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Laughs and glamour mark 2014 Best of the Capitol awards

Winners, honorees and their distinguished guests may have thought they knew what to expect when strolling up the red carpet to enter the Phoenix Art Museum for the 2014 Best of the Capitol awards.

What they got when coming through the doors was Gov. Jan Brewer and Darth Vader blankly, unwaveringly staring them square in the face. OK, so maybe it wasn’t the actual iconic leaders themselves, but their life-size cardboard cutouts were doing a fabulous job making guests do a double-take.

Darth Vader was on hand as part of the museum’s Hollywood Costume exhibit, which runs through July 6. The actual governor was on hand to accept her Best Elected Official — Republican, for the second year in a row. That is likely a good thing, since she decided against an Arizona Constitution-challenging run for re-election in 2014, she won’t be eligible next year.

Kathy and Paul Senseman made history this year in Best of the Capitol for taking home the new-for-2014 award as “Best Power Couple.” They are the first people ever to win awards individually in previous years — and then win again as a single unit. Kathy also gets a special thank you for acting as an on-the-scene correspondent and interviewing attendees from the red carpet as they arrived. Event emcee Russell Smoldon said he was impressed with her work.

Powerhouses such as Durant’s and Glenn Hamer won their categories, but Best Hair went to Michael Vargas and Best Committee Chair went to Sen. Don Shooter, which should give hope to all of the Susan Luccis out there. As Cubs fans fervently believe, there’s always next year.

Cheers to all of the 2014 Best of the Capitol winners and nominees.

— Josh Coddington, Special Sections Editor
— Profiles were written by Josh Coddington and Don Harris.

Created with flickr slideshow.
(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

Elected Official – Republican
Gov. Jan Brewer
Gov. Jan Brewer has a pretty clear idea of what makes an effective elected official — for any party — being principled and delivering results. As for being an effective GOP official in the Grand Canyon State, she adds that sticking to your guns, including rigorously defending the Second Amendment, is key.

In taking home top honors in this category for the second year in a row, Brewer credits her success to her mother, whose lessons about work ethic and devotion to faith, family and community, guide her.

“I would not be who I am or where I am without the guidance and love of my mother, Edna Drinkwine,” Brewer says. The governor cites Ronald Reagan as her political role model.

In responding to why she should be selected as the winner, Brewer humorously replied, “did I mention that I am governor?”

Former Mesa mayor and current GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Smith also cited a parent as his role model.

“My father (George Smith) is my role model. He was a superintendent of schools for 35 years and led Mesa Public Schools to be recognized as one of the finest districts in the nation,” he says.

As Smith vies for favor among his party mates leading up to the state’s Aug. 26 primary, he defines an effective GOP as one that makes the tough decisions “to benefit their communities, regardless of which way the wind blows.”

He also touts his “Build a Better Mesa” plan, which was his campaign slogan during his victorious 2008 run for the city’s top job.

“I am proud of the success we had applying Republican values to make our local government more efficient and help our city’s economy flourish,” Smith says.

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

Debater – Democratic Lawmaker
Rep. Chad Campbell

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell has a simple reason as for why he should (and did) win this category — anyone that did not vote for him faces a one-on-one debate against him.

“If you don’t vote for me I’m going to track you down and debate you on why you made a horrible decision,” he says.

Although he concedes that debating his legislative colleagues is a “you win some and you lose some” proposition, he says he has gotten more successful during his eight years in the Legislature.

“My winning percentage has significantly increased with each year I spent at the Legislature,” he says.

In recalling his most memorable debate at the Legislature, Campbell says he almost had a “Richard Sherman” moment in the heated debate over SB1062, during which Campbell says he “coaxed a Republican lawmaker to state that his definition of equality must be different than mine” and put his “Republican colleagues on the spot time and time again.” (After making a game-clinching defensive play during the NFC Championship Game, an extremely pumped-up Sherman, who plays for the Seattle Seahawks, proclaimed that he’s the best, and when faced with inferior competition, he will always prevail.)

Honoree Sen. Steve Farley says the keys to winning debates are to make it safe for your opponents to agree with you, don’t speak unless you have something to say and use your opponent’s language to “make points that are entertaining, rational and non-ideological.”

He wishes that more lawmakers were open to changing their votes based on convincing arguments as opposed to being locked into one way of seeing an issue based on party lines.

The Snark Tank


Former House Speaker Kirk Adams, former Sen. Tom Chabin and Sen. Don Shooter critique this year’s Best Debater nominees…

(File photo)

(File photo)

Elected Official – Democrat
Rep. Catherine Miranda

Rep. Catherine Miranda, who grew up in the district she represents (LD 27), a majority-minority district that includes south Phoenix, Guadalupe and portions of the Gila River Indian Community, says that she is a reflection of the people who helped mold her from childhood.

“I am honored to represent the very same people who molded me at the Capitol. I know what their needs are and what I must do as a legislator in order to make sure I give my community members every opportunity to succeed,” Miranda says.

She attributes her leadership style partly to her brother Robert Hernandez, who, in being raised in a family with four females, treated her as his “little brother.”

“He challenged me, spent time with me, taught me how to play sports and most importantly how to be the best in everything I chose to do,” she says. “He always kept me tough but at the same time taught me to carry myself as a respectful young girl.”

Honoree Chad Campbell says he should be chosen as the winner simply for maintaining his sanity in the Arizona House during the past four years.

“I’ve been minority leader in the Arizona Legislature for the past four years and I haven’t lost my mind. Isn’t that reason enough?”

Kidding aside, he says it is an honor to be nominated among the other “amazing” Democratic elected officials in the state.

Sen. Steve Farley says he should win because he focuses on serving his constituents rather than winning awards. In being an effective official he says a person needs “patience, persistence and forgiveness” along with friends on both sides of the aisle and the ability to “let things roll off your back.”

