County Supervisors Appoint 2 New Legislators

Pinal County has two new state legislators, appointed to fill two vacancies that came up in the county’s delegation this fall.

Both were selected by the county Board of Supervisors during its Oct. 27 meeting. Per state statute, three nominees were submitted by the precinct committeemen of the district representing the same party as the previous officeholder (in this case, both were Republicans) and interviewed by the board at an Oct. 20 special meeting.

Legislative District 8 (San Tan Valley, Coolidge, Florence, Eloy, Superior, and parts of Casa Grande south of Val Vista Boulevard, east of Thornton Road)

Neal Carter, a San Tan Valley resident since 2010, was selected to replace longtime Rep. Frank Pratt, who died Sept. 21. Carter is a practicing attorney and employed as a senior technical trainer for NUIX, Inc. He opposed Pratt in the 2020 Republican primary. Carter is an active volunteer and serves as counsel for the San Tan Valley Advisory Council and general counsel for the Pinal County Republican Precinct Committeemen.

In his letter of intent to seek the board’s appointment, Carter said, in part, “Local concerns that are close to my heart include attracting new businesses and jobs, which is why I am a member of, and regularly attend, the Pinal Partnership for years, now. I am also concerned for our water future, which is why I have been a regular attendee at water town halls.”

Carter was unanimously confirmed. The other two nominees were Chuck Gray of San Tan Valley, a former state legislator for Mesa, and Joseph Lutrario of San Tan Valley, a retired police officer, and owner of a martial-arts studio in Mesa.

Legislative District 11 (Maricopa, western Casa Grande, Stanfield, Picacho, plus Marana and other parts of northern Pima County)

Teresa Martinez of Casa Grande was selected to replace Rep. Bret Roberts of Maricopa, who resigned Sept. 30 because his family is relocating out of state. Martinez has been U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar’s part-time director of coalitions and Hispanic outreach since 2004 and has worked for the Arizona Secretary of State’s office and the Arizona Republican Party.

She wrote in her letter of intent that “Pinal County needs someone who is willing to put the needs of Pinal County first before the needs of special interest groups or other counties. We need someone who will fight for Pinal County, and I am definitely a fighter.”

The other nominees for this seat were Kirk Fiehler of Tucson, a district manager for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, and Steve Smith of Maricopa, another former state legislator who now leads a nonprofit advocating for school choice and had Roberts’ endorsement.

All three were nominated by a board member to be included in the final vote, in which Martinez won with support from three of the five supervisors.