gila, Graham, and Pinal. Eight tribes make up the majority of constituents; Hualapai, Havasupai, Kaibab Paiute, San Juan Southern Paiute, Navajo, Hopi, White Mountain Apache, San Carlos Apache and some Zuni Pueblo. LD7 has some of the most beautiful parks and natural wonders in the world; the Grand Canyon, the San Francisco Peaks, Monument Valley and the White Mountains, the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers.

My priorities during the 2017 legislative session include advocating for veterans, healthcare, education, transportation, public safety, economic growth, environmental stewardship, protecting natural resources, water justice, tribal sovereignty, social and economic justice for women and LGBTQI populations.

LD 9- Steve Farley — Assistant Minority Leader

Home City: Tucson
Occupation: Small business owner – public art, photography, and graphic design
Member Since: 2007
Steve Farley is a 53-year-old small-business owner and father of Amelia, 21, and Genevieve, 17. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College (Mass.) in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He was elected to represent the citizens of District 9 as State Senator in 2012. He 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, Financial Institutions, and Ethics Committees.

Steve, named by the Arizona Republic as one of 16 Arizonans to Watch in 2016, is working to move Arizona forward with legislative priorities in the areas of public education, jobs and economic development, senior issues, public safety, transportation choices, sustainable growth, fiscal health, and quality of life. In his legislative career, he has worked to invest in new technologies and high-wage jobs, expand health care for self-employed and small-business owners, make long-term care more affordable for middle-class seniors and the families that love them, increasing the production of clean solar energy, outlaw driving while texting, build passenger rail between Tucson and Phoenix and beyond, protect Tucson’s sovereignty, and create livable communities. He has repeatedly been named Conservation Hero by the Arizona League of Conservation Voters, and Legislative Champion by the Arizona League of Towns and Cities.

He is well-known as the artist who gathered personal photos from the Tucson community and turned them into those historic photographic tile murals around the Broadway Underpass, at the eastern gateway to Downtown Tucson, which has won the title of Best Mural in the Tucson Weekly’s annual Best of Tucson reader poll eleven years in a row. For that project, he 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 has also become well-known as a strong advocate for public transit and other transportation improvements, and is founder of Southern Arizona Transit Advocates. He was instrumental in gaining approval for a comprehensive regional transportation system of roads, buses, bikeways and sidewalks, and the Modern Streetcar starter light rail line which opened in Tucson in 2015 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’s leadership in the creation of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) has resulted in thousands of new, good jobs and rebuilt vital Tucson regional roadways like La Cholla and La Canada.

The Arizona Transit Association honored him with the statewide Friend of Transit award, and the Arizona Chapter of the American Planning Association named him the statewide 2011 Distinguished Elected Official. He is also a Board Member of the central-city Blenman Elm Neighborhood Association.

LD 10- David Bradley

Home City: Tucson
Occupation: Health Care Administrator
Member Since: January 2013

Birthday: November 1952. Born in Seattle, Washington

Marital Status: Married – Wife: Debra D’Amore, 4 children. 6 Grandchildren

Education MBA, MSEd, B.S. Psychology

Offices Held Arizona State Representative District 28 2003-2011 Chairman – Pima County Democratic Party 2002-2002 Vice-Chair – Pima County Democratic Party 1993-1994 President – Democrats of Greater Tucson 1997-1999

Business or Professional Career Chief Development Officer, La Frontera Arizona, 2012 to Present President, CEO, La Paloma Family Services 1993-2012 Licensed Professional Counselor 1984-present U.S. Navy – 1972-1980 Author of Management by Essay and Politics by Essay, Pursuits of Justice

Lodges, Societies, Additional Information St. Michael and All Angels Church Arizona Community Action Association President, Behavior Healthcare Coalition of Southern Arizona 1999 Member of numerous community boards American Legion Member Tucson Chamber 1992-2011

Religion Episcopalian

 LD 18- Sean Bowie

Home City: Chandler
Occupation: Senator
Member Since: 2017

Senator Sean Bowie represents Legislative District 18, which includes Ahwatukee, south Tempe, west Chandler, and southwest Mesa. Sean is serving his first term, after winning office in November 2016.

Sean and his family first moved to Legislative District 18 in 1994. A product of the Kyrene Elementary and Tempe Union High School districts, Sean graduated from Mountain Pointe High School in 2002. Sean then went on to ASU, receiving degrees in Political Science and History. Sean received his Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University in 2013.