(File photo)

(File photo)

Debater – Republican Lawmaker
Rep. Eddie Farnsworth

Rep. Eddie Farnsworth represents his constituents in the East Valley with a nearly unmatched ability to debate and defend his positions on bills and espouse his ideas on how the state should operate.

That also could explain why the Gilbert Republican could be eyeing the House speakership in 2015. With previous service as majority leader, he would be a formidable contender.

In discussing his second nomination for the “Best Debater” category, Rep. J.D. Mesnard says he should be chosen because he advocates not only for his own bills, but those that are important to his colleagues as well.

His most memorable exchange came was the floor debate over a provision in his HB2815 in 2013. The discussion was fierce, he says, with both sides throwing punches and defending. It became the most memorable for what happened after the debate had concluded.

“One of those who had been debating me came up and told me that he had actually come to like the provision during the course our debate,” Mesnard says. “It was pretty neat to be able to persuade someone in that way, particularly someone who typically holds a political view quite different from my own.”

Rep. Justin Olson says he should win this category because it would mean a lot — to his kids. He adds that successful debaters avoid “long, awkward pauses” and that his most memorable debate this year was over the ride-sharing bill, because he enjoyed repeatedly using the word “Uber” in a serious manner parsing a bill.

In seriousness, he added that it is an honor to be nominated.

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

Dressed – Male
Michael Preston Green

Never one to blend in, Michael Preston Green modestly says he is “the total package,” which includes suit, belt, shirt, tie, socks and shoes that “tie the image and persona together in an integrated, stylish and classy manner.”

What’s more, Green, shareholder of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, says, “From a professionalism standpoint, I dress appropriately every day of the week as befits the institution and the job we do at the Legislature — there are no days off, i.e. so-called casual days.”

Green says the man makes the suit, assuming the suit is of reasonably good quality. “We have all seen a man with a $1,500 suit who just doesn’t look that well-dressed,” he says.

Russell Smoldon, CEO, B3 Strategies, credits his loving and devoted wife’s shopping prowess for his well-dressed image. “After all, I am merely the show horse she hangs the wares on,” he says.

Smoldon disagrees with Green, siding instead with Mark Twain, who, according to Smoldon, said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little to no influence on society.”

Garrick Taylor, senior vice president of government relations and communications, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says the man makes the suit. “A confident wearer can pull off anything,” he says.

Rep. Adam Kwasman, R-Oro Valley, says he mixes “whimsy, Western roots and Brooks Brothers sartorialism every day.”

Regarding the bola tie — Kwasman calls it a bolo tie — he says it is “the cornerstone of the Hipster-Cowboy wardrobe and a must for any state legislator.”

(File photo)

(File photo)

Committee Chair
Sen. Don Shooter

Sen. Don Shooter’s several nominations in Best of the Capitol awards categories over the years had him comparing his plight to that of a famous actress from long-running daytime soap opera.

“It would be nice to win this year so that I am not the Susan Lucci of the Best of the Capitol awards,” the Yuma senator says. Lucci was nominated 19 times for the Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for her portrayal of Erica Kane on “All My Children” before finally winning in 1999.

Fortunately, for the fun-loving Shooter, this year he will be taking home the trophy, so be on the lookout for some tears and a version of a “you really love me” speech.

In his duties as Senate Appropriations chair, however, Shooter takes a serious approach. Considering the state’s limited financial resources, he says leading approps is not easy. To face the challenges, he prioritizes, envisions and uses compassion to make decisions.

“You have to prioritize limited resources in a world of unlimited wants…address immediate needs while keeping an eye toward the future and, when hard decisions must be made, remember that the decisions here affect people’s lives in a very real way,” he says.

Honoree Rep. Tom Forese, chairman of the House Commerce Committee, passed on the opportunity to promote himself to win this category and said he’d simply be happy if any of them won, and that it is an honor to be nominated.

He says traits of an effective committee chairman include “preparation, good communication skills and a sense of humor.”

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

Shoes – Male
Russell Smoldon

Russell Smoldon, CEO, B3 Strategies, is big on boots. “It doesn’t matter if you are in Arizona or New York — cowboy boots are always in fashion,” he says. “I would stay clear of the sequined hot pants/cowboy boot look that Jim Norton always attempts to pull off as formal wear every New Year’s Eve.”

Smoldon seemed miffed when asked how many pairs of shoes a man should possess: “Is this an intervention?” But he says, “Pity the man who owns less than ten, and put him in therapy. Why? The question is why not? Would you ask (Congresswoman) Kyrsten Sinema that question?”

On a serious note, Smoldon says, “My wife told me not to come home without this award.”

Michael Preston Green, shareholder, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, says he has the best shoes and the broadest range of styles that are always shined to perfection and don’t have worn soles or heels. It’s not clear whether he wears them or just puts them on display.

Green adds some professional advice: “Orange or pink shoe laces do not bespeak a refined sense of style.”

Boots, says Green, may be worn with a business suit but not with a tux. He says there is no ideal number of pairs of shoes a man should own, adding that he has approximately 60.

Stuart Luther, government and public affairs associate, R&R Partners, recalls that his boss, Jim Norton, won this category last year, and adds, “Each day it is encouraged that we improve our footwear game so that we are one day worthy of joining the dashing Jim Norton among the ranks of footwear fabulousness.”

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

Dressed – Female
Kelsey Lundy

Winner Kelsey Lundy, of R&R Partners, says the key to her immaculate wardrobe is taking advantage of sales at J. Crew and presenting herself in a new outfit the first day of session each year, just like she did on the first day of school.

However, she advocated for someone other than her winning this category this year. “I yield this category to the lovely woman from District 3, Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford, who is always beautifully dressed,” she said.

Honoree Cajero Bedford’s style is dictated by respect for the position she holds. She identifies her “power outfit” as the one she wore on opening day in 2013. “It is my gold outfit. I added to it, with gold and diamond jewelry.”

