Arizona Legislative District 17 Democratic Chair Nancy Celaya discusses the 2020 Elections.

LD 17 Democratic Party Chair Nancy Celaya (left), LD 17 Treasurer Al Kurdoglu (Center) and LD 17 Request to Speak Trainer Judy Simons (Right)

Arizona Legislative District (LD) 17, an area that includes all or parts of Chandler, Gilbert, and Sun Lakes, is a purple district that is becoming bluer every day.

In 2018, Jennifer Pawlik was the leading vote-getter among three State House Candidates.

Senate Candidate Steve Weichert came within less than 2,000 votes of defeating the then-Republican Speaker of the House JD Mesnard.

Going into 2020, Jacob Schmidt has retired from chairing LD 17.

Lifelong Democrat Nancy Celaya became the new chair in September 2019.

A former Vice President at JP Morgan Chase who has worked at the Department of Economic Security and on the county Family Assistance-Welfare TANF food stamp programs, Ms. Celaya had been a PC and served on several LD 17 committees.

She and her board members (including Maricopa County Democratic Party First Vice Chair Carol Maas and LD 17 treasurer Al Kurdoglu) are working hard to lay the groundwork for Pawlik’s reelection to the State House and a Democratic victory in the State Senate.

Ms. Celaya came to the SoZo Coffee House in Chandler to discuss how LD 17 is preparing for 2020.

The questions and responses are below.

  • In terms of moving forward, what are two things you are doing the same from 2018 in preparing for the 2020 election cycle?

 “We are canvassing for Jennifer. She has all our support and she is a wonderful and successful representative. We also continued the committee structure for social media, programming, finance, PC recruitment, and support. We have kept that structure intact. We have made strides in voter registration, PC outreach, and social media. “

  • In terms of moving forward, what are two things you are doing differently from 2018 in preparing for the 2020 election cycle?

“We know which precincts we need to target. We know which districts need Spanish speakers. We know which precincts need more PC attention.” We are also reaching out to young Democrats and have been in contact with ASU Young Dems.

 “We are doing more focused work on how to talk with people and persuade them, by focusing on bread and butter issues that touch our everyday lives.

  • What are your goals and objectives for 2020?

 Legislative District 17 will continue our success from 2019 into 2020 by reelecting Jennifer Pawlik to the Arizona House and supporting a strong State Senate candidate. We believe the best way to do this is to:”  

  • Identify and reach out to Democratic and left-leaning voters in the district to provide education, information and encouragement to participate in their democracy. This includes recruiting and supporting our PCs in this effort.
    1. Educate PC’s (new and existing) through various methods (such as print, training, speakers) on their role as a PC.
    2. Train on canvassing and phone calls to reach a large percentage of our Democratic and left-leaning voters in LD 17.
    3. Promote canvassing efforts by providing sign up opportunities at all monthly meetings.
    4. Provide Democrat information by precinct.
    5. Provide opportunities to reach out to voters through participation in community events, such as parades and festivals.
    6. Continue to educate and inform LD members by identifying and scheduling speakers that are relevant to the district and the party.
  • Raise funds to assist in supporting a campaign office, brochures and other campaign material for the 2020 election.
    1. Under the guidance of the Treasurer, developing and implementing budgets, fundraising strategies and reporting processes for the district.
    2. Organizing and leading the annual district fundraising/social event
    3. Providing fiscal guidance and input for events sponsored by the district 
  • Use our Social media tools and print media to ensure information is readily available to LD 17 PC’s, guests, and the community.
    1. Focus our social media (Facebook, Twitter, the Website and the Newsletter) to provide information on relevant community, district, county and state events.
    2. Reach out and recruit guests and provide them with the information needed to be a part of our grassroots efforts.
  • Please explain at least two ways how these candidates would take the LD in a different direction from their likely Republican opponents.

“We are probably one of the most important pro-education districts in the state”

  • Please explain the three main issues the Party in your district will emphasize when running in 2020.

Education, Affordable Housing, Voter Turnout, and supporting our County candidates. For example, Teachers cannot afford to live in Chandler.”

  • Please explain the current progress in:
  1. Method for recruiting P.C.’S:

“They are coming to us now. We also do outreach. The issue is inviting them to join our grassroots efforts.

2. Community Activism in the LD:

“It is very high and people very interested in schools, voting in Democrats to all our county positions and also there is a lot of interest in the City Council race.We support the awesome Jeanne Casteen for Maricopa County Superintendent of  Schools.”

3. Fundraising:


“We are doing very well. We had a good fundraising month in November and are looking at another one in April.”

4. Voter Registration:

“We are doing voter registration at senior living and looking at other venues such as the main library, the very busy Ostrich festival, Spanish speaking areas, and downtown Chandler events.”

 The members of Democratic Legislative District 17 are also heavily interested in supporting Democrats running for the three open seats on the Chandler City Council this year.

Arizona Legislative District 17 is one of the areas voters and pundits should watch closely on election night 2020.

If Democratic voting return numbers are strong here, the odds are good that:

  • Donald Trump will probably lose the Presidency.
  • Mark Kelly will likely win the Senate Contest against Martha McSally.
  • State Democrats will have undoubtedly made additional gains in the State Senate and House, possibly capturing the majorities.

For more information on Legislative District 17, please visit their website by clicking here and their Facebook Page here.



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David Gordon
Living in Arizona since his family moved to Tempe from New York in 1982, David Gordon has three degrees from Arizona State University and the University of Phoenix in History, Political Science, and Secondary School Administration. A highly qualified Social Studies instructor and Certified School Principal, Mr. Gordon owned his own charter school, Grand Canyon College Preparatory Academy from 1997-2016. The school served students in grades 6-12 in the East Valley of Maricopa County. Many of the graduates of GCP earned college credit for free while still attending high school, some completing the first year of college before graduating. Among the speakers at the school's graduations were noted figures in Arizona Politics like Harry Mitchell, David Schweikert, Juan Mendes, Andrew Sherwood, and John Huppenthal. Mr. Gordon also participated in the revisions of the Arizona History and Social Studies standards. In January 2017, Mr. Gordon started the political blog Twenty-First Century Progressive Bull Moose. It has a global following and routinely comments on the political events of the day. Mr. Gordon also helps administer the Facebook page Living Blue in Arizona. He is also currently writing a series of Young Adult science fiction novels which incorporate the themes of time travel and its impact on history. Mr. Gordon is very happy to be asked to join the Blog for Arizona team and hopes to spread the progressive word to make Arizona a better place for everyone.