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3/14/2014 6:00:00 AM
Arizona Secretary of State candidate draws on family's experience
Michele Reagan
Michele Reagan

Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - State senator and Arizona Secretary of State candidate Michele Reagan became a fiscal conservative the old-fashioned way: She and her family owned a small business and the government represented a significant threat to the bottom line.

One of Reagan's opponents, Rep. Justin Pierce, R-Mesa, was unable to attend Wednesday's event sponsored by the Mohave Republican Forum. His father, Gary Pierce, a former lawmaker and current Arizona Corporation commissioner, spoke on his son's behalf.

For the Reagan family, business wasn't always good. Sometimes the government made things difficult for her father, who started a sign company shortly after moving the family from Chicago to the Phoenix area more than 20 years ago.

"I saw what government interference can do to a company," she told an overflow audience at a Mohave Republican Forum candidate event Wednesday night.

"The government says you can't use that kind of paint, or that kind of equipment."

The alternative, she said, was always more costly.

The experience, she said, "piqued" her curiosity.

Actually, it planted the seed that blossomed into a political career that began in 2002, when Reagan was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives and to the Senate eight years later.

She served on two legislative committees over the next 12 years that deal directly with the chief duties of a secretary of state - business and elections.

Reagan chaired the House Commerce Committee for six years and served a total of eight years.

When Reagan transitioned to the Senate in 2010, she was assigned to the newly created Elections committee and was soon named chairwoman.

"I pulled people around me who knew a lot more about elections than I did, and I learned," said Reagan.

The result was a series of "very comprehensive" bills in 2013 that were designed to protect votes.

She said there are issues with elections in Arizona. One of them is the fact that political organizations are picking up ballots from the homes of early voters and turning them in to Elections officials.

This is legal in Arizona - and only in Arizona, Reagan pointed out - and it is a system that can be abused any number of ways, she said.

Multiple thousands of such ballots were cast in the 2012 election, according to an August report in the Arizona Capitol Times.

In another case of potetial voter fraud, Reagan said officials discovered a single post office box in San Luis was the address 30 people used to register to vote.

"I really want to do this job," she said, noting the dozen years she has spent as a lawmaker focused on business and elections makes her uniquely qualified.

Justin Pierce was appointed to the House in 2011 when Rep. Kirk Adams resigned to run for Congress.

An employment attorney, Pierce in his campaign literature said he hopes to create jobs and strengthen the state's economy if elected secretary of state, the de facto next in line of succession to the governor's office in Arizona.

Gary Pierce said as an employment attorney who deals with businesses, Justin Pierce does business with the Secretary of State's office "every day" and is familiar with advocating for businesses and ensuring clean elections.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, March 14, 2014
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

So let me get this straight Ms. Reagan first became interested in politics when the govt. outlawed lead paint. And yes it does cost more to do things right as many of us already know. Maybe this young women spent to much time with dad at work and the effects of that lead paint made her a Republican. She doesn't say what kind of equipment but I suspect she is talking about a mask to protect her from toxic fumes. I operated a sign business in Ca. for 25 years and somehow I was able to make a profit. go figure.

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