All honorees were asked about their feelings on the bola tie. Cajero Bedford says the only time to wear Arizona’s official neckwear is if you are showing off “a large, exquisite piece of turquoise” Other than that, she says, “wear a tie.”

Last year’s winner, Sen. Michele Reagan, says she wants to see someone “with more pizzazz” win this year. For her, any outfit can be a power outfit, if it is paired with a good pair of stilettos. And, she says she “does not look good in a bola tie.”

Lobbyist Genevra Richardson says she thinks bola ties are “hot,” but “you have to have the right swagger and attitude to pull it off. Not everyone can.” She did, however, credit Capitol Times scribe Hank Stephenson with “really nailing” the bola tie look.

Personally, she says she doesn’t have a power outfit, but does have a power color — blue. Her advice is to find your own personal style and dress for yourself.

Shoes – Female
Kelsey Lundy

R&R Partners’ Kelsey Lundy had a splendid year of being put together in 2014, with taking home top honors in both the Best Dressed and Best Shoes categories. When asked to promote herself, she again deferred to promoting a senator for the honor.

“The other nominees have way better shoes than I do!  Especially Michele Reagan,” she says. “I’ve seen her closet!”

In a question that split the honorees, when asked about the level of pain she would tolerate to wear a spectacular pair of shoes, she said “none.” “It doesn’t matter how spectacular, if they hurt they stay in the box.”

Honoree Beth Lewallen, of the Arizona Board of Regents, is proud of the approximately 80 pairs of shes she owns. “Shoes are a self-confidence superpower and I’m a big fan of owning as many pairs as it takes to bring confidence into every day of the week,” she says.

She rated the pain level she will tolerate as “more than I will ever admit.”

For Sen. Michele Reagan, the Best Shoes award is a mirage, something she sees, but yet is always just out of reach. She has been nominated on several occasions, but has yet to win.

She will not put up with pain to wear any pair of shoes. She says if they hurt, she donates them to a women’s shelter where they can be enjoyed by a woman which they fit better. She also says there is no magic number to how many pairs of shoes a woman should own, but she has many pairs. “I have never dared to count how many pairs I own.  Why would I want to know that?!”

Sen. Katie Hobbs says she will endure a lot of pain to wear great shoes. “I’m not embarrassed to say a lot. I have a blister right now.” She says a woman should own as many pairs of shoes as it takes to make her happy. For her, that number is at least 50.

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

Hair – Male
Michael Vargas

Winner Michael Vargas apparently was tied up at his hairdresser’s shop and didn’t have time to say how thrilled he was.

ozing confidence, Michael Preston Green, shareholder with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, says even at his advanced age he has a remarkable head of hair, and that its color appropriately gives him a silver fox look. His choice for second place was Marcus Dell’Artino, a partner with FirstStrategic Communications & Public Affairs.

Dell’Artino was asked what products he uses on his hair, to which he responded, “Products? Did Vidal Sassoon write these questions?” Dell’Artino figures he was nominated in this category for a simple reason: “I have hair. I mean, it is not like a bald guy can win, unless you are the minority leader of the (Arizona) House of Representatives.”

Danny Seiden, a lobbyist for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, says, if he had to vote for someone else, “Gun to my head, I guess I would say Michael Vargas, but rumor has it he uses, ‘Just for Men’ so I think that disqualifies him.”

Steve Trussell, executive director of the Arizona Rock Products Association, says there should be a reality show featuring the other nominees, revealing how they prepare their hair for a day at the Capitol.

Explain My Vote



Rep. Chad Campbell opines on this year’s Best Hair nominees…

(File photo)

(File photo)

Hair – Female
Gretchen Jacobs

Winner Gretchen Jacobs, who owns lobbying firm Arizona Governmental Affairs, describes herself as “completely floored” by her nomination in the Best Hair category. The unexpected honor had her feeling a bit patriotic.

“The impossible is possible in America,” Jacobs says. “Anyone can grow up to be Best Hair and this will prove it.”

Honoree Marilyn Purvis, of Veridus, believes that beauty is actually in the hands of “whatever stylist has the best sales pitch or the most pronounced dimples.”

As far as immaculate hairstyles go, she chalks up perfect locks to an interesting assortment of products, a person’s natural hair and cost.

“Aquanet, mayonnaise, Sun-in, it doesn’t matter. It’s not about the product it’s about what lies beneath,” she says. “And also how much you paid for your haircut.”

Honoree Dianne McCallister, of Public Policy Partners, thinks only of her hairdresser when considering whether she should take home top honors.

“I don’t think my hairdresser will be able to stand taking another loss in this category,” she says.

In achieving her look, she concedes to using a mix of both expensive and cheaper hair products. Just like her job, she says what ultimately matters is the result obtained.

Jessie Hanna of R&R Partners thinks a fellow honoree should win. “We live in a day and age when a woman with a perfectly coiffed bob ought to win best hair,” she says. “My vote goes to Marilyn Purvis.”

As last year’s Best Hair winner, Hanna would be happy to see the title go to someone else, given the immense amount of pressure associated with being the title holder.

“Frankly, it’s a lot of pressure and I’m not sure I can shoulder this burden for another year,” Hanna says. “Bad hair days happen to everyone — except Marilyn Purvis.”


(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

Lobbyist Under 40 – Male
Jeff Gray

To Jeff Gray of R&R Partners, being under 40 “means that our prostates are still in relatively good working order, so we don’t have to spend as much time in the restroom, thus freeing up valuable time to lobby,” which can mean the difference between the passage or failure of one’s bill.

Other advantages, “We are also still able to use the stairs, allowing us to chase down legislators who like to avoid the elevators, such as the elusive Eddie Farnsworth. Late night committee hearings are no problem, as our bedtimes can extend beyond the 8 p.m. limit of most of my more seasoned colleagues,” Gray says.

