Home / Focus / Women in Public Policy Feb. 2007 / Sen. Charlene Pesquiera, Democrat, District 26

Sen. Charlene Pesquiera, Democrat, District 26

With experience as a criminal justice instructor and director of a court-ordered volunteer service center, Sen. Charlene Pesquiera stepped into her new role as a state legislator “with eyes wide open.”
“Nothing surprises me at this time in my life,” she says. “I keep a broad mind, which keeps me balanced and able to do my jobs.”
That would explain why she has encountered no disappointments — so far. “Stepping into public office for the first time has been a real plus for me,” Pesquiera says. “I’m surrounded by some very cooperative individuals, people who just want to get the job done.”
A Democrat from District 26, she speaks favorably of Republican Tim Bee, saying the Senate president “wants to do things for the betterment of Arizona. This is a great place.”
Even better, though, is the time she sets aside every Friday to meet with individual constituents and groups unable to make the trip from Tucson to see her at the Capitol.
“Having students call me, and receiving invitations to speak at their schools is a most satisfying, pleasant feeling — to be able to reach young people, to educate them about politics and government and offer them my experience,” Pesquiera says.
A long-time mentor is Mohur Sidhwa, an official of the Pima County Democratic Party. “She has been an excellent source for about 20 years,” says Pesquiera, who quickly adds Sen. Jorge Luis Garcia, D-27, Sen. Paula Aboud, D-28, and House Minority Leader Phil Lopes, D-27, as others she relies on. “I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by good people.”
She has no shortage of goals for her first year in office, but her main focus is on getting more money for teachers. She also is sponsoring a bill calling for alternative energy research at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University.
Even before she was sworn in, Pesquiera spoke to a group of high school girls interested in politics. “What I shared with them was that along the way they will be discouraged from running,” Pesquiera says. “I told them, ‘Do not let anyone discourage you, never give up — and you have to be thick skinned.’”

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