Prior to serving in the Senate, Sean worked for the Provost’s office at his alma mater, Arizona State University. He worked daily on issues including expanding need-based financial aid for working Arizona families, increasing resources for first-year students, and expanding online educational opportunities and increasing access for students.

Sean serves on the Senate Finance and Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committees. In addition to those committees, he is intently focused on restoring education investment to our K-12 schools and higher educational institutions.

Sean lives by the motto of his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University, “my heart is in the work.”

 LD 19- Lupe Contreras — Minority Whip

Home City: Cashion
Occupation: Law
House Member: Present
My name is Guadalupe Chavira Contreras; most friends and family know me by Lupe or Lupito. I was born July 27, 1975 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix AZ to my two awesome parents Manuel & Oralia Contreras. I’m the youngest of four children, in order from oldest to youngest Juanita Contreras,Manuel Contreras Jr., Mercedes Contreras, and myself. From birth I was raised in Cashion, Arizona and moved out of the town I’ve always called home at the age of 22.

Growing up I was involved in Baseball, Wrestling, and Football. I attended Littleton Elementary School, Underdown JR High, and Westview High School. I was part of the first Graduating class of Westview back in 1993. After graduation I attended Estrella Mountain Community College and Glendale Community College in pursuit of a degree in Criminal Justice.

In high school during the summer months I worked in fields picking onions and melons. This was my summer job until the end of my senior year when I started working at Fry’s in Avondale then went on to UPS. While going to college I was offered a job at the Law Office of Ben Miranda to whom I can still call a friend to this day. After working there for a few years I went off to work for two other law offices and then to the office that I’ve called home for the past 14 years which is Pomeroy & Associates. Pomeroy & Associates is not only my employer but my second family; I could never say enough of all the friends and clients that I have met over the years.

I’ve coached Wrestling for more than ten years from Kindergarten children to Seniors in High School. I coached for the Desert Devils Wrestling program for kids from K through 8 th grade and at Westview High School.

More recently since being elected State Representative for District 19, I have become an active member of NALEO – National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed officials.

I’m married to Sara Violeta Contreras who is originally from Ajo, Arizona and came to the West Valley at the age of two. My wife attended Westwind Elementary School, Westview High School, and Estrella Mountain Community College where she received an Associated Degree. She works at Sierra Linda High School in the Tolleson Union High School District. We have 6 beautiful children and three grandchildren with one more expected June of 2013.

The West Valley has always been home to both my wife and I and is something that we hold close to our hearts. My family roots in the West Valley go back to before my parents were born and when my Grandparents were young. Growing up I’ve been able to see the growth that all the West Valley towns have gone though.

LD 24- Katie Hobbs — Minority Leader

Home City: Phoenix
Occupation: Social Worker
Member Since: 2011
Katie Hobbs is a State Senator in her third term, serving her second term as the Senate Minority Leader. Prior to being elected to the Senate, she served one term in the Arizona House of Representatives.

Katie is from Phoenix, Arizona, and has a Bachelor of Social Work from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Social Work from Arizona State University. She has been a professional social worker since 1992. Prior to being elected to the legislature, she worked in the areas of domestic violence, behavioral health, and homelessness.

Katie has served on several commissions with the City of Phoenix and Maricopa County. She is also involved with her professional organization, the Arizona Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and is adjunct faculty for social work at both Arizona State University and Paradise Valley Community College. Katie is a graduate of Valley Leadership’s Leadership Institute (2003), Emerge Arizona’s political training program (2004), and the Center for Progressive Leadership’s Political Leaders Fellowship program (2007). She is also the former chair of the District 15 Democrats.

Outside of her professional life, Katie enjoys spending time with her family. She has been married to Pat Goodman for 21 years and they have two children: Sam, age 18, and Hannah, age 15.

LD 26- Juan Mendez


Juan Mendez is a first generation American and a native Arizonan. Having lived across Maricopa County he attended Tolleson Union High School, received his associate degree from Phoenix College, then graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Justice Studies from ASU.

Elected to the State House of Representatives in 2012, Juan represents district 26 which includes north Tempe, northwest Mesa, some of South Phoenix and the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community

Before running for office Juan ran the local nonprofit program Arizona Community Voicemail, connecting the homeless and economically vulnerable to jobs, housing, and hope. Today when he isn’t at the legislature or in the community he is a substitute high school teacher for the Tempe and Mesa school districts.

Senator Mendez has also been the chair and co-chair of the Arizona Legislative Latino Caucus for the last and current election term.