Before he hits 40, Gray hopes to be “as quick-witted as Mike Gardner, as crafty as Don Isaacson, as smooth as Jim Norton, and as humorous as Russell Smoldon.” On the serious side, he and the other “under 40s” are fortunate to have a great group of “over 40” lobbyists “to model our careers after,” Gray says.

Danny Seiden, lobbyist with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, is “still an idealist who believes in big ideas and that we can be part of bringing about big positive changes in the state.” He is particularly pleased to have been part of the team working on fixing the state’s broken Child Protective Services agency.

Younger lobbyists, according to Jeremy Browning with GovGroup, approach challenges differently and adapt quickly.

The Rail World


The story of 10 lobbyists under 40 picked to live in a downtown Phoenix loft, to find out what happens when they stop being polite, and start getting real…

(Submitted photo)

(Submitted photo)

Lobbyist Under 40 – Female
Sara Sparman

Winner Sara Sparman of Kutak Rock uses her smooth stride (as compared to her older counterparts) for a quiet approach when “cornering legislators” to get them to see things her way. She also adds that her “charm, wit and expense account” likely play a role in her success.

Her winning fulfills a lifetime dream of taking home this exact award. “Since I was a little girl I have dreamed of one day being nominated as Best Lobbyist Under 40,” she exclaims. Now it is time to celebrate.

Gretchen Martinez of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry wants everyone to win, since as a millennial, she isn’t used to competitions where only one person wins.

By the time she’s 40, she wants to accomplish what those who have come before her already have achieved. “I hope to be a great mom, wife and lobbyist, like many of the women at the Capitol now.”

Genevra Richardson of GovGroup thinks she should win because she owns her own successful business, and works as a contract lobbyist while also being a new mom. However, the world better watch out if she accomplishes her goal by the time she’s 40.

“I want to achieve world domination,” she says. “When that happens, all future peace accords and rules of conflict will be referred to as ‘The Genevra Convention.’”

Cheyenne Walsh of Squire Sanders thinks she should win because of her long-standing relationships with staff, lawmakers and other lobbyists which she leverages to accomplish her clients’ goals.

However, she’s undecided whether her less-than-40-year-old pop culture knowledge base is actually helpful, since it is largely non-existent.

“I am the opposite of the people shown on Jay Leno’s ‘Jay Walking.’ I can name the U.S. Supreme Court justices but cannot name all of the Kardashians,” she says.  “Oh hey, look, I made a pop culture reference.”

(Submitted photo)

(Submitted photo)

Lobbyist – Male
Don Issacson

Don Isaacson, lobbyist with Isaacson & Moore, is glad to be in the company of the other finalists, and says there are many others who represent their clients at a very professional level, working hard to support their clients’ objectives in an ethical manner.

But, Isaacson agrees that lobbyists definitely get a bad rap, dating all the way back to the 1800s when members of his profession, representing railroads before Congress, committed such deeds as “outright misrepresentation and bribery.” The vast majority of Arizona lobbyists, he says, are ethical and hard working.

As a veteran of 25-plus years lobbying at the Capitol, Isaacson encourages other lobbyists “to never waiver from ethical principles, while at the same time, doing everything possible in support of your client’s lawful legislative objectives.

With tongue in cheek, Jim Norton, lobbyist, R&R Partners, says the most important criteria for winning this category is to never have won before. Therefore, he says he voted for Mike Gardner. Norton says all his relatives and friends will receive subscriptions to the Arizona Capitol Times for Christmas. It’ll be a stocking-stuffer/ballot-stuffer kind of present.

As usual, Russell Smoldon, CEO, B3 Strategies, is confused. “I thought I already was (the best),” he says.

Former lawmaker Mike Gardner, a lobbyist with Triadvocates and a favorite of Norton’s, lumps lobbyists and elected officials together, saying neither group is “understood or appreciated by the general public. “ His advice to Capitol Times readers (next year): “Vote early and often — Chicago style.”

(Submitted photo)

(Submitted photo)

Lobbyist – Female
Gretchen Jacobs

Gretchen Jacobs of Arizona Governmental Affairs seemed offended (not really) by a question asking why readers should vote for her as the winner. “I’m trying to understand why you would ask something so rude,” she says. “Are you saying they shouldn’t? You tell me why they shouldn’t. The people who read the Capitol Times are a highly intelligent, sensitive, educated and sophisticated group who know a winner when they see one.”

Actually, she considers it an honor to be included with the caliber of professionals also nominated.

Jacobs already has a lobbying goal for next year. “The Senate first floor bathrooms are an embarrassment to the state and I plan to heavily lobby (complain/whine) to address this blight,” she says. “The colors — terrible. Just the feeling in there is offensive.”

Wendy Briggs, a lobbyist with Veridus, says lobbying for a ride-sharing bill taught her the value of social media and its effect on legislative behavior. It worked with legislators, but not with the governor.

Barbara Meaney, lobbyist with Triadvocates, says lobbying for Medicaid restoration and expansion was by far her most memorable effort. “It took on an epic feel both from a public policy standpoint, but also because of the direct impact it had in improving the lives of some of Arizona’s most vulnerable citizens,” Meaney says.

Kathy Senseman, a lobbyist with Policy Development Group, offers a solid reason for honesty. “After all,” she says, “there are few secrets at the Capitol, so there is only a downside to trying to pull a fast one.”

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

Political Rising Star – Male
Sen. Carlyle Begay

Sen. Carlyle Begay’s journey to the Senate seat for Legislative District 7 started with encouragement from his parents and grandparents to get educated, apply himself and to positively affect the world for his fellow Navajos.

“I always remember my grandfather telling me that my generation and future generations are the future of our people,” the first-term senator says. “Today I find myself trying to live up to my grandfather’s advice.”

Character and integrity are paramount to his legislative approach. “Do what you say you’re going to do and be a man or woman of your word. Look at issues through the prism of merit,” he says.

His advice to becoming a rising star is simple. “Never forget that you don’t accomplish anything on your own. Always recognize those around you,” he says.

Previous rising star winner Rep. J.D. Mesnard says being reasonable and honest with those around him in addition to “getting significant bills across the finish line” and serving in Republican leadership make him a rising star.

He characterizes being a legislator as “part policymaker and part salesman.” Ultimately, the best way to get noticed, he says, is by not focusing on how to get noticed. “You probably will get noticed if you treat people with respect, work hard and speak up at the right times,” he says, “but not too much!”

Honoree Mark Naufel, political director of the Arizona Republican Party, has done a lot at the age of 22. He has served as ASU student body president, interned at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, been appointed as a student regent to the Arizona Board of Regents and been hired — and promoted — by the Arizona Republican Party.

“I’m blessed to have had so many opportunities as a young adult. I hope to continue building upon my recent success to help bring positive change to Arizona for many years to come,” he says.

His keys to success in the political arena are being genuine and friendly to those around you, plus not getting too caught up in focusing on future plans and ambitions. “If you focus on being your best every day, then everything that comes later will be better too,” he says.

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

Political Rising Star – Female
Rep. Stefanie Mach

Rep. Stefanie Mach, taking home the top honor in the first Best of the Capitol category she has been nominated in, says she is honored to be recognized and winning is “tangible evidence to my parents that I’m doing ok.”

Her legislative accomplishments this session include having a “100 percent voting record,” sitting on the House Appropriations Committee and passing a constituent-requested bill helping the disability community.

Her secret to political success is being observant in all situations.

“The best advice I can offer to ensure political success is to watch what people do instead of listening to what they say,” she says. And, she jokes, “watch the Hunger Games.”

“The best advice I can offer to ensure political success is to watch what people do instead of listening to what they say,” she says. And, she jokes, “watch the Hunger Games.”

Honoree Lorna Romero, Gov. Jan Brewer’s director of legislative affairs, has been nominated in this category three times. She hopes she has simply worn down Best of the Capitol voters by this point, plus, she says, “third time’s a charm, right?”

She treasures her opportunities to direct public policy in Arizona. “Helping to shape and improve public policy, whether through Medicaid restoration, personnel reform or even TPT simplification, has been an unmatched point of pride for me.”

Her best advice for other rising star hopefuls? “Persistence — seriously, don’t take no for an answer until they call the cops.”

Honoree Kate Gallego, the first woman to be elected to represent District 8 on the Phoenix City Council, joking says she should be selected as the winner because she’d throw a great party to celebrate. “I have ancestors who are Dutch and Russian, so we’ll have chocolate and vodka at the event — who can top that?”

Her keys to success in politics are to have a long-term vision for how you want to influence your community and to be extremely optimistic. “These jobs are very demanding and the pace of progress can be frustrating. You need to really be optimistic about what you can achieve if you’re going to have the staying power to do it.”

Honoree Rep. Catherine Miranda says being a rising star is about being open-minded.

“Be willing to listen, to learn, and know when it is appropriate to seek a compromise,” she says. “We (Democrats) must work together with Republicans to make the best state possible for all people.”

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

Political Operative
Chuck Coughlin

No stranger to the arm-twisting art of politics, Chuck Coughlin, president of HighGround, Inc., credits successes he has enjoyed to having worked with the talented people who have worked for Gov. Jan Brewer, former Gov. Fife Symington, former Attorney General Grant Woods, and as a staffer for the first McCain For Senate Campaign.

“Within those work experiences I met the most talented people in my life and the lessons I have learned are unparalleled,” Coughlin says. “Public affairs done right is a very difficult and demanding job, full of conflict and turmoil.”

Danny Seiden, lobbyist for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, tries to keep it civil and positive when engaged in political battles. He names two political operatives he admires who take on really good causes but keep their names out of the news.

Rodd Mcleod, Democratic campaign consultant, includes a picture of his role model (Godzilla), and says a cool gadget he used in the past was a baseball cap he pulled down over his face when he was quietly working to “get his s–t  together,” taking inspiration from the state’s attorney general.

Chad Heywood, executive director of the Arizona Republican Party, says of his career: “It has been a dream come true for a political junkie and operative in training.”

Paul Bentz, vice president of accounts and strategy, HighGround, Inc., confides: “You have seen/read a lot of things that I have written and you probably didn’t even know they were from me.  Isn’t that the true role of the ‘operative’ — to make the client look good instead of him or herself?”

(Submitted photo)

(Submitted photo)

Power Broker
Glenn Hamer

Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, repeated his title from last year in this category.

His dominance can likely be attributed to his organization reasserting its electoral influence this year by endorsing more than 50 candidates in legislative races. As expected, those endorsed are prominent business allies, including key players in expanding Medicaid and maintaining the controversial education benchmarks called Common Core.

Honoree Sen. Don Shooter describes power at the Legislature as the ability to unite people and be a bridge builder, as opposed to a wall builder. “While I have certain core beliefs, I am always willing to listen to others to find common ground to help the people of the state of Arizona,” he says.

Legislators and lobbyists alike agree that the formula to making laws in Arizona is simply described as 31 + 16 + 1 = a law. And when you are the person that is represented by that “1,” you should likely win Best Power Broker every year. Although Best of voters gave the award to Hamer, Brewer is keenly aware of her power — and the responsibility it comes with — in Arizona.

“If I am a power broker, it’s because of the citizens of Arizona who have entrusted me to be one,” Brewer says. “The office of the governor wields tremendous authority, and I believe I’ve used that prudently, and firmly when necessary, to protect and improve the lives of the Arizonans I serve.”

Who does she think wields the most power in state government? “It’s a tossup between whoever wins in the Best Hair and Best Shoes categories,” she says. “Of course, the real answer is the voters.”

