The makeup of Gilbert’s legislative district will finally see a new face in office after three terms with the same pair of lawmakers.
The House race for largely conservative District 22 — made up of Gilbert, southeast Mesa and parts of Pinal County — has four Republicans vying for its two seats: Adam Armer, incumbent Andy Biggs, Bob Brown and Laurin Hendrix.
The race’s lone Democrat is Glenn Ray, who tried for the Senate seat in 2006.
The other House seat is being vacated by Eddie Farnsworth, who is termed out and is now entering the race for the district’s Senate spot against Joe Bedgood and incumbent Thayer Vershoor.
Few issues separate the House candidates, and nearly all share similar concerns for the district and state: transportation, growth, public safety, education, immigration and taxes.
The Republican s are promising to maintain the district’s conservative lean, but Ray touts his desire to bring a bipartisan approach to the state Capitol.
The primary is Sept. 2, and the general election is Nov. 4.
Adam Armer is a small-business owner who’s lived in the district for more than two years.
After serving as a district precinct committeeman, he sees growth as the biggest challenge for the area.
“We are going to have a lot of it real fast,” Armer said. “It will be difficult to deal with. But I think we’ve done a good job so far. It’s important to stay proactive and stay on that track.”
Armer said he will bring a conservative view point that aligns with Biggs and Farnsworth.
Armer said solid planning, getting a handle on the housing situation and keeping the cost of living down are other issues on which he plans to focus.
“I happen to think our area is a beautiful place to live, and I’m going to work to keep it like that,” he said.
Bob Brown has lived in the district for 19 years and is a business owner.
This is the first time Brown has run for an elected office, and he said he wants to be a “voice of reason.”
His main concerns for the district are immigration, education funding and the budget deficit, a result of former lawmakers spending like “drunken sailors.”
Brown said he knows he’ll make a difference and that he sees the need for more unity in the Legislature.
“They get polarized down there,” he said. “I think more people are needed who are willing to work together.”
Laurin Hendrix has lived in Gilbert for 17 years and owns a small business.
Hendrix has served as a district precinct committeeman and was a finalist for a Gilbert public school board position earlier this year.
Hendrix’s aim is to reduce the budget. He says his business experience sets him apart from other candidates.
“I’ve got 20 years of business experience,” he said. “It’s experience other candidates lack.”
Immigration and improved communication between the state lawmakers and local leaders also are key issues for Hendrix.
“We need to respect the sovereignty of the cities and towns instead of ignoring them,” he said.
Andy Biggs, who is seeking his fourth term, is a former attorney who has worked with many family and youth organizations over the years.
He has lived in Gilbert for 20 years and sees the economy, public safety education and growth as the important issues for the district.
Transportation also is a key issue for Biggs, who has served as the House transportation committee chairman.
Biggs said he’s a champion for less government regulation and doesn’t feel like his work is done at the state Capitol. He also said that he wants to continue Arizona’s rugged independence.
“I feel what’s happening in a lot of respects is the Californianizing of Arizona, and I hate us moving toward that trend,” he said.
Glenn Ray is the race’s only Democrat, a key factor that he said sets him apart.
“We need to get some bipartisan people who want to fix problems and not promote party lines,” he said.
Ray works as a project manager for US Airways, but is currently full-time with the National Guard. He’s lived in the district since 2002 and unsuccessfully ran for the Senate seat in 2006.
Economy, education and public safety are the issues he sees as the most important for the area and state.
“The challenge is, we need someone to focus on real solutions to real problems,” Ray said.
The fringe issues should be someone we work on once the big problems are solved, he said.