LD 27- Catherine Miranda

Home City: Phoenix
Occupation: Education Administration
Member Since: 2010

Catherine Hernandez Miranda comes from a family of four sisters and one brother. Family roots in District 16 began with her mother Ysabel Santana Hernandez’ passion for church work at St. Catherine’s and Immaculate Heart Church. Her father, Robert Hernandez, a Korean War paratrooper in the 11th American Airborne was a proud member of American Legion Post 41. Another bond with District 16 was her father’s construction work; building Ocotillo Library and Salvation Army center.

Raised in the Jorgenson neighborhood near Bishop Henry Barnwell’s Missionary Baptist church where her athletic talents took her from all star fame, to East High basketball and scholarship offers from South Mountain Community College and Arizona State University.

Catherine worked at South Mountain High school under principals René Diaz and Josephine Pete. Graduating from ASU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary education, she taught in the Roosevelt District. In 2004 she received her Master’s in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and promoted to assistant principal. She’s been administrator in Washington and Cartwright school Districts.

Catherine is in her first term of the State Legislature as a representative from district 16. Her legislative priority is education with a special focus on Dream Act students. In 2011, Catherine was appointed by State House Speaker, Andy Tobin to the Education Ad Hoc Committee whose purpose is to recommend an effective data system for the state of Arizona. Catherine has also been selected to serve on the Board of Directors with National Association of Latino Elected Officials. NALEO is the largest and longest existing Latino elected officials organization in the United States. Among her appointments is also her seat on the Executive Committee on the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. She has also been named chairwoman for the International Relations, Trade, and Immigration Task Force with NHCSL. In 2008 Catherine was elected by the widest margin to the Roosevelt School Board. Roosevelt is the largest and oldest school district in the South Mountain community.

Catherine is co-founder of the Manzana Foundation which helps students prepare for college. The Manzana Foundation recently joined a partnership with Navajo Technical College to extend accredited courses into the Phoenix area. Catherine’s passion in education has given DreamAct students an opportunity to continue their education at an affordable price through this partnership. People most important to Catherine is her husband Ben and her two children Gavin and Star.

LD 29- Martin Quezada — Minority Whip

Home City: Phoenix
Occupation: Attorney
Member Since: 2012
Martín is a native of Phoenix and was born and spent his early childhood in Maryvale where he attended St. Vincent de Paul Elementary School. Martín is also a graduate of Peoria Centennial High School (1995), Glendale Community College (1998), Arizona State University West (2001) and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University (2008).

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice and Ethnic Studies from ASU West, Martín spent five years working as a Research Analyst/Policy Advisor to the Democrat Caucus in the Arizona State Senate (2001) and the Arizona State House of Representatives (2002-2005) before being accepted into law school at ASU. While in law school, he served as President of the ASU Chicano/Latino Law Students Association (2006-2007), and served in the Graduate & Professional Students Association representing the law school in ASU’s graduate student government. Martín was honored with the Congressman Ed Pastor Outstanding Graduate Student Award at the 2008 Hispanic Convocation. After receiving his Juris Doctorate degree, Martín served a judicial clerkship for Judge Patricia Orozco on the Arizona Court of Appeals (2008-2009).

Martín has been a community activist for several years and serves on numerous boards and commissions in the community including the ASU Los Diablos Latino Alumni Association, the Maryvale Village Planning Committee, the West Phoenix Revitalization Community Advisory Board and the Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association Board of Directors. He was named as one of the Univision Radio/AZ Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Top 40 Hispanic Leaders Under Age 40 in 2009.

In November 2009, Martín opened the doors to the “Law Office of Martín J. Quezada, PLLC,” where he practices in the areas of criminal defense and domestic relations. Martín has also practiced in the areas of civil litigation and election law. He continues to live in the west valley where he was elected to the Pendergast Elementary School District Governing Board in the 2010 General Election. He was appointed to the Arizona State House of Representatives in Legislative District #13 in March, 2012 to fill a vacant seat.

LD 30- Robert Meza

Home City: Phoenix
Occupation: Business Development Director
Member Since: 2002

Senator Robert Meza was elected to his first term in the Arizona State Senate in 2010. Prior to his election as a State Senator, Robert served four terms in the Arizona House of Representatives serving Legislative District 14. Currently, Robert sits on three standing committees: Commerce and Workforce Development, Government, and Natural Resourcesy.

Robert earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and continues to be a strong proponent of affordable education throughout Arizona. Robert also focuses his legislative efforts on social issues such as affordable health care, immigration, and equality of opportunity regardless of race, sex and economic class.

To learn more about our incumbent members, please visit the pages below:

AZ House Democrats 

AZ Senate Democrats