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  • Goodyear Independent

    Meet the candidates for the Arizona House District 23

    By By Richard Smith,


    Four Democrat and one Republican candidates are running to represent Arizona Legislative District 23 in the house in the July 30 primary election.

    LD-23 takes in swaths of Yuma County, Pima County, Pinal County and western Maricopa County, including sectios of Avondale, Buckeye and Goodyear.

    Incumbents Mariana Sandoval (D-Goodyear) and MIchele Pena (R-Yuma) are seeking reelection to the House seats, with three newcomers entering the race.

    House candidates are:

    James "Jimmy" Holmes

    Holmes was born and raised in Arizona. He has Native American heritage from the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes of Oklahoma.  He has worked in the transportation industry for more than 30 years from driving a truck to management.

    The Holmes family has lived in Goodyear for the last 13 years. He and his wife, Heather, raised three children and have recently welcomed twin grandbabies to our family.

    In 2022 Holmes campaigned ran for election to the U.S. House to represent Arizona's 8th Congressional District. He did not appear on the ballot for the Democratic primary that August. He is running as a Democrat in this primary.

    Holmes said he is seeking office as a clean elections candidate to represent and advocate for the people of Arizona, not the special interests. He said he is running as an Arizonan, not a politician.  Holmes said he thinks the state needs fresh political candidates that can see the issues that Arizona is facing with clear eyes.

    Jesus Lugo Jr.

    Lugo Jr., said he is a proud Democrat with 15 years of political experience. Born in Yuma and raised in Gadsden, Lugo said his roots in this community run deep.

    He said his vision is rooted in democratic principles and a rich Hispanic heritage, Lugo said he is dedicated to championing the needs of working families, children, the elderly, the sick, and the underprivileged. His goal is to unite and strengthen our community, forging a path toward a more inclusive and equitable future for all. M ental health, substance abuse and support for victims of domestic violence stand at the forefront of his agenda.

    Lugo said these are not just policy areas, they are the pillars upon which Arizona can build a healthier, more educated, and resilient community. As State Senator, he would pledge to tirelessly advocate for the resources and reforms needed to uplift our middle class, ensuring that every member of the community has access to the opportunities they deserve, and to be a voice for the voiceless.

    Michele Pena

    Michele Pena was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2022, representing District 23. Pena is a member of the Republican Party and lives in Yuma.

    As the daughter of an immigrant and a resident raised in Yuma with experience in Pima County, Pena said love anchors her family in this district. Her priorities are rooted in God, country, family, and community.

    Pena said she is committed to addressing economic concerns, safeguarding children, and meeting the unique needs of rural communities.

    In my role as a representative, she championed these values, winning a write-in race in 2022. I believe in policies that benefit all Arizonans while preserving freedom and the state's way of life.

    She voted for, among other bills, a resolution to ban foreign interference of Arizona farmland, more stringent equirements for reporting missing foster children and a text solicitation ban.

    Matias Rosales

    Rosales has called San Luis home for two decades. A husband and proud father of four, Rosales balances roles as a real estate professional and a council member in his community. He is seeking election as a Democrat.

    With more than 12 years of service to the city of San Luis, including a tenure as vice mayor. Rosales said he finds fulfillment in giving back to his community.

    He volunteers his time to various organizations, such as a wish granter for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, chairman of the Greater Yuma Port Authority, and the current chair of the Yuma County Planning and Zoning Commission.

    Rosales is also a board member of the Greater Yuma Economic Development and was recently appointed chair of the Arizona Real Estate Advisory Commission. He also serves on the local, state, and National Association of Realtor boards.

    Mariana Sandoval

    Sandoval said she is the proud daughter and great-granddaughter of immigrants from Mexico.  She was raised in Southern California, which is where she met her husband, Sergio.  The couple moved to Goodyear 16 years ago to give their children a better life, she said.

    Sergio is a UA 469 Union member (plumber), and Mariana have worked as a paralegal for several legal aid offices both in California and Arizona. She also worked for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office for 12 years.

    She served on the Agua Fria Union High School District board from January 2017 to December of 2020, where her priorities were to expand opportunities for underserved and marginalized constituents and to increase teacher compensation.

    The needs and priorities of working people continue to be dismissed. She sais she is a working class wife, mother, and community member. Like the rest her neighbors, she wants good schools, access to affordable healthcare/prescription medications/housing, good paying jobs and clean water/air. None of these issues are partisan and we should focus on these commonalities and work together to achieve them.

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