Highground’s Chuck Coughlin, powerful in both stature and influence, says his abilities to effect policy come from years of working around extremely talented people from whom he learned. Those talented people include Gov. Jan Brewer, former Gov. Fife Symington, former Arizona AG Grant Woods and U.S. Sen. John McCain.

“Done right, public affairs is a very difficult and demanding job, full on conflict and turmoil,” he says. “In order to be successful you have to associate yourself with people who have a deep set of values rooted in the virtues of western and eastern thought.”

(Submitted photo)

(Submitted photo)

David Leibowitz

Winner David Leibowitz says he should win this category because he is the “lesser of five evils” when compared to the other honorees.

“Forget PR skill,” Leibowitz says. “I may be the only nominee in this category with a soul. Which, if you know the five of us, isn’t saying much.”

As far as people currently making headlines that could use his services as a PR professional, he says either Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling or, a frequent answer among all the honorees, embattled Arizona AG Tom Horne.

“It’s either Donald Sterling – the Tom Horne of the NBA, or Tom Horne – the Donald Sterling of Arizona politics. Of course, it would be tough to help either fellow,” Leibowitz concedes.

Honoree Matthew Benson used a social media hash tag threat to try to corral votes. “If not selected, I’ll have no choice but to re-open the spigot of #AZlovesUber social media and email. Choose carefully, readers.”

He adds that Beyonce’s sister could use his services as a PR pro, “because people refer to her as Beyonce’s sister.”

In reference to the idea that “if you’re explaining, you’re losing,” honoree Barrett Marson says that if you must explain away issues, it’s is best to do it by attacking your opponent.

Looking at the news, he also says that the VA should be doing more to show that at least some veterans are getting the care they need.

Arizona PR guru Jason Rose lists “range, hair, creativity and brass knuckles” all as reason he should win. He also added his company being in business since 1996 and representing a wide range of clients as reasons he should win.

He also agrees that explaining is losing, except in crisis communications, where “explaining can mean you don’t lose.”

Honoree Stacy Pearson, of the Up Agency, thinks she should win because of all the salacious stories you didn’t read about. She also agrees that Beyonce’s sister, Solange Knowles, could use her PR services.

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

Power Couple
Kathy & Paul Senseman

Lobbyists Kathy and Paul Senseman, both with Policy Development Group, Inc., click as a power couple, according to Kathy, because they have a great sense of humor and a shared vision for the way they want to lead their life. “Paul has always been so supportive of me as a mother and as a professional,” she says. “And he can put up with me and our two very headstrong daughters like you wouldn’t believe. There’s sainthood in his future!”

And, they share family tasks based on their strengths. “Paul is so much better at dealing with emotional outbursts from our girls than I am,” Kathy says. “And I’m better about maintaining the family budget.”

Former Rep. Ruben Gallego and Phoenix City Councilwoman Kate agree that they genuinely care and are concerned about what happens in our communities. “You have to be driven by a passion to contribute to something greater than yourself to enjoy and be successful in politics,” Kate says. “Plus, neither of us likes to cook, so we are happy knocking on doors or going to rubber chicken dinners every night.”

They met when Kate “bought” Ruben at a date auction, so guess who’s been calling the shots ever since.

Danny Seiden, lobbyist at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, and Ann, a public affairs executive with Southwest Gas, find that working in the same arena allows them to bounce ideas off one another. “So much of this business requires taking fast, in-the-moment action and making quick judgment calls,” Danny says. “We are opposites in many ways so our strengths complement one another’s weaknesses.”

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

(Photo by Ryan Cook/RJ Cook Photography)

Barrett Marson

Winner Barrett Marson’s prolific presence in the Twittersphere has brought him the coveted Best Twitterer title this year, and his path to victory is relatively simple.

“I can’t help but be a good blend of funny and relevant,” says the host of CopperTalk, Arizona’s premier political podcast.

Honoree Matthew Benson, of Veridus, thinks he should win this category for his self control. “I don’t drunk-tweet. I mean, hardly ever,” he says. His next morning-self is likely very thankful for the restraint.

His favorite tweet of 2014 so far is from his Veridus associate Jason Barraza, who wished his followers a “Merry New Year” while mentioning he was cooking up a fine meal featuring lobster and steaks while “not wearing pants.” Party on.

Last year’s winner, Robbie Sherwood, admits that Twitter has taken such an “absurd” amount of his life that all the time he’s dedicated to using the service should amount to something, such as winning this category twice in a row.

His political philosophy shortened to 140 characters or fewer is: WWMUD, which lengthens into “What Would Mo Udall Do?”

He adds that Twitter has made him infinitely more connected to his world and the people in it, unless, of course, you are sitting in the same room with him.

Sen. Katie Hobbs, who took home the inaugural Best Twitter award,  says she should win this year because “Twitter is my life!” Her 140-character political philosophy is “Why can’t we all get along?”

Honoree Paul Bentz of HighGround’s favorite Tweet of 2014 was from Gov. Jan Brewer, simply stating “Moments ago, I vetoed #SB1062.” Some in the Twittersphere will be shocked to learn that one of Bentz least favorite things on Twitter is somewhat of a new sine die tradition. “I actually hate #StartYourOwnRumor,” he says.

Grassroots Effort
Veto SB1062

In their first committee meeting of the year, Republicans on the Senate Government and Environment panel with little debate approved a bill that would put Arizona in the international spotlight and change the course of the Legislative session — SB1062.

But by the time the legislation reached the governor’s desk about a month later, it had incited international condemnation of Arizona and drawn thousands of protesters to the Capitol. A Gov. Jan Brewer veto was imminent. As it happened, the people that were prepared to stage lightning-quick protests had won.

Mark Shaffer, of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, says his agency’s No Burn Day Outreach effort in 2013 was of critical importance, as Maricopa County was dangerously close to exceeding the federal standards for soot. Had that happened, in addition to being a health concern for residents, industrial sources would have been hit financially by having to install controls to help the county return to compliance.

“The campaign greatly increased public awareness of the problem,” Shaffer says. “In fact, 64 percent of survey respondents said that if they knew it was a declared No Burn Day, they actually changed their behavior and did not burn wood on those days.”

Leisa Brug, director of the Governor’s Office of Energy Policy, coordinated a 40-member task force to update Arizona’s energy plan, which had last been done more than two decades ago.

Her office uses several channels to get the word out about how energy affects Arizonans. “We need to be more informed about how everyday energy affects our lives, be more informed on energy issues and learn how saving energy can save money.”

Gordon C. James Public Relations

Winner Gordon James joking says his firm should win because he has been trying to win the award for years and “it’s our turn for goodness sakes!” He also added that the firm’s “generalist” approach has allowed it develop a broad range of skills and specializations while working for several Arizona-based companies, non-profits and political campaigns.

“The GCJPR team has been around for 23 years, constantly adapting to the ever-changing, fast-paced digital age while learning the skills to make client messaging ubiquitous and viral in society,” James says.

Honoree Matthew Benson of Veridus says his firm should win because it keeps its focus squarely on clients. “Veridus never forgets that the story is the thing. And great clients have great stories to tell,” he says. He adds that Veridus distinguishes itself with a mix of “creativity, contacts and experience.” And when all else fails, he isn’t above “begging for a good headline.”

Honoree David Leibowitz of Leibowitz Solo refused to outright campaign to win the category because it is “sort of unbecoming,” but says that his diverse range of candidates already makes him a winner.

“We choose our clients not based on partisanship or dollars, but by looking for good people interested in solving Arizona’s problems and making this a better place to live,” he says.

Honoree Stacy Pearson, owner of Up Agency, says her firm represents the best elected officials, candidates and causes in the state, plus she touts her portfolio of “craft beer and distillery clients” as another reason to choose the agency as the best.

If those aren’t good enough reasons, she turns to flattery an promises to make her case. “Your readers are the most powerful people in Arizona, and when they invariably make a high-powered mess, they’ll be really glad they know us.”

Place to Impress a Client

It just wouldn’t be the Best of the Capitol without Durant’s winning at least one category, as the restaurant has every year since the event’s inception. Owner and General Manager Carol McElroy sends her congratulations to all of the restaurants in the Best Place to Impress a Client and Best After Hours Hangout categories.

“The Phoenix dining scene one of the most diverse and exciting places in the nation. We have the best of all worlds right here in Phoenix,” she says.

And after a person’s clients are impressed by Durant’s, McElroy says the restaurant can add something else to make a visit unforgettable. “The ghost of (original owner) Jack Durant is sometimes seen in the North Room after 2 a.m.,” she reveals.

Honoree The Capital Grille is also a “Best of” mainstay, taking home awards in several categories over the years.

“With understated elegance, knowledgeable chefs who will cater to your every need and over 500 bottles of wine, you will have everything at your fingertips to impress,” says Torri McFarland, restaurant sales manager.

She also adds that restaurant can also serve the midday crowd, with a three-course for $18 available Monday- Friday served in 45 minutes or less.

Although it was never home to an actual butcher shop, Jami Reagan, who represents The Arrogant Butcher, says the name is actually intended to make “guests feel a sense of community like they would at their local, mom-and-pop butcher shop.”

She recommends that guests try the turkey pastrami sandwich or the shrimp, chicken and sausage jambalaya, while saving room for the “award-winning salted caramel pudding.” She adds that the name shouldn’t deter potential diners. “Don’t let the name fool you. The staff is very friendly!”

(Submitted photo)

(Submitted photo)

After Hours Hangout
The Vig Fillmore

The Vig Fillmore staff is passionate about being a locally owned, downtown hangout that strives to offer its customers the feeling of “relaxing in a friend’s backyard.”

Megan Waller, who playfully identifies herself as an “intoxication specialist/liquor wizard” at The Vig Fillmore, reveals that every Vig location acquires its own nickname based on the clientele to which it caters. The nickname of The Vig Fillmore, located on the corner of Fourth Ave. and Fillmore St., incorporates the fact that it caters to political types.

“The Vig Fillmore is lovingly called “The Pig,” with the P for “political” Vig,” she says.

Although Durant’s had to concede this category this year, Owner and General Manager Carol McElroy still makes a great case for why the timeless steakhouse should never lose.

“Steak, booze, and did I mention, booze?” she says.

She gives credit to the restaurant’s patrons for making the place unique. “Our guests are the world’s greatest and most interesting people.”

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, set in the heart of downtown Phoenix at CityScape, seeks to offer patrons amazing views of the city and of the setting sun.

Jan Bracamonte, who handles PR for the restaurant, says the building is designed to “scream industrial” at first glance, but then transform into a “very comfy space that feels like home and is unique to Blue Hound” as the sun goes down.

The restaurant’s dishes are made to encourage socializing and designed to be accompanied by one of Blue Hound’s Prohibition-era cocktails, made from fresh juices, fruit purees and locally grown ingredients. Plus, most drinks include one golf-ball sized ice cube to keep your drink chilled, but reduce water dilution by providing the least ice surface area to slow melting.

Capitol Lawn Event
Save with SRP

Salt River Project, like many other organizations and interested parties, hosts an annual event on the lawn of the state Capitol design to lure lawmakers out from the chambers, feed them, and provide members of the hosting organization the opportunity to talk to the lawmakers in an informal setting.

SRP’s “Save with SRP”-themed event won this year, and SRP’s Manny Tarango says the keys to a successful lawn event are to make sure the event is fun and to send out personal invitations to each lawmaker so he or she knows that you want them there.

“Plus, we have ice cream,” he says, which is always a sure-fire crowd pleaser in Arizona.

Sloppy Joes made from wild game meat, information about the numerous services provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department are what Ben Alteneder of AZGFD says attracts lawmakers to his agency’s lawn event.

He says educating legislators on not only what AZGFD does, but how his agency does it is highly important. “The department receives no general fund dollars, yet holds the trust responsibility for all of Arizona’s wildlife resources,” he says. “The event shares the department’s mission with legislators who otherwise may overlook the agency simply because it does not affect the bottom line.”

Linda A. Lang, president and CEO, Arizona Association of Community Managers, invites all Capitol staff — including pages and security — to her organization’s Capitol lawn event.

AACM puts a lot of effort in staging the event so members can meet their legislators and vice-versa. “We use table tents with district numbers and legislators’ names at each table so they know where to meet their constituents,” she says.

Awards Event
Arizona Chamber of Commerce Heritage Awards

Garrick Taylor, senior vice president of government relations and communications for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, acknowledged that there are some great events in this category, and says he tries to ensure that his organization’s events are entertaining.

“We’re asking people to give up part of their evening, so we owe it to them to make our events fun, informative and well-produced,” he says. “Hopefully we accomplished that with the Heritage event.”

This year’s Heritage Awards event honored Gov. Jan Brewer. “It featured heartfelt tributes made by the governor’s closest friends and a moving speech by the governor herself. It was a memorable occasion.”

Another tip to making an event successful is being time-conscious without shorting the content or message being sent. Large or small, flawlessly executing events is paramount to any successful chamber of commerce.

“We take great pride in putting on outstanding events, whether a big luncheon with over 1,000 attendees or an intimate roundtable with a public policy leader,” Taylor says.

Carlos Galindo-Elvira, chief development officer for Valle del Sol, says his organization’s event, Profiles of Success, should win because of its impact and because it touches the heart of the audience, ensures that honorees are properly recognized and ends at the scheduled time.

The event, which launches National Hispanic Heritage Month in Arizona, provides statewide recognition in honoring Latino champions for their advocacy, leadership and service to community.

“All of us at Valle del Sol are deeply honored by the nomination,” Galindo-Elvira says. “We’re truly proud of our long tradition of being a fun, celebratory event that goes above and beyond in honoring individuals from throughout our state.”

Cocktail Party
Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce legislative kickoff

When it comes to political cocktail parties, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Legislative Kickoff is

No. 1. Nicole Mangino, the chamber’s marketing coordinator, says it’s a fun event and a “unique opportunity for legislators and community members to connect in a relaxed atmosphere while honoring the governor and the leadership of the Legislature.”

But, the question is: What’s more important — good conversation or good drinks?  “Good drinks can often lead to some great conversation,” Mangino says. “The success of this event comes from connecting community members with their elected leaders for spirited conversation about the upcoming session.”

And since the attendees are experts in the art of politicking, what better place for the chamber to stage its annual event than the Phoenix Art Museum?

“The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce is honored to be nominated for the Best of the Capitol Times,” Mangino says. “It is a team effort to put on such an event, and the nomination is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the chamber staff and their desire to build bridges between our elected leaders and the business community.

Getting right to the point, Steve Trussel, executive director of the Arizona Rock Products Association, says his group’s mixer is the “best time this side of the Capitol!”

Trussell says people make the event, not the drinks or conversation. “Our event hosts some incredible people from around the great state of Arizona,” he says. “The Rock is a great ‘ready mixer’ for people to ‘aggregate.’ Pun intended.”


2014 BotC Sponsors3

2014 Best of the Capitol honorees

1. Best Elected Official – Republican

  • Gov. Jan Brewer
  • Rep. Heather Carter
  • Treasurer Doug Ducey
  • Rep. Eddie Farnsworth
  • Mesa Mayor Scott Smith

2. Best Elected Official – Democratic

  • Rep. Chad Campbell
  • Sen. Steve Farley
  • Rep. Catherine Miranda
  • Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton
  • Sen. Anna Tovar

3. Best Debater – Republican Lawmaker

  • Sen. Andy Biggs
  • Rep. Eddie Farnsworth
  • Rep. J.D. Mesnard
  • Rep. Justin Olson
  • Rep. Justin Pierce

4. Best Debater – Democratic Lawmaker

  • Rep. Chad Campbell
  • Sen. Steve Farley
  • Sen. Steve Gallardo
  • Former Rep. Ruben Gallego
  • Sen. Anna Tovar

5. Best Committee Chair

  • Rep. Heather Carter
  • Rep. Eddie Farnsworth
  • Rep. Tom Forese
  • Sen. Don Shooter
  • Sen. Steve Yarbrough

6. Best Dressed – Male

  • Michael Preston Green
  • Rep. Adam Kwasman
  • Russell Smoldon
  • Garrick Taylor
  • Michael Vargas

7. Best Dressed – Female

  • Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford
  • Kelsey Lundy
  • Sen. Michele Reagan
  • Genevra Richardson
  • Sen. Kimberly Yee

8. Best Shoes – Male

  • Sen. Carlyle Begay
  • Michael Preston Green
  • Stuart Luther
  • Russell Smoldon
  • Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump

9. Best Shoes – Female

  • Sen. Katie Hobbs
  • Beth Lewallen
  • Kelsey Lundy
  • Sen. Michele Reagan
  • Genevra Richardson

10. Best Hair – Male

  • Marcus Dell’Artino
  • Michael Preston Green
  • Danny Seiden
  • Steve Trussell
  • Michael Vargas

11. Best Hair – Female

  • Rep. Brenda Barton
  • Jessie Hanna
  • Gretchen Jacobs
  • Dianne McCallister
  • Marilyn Purvis

12. Best Lobbyist – Male

  • Mike Gardner
  • Don Isaacson
  • Jim Norton
  • Russell Smoldon
  • Steve Trussell

13. Best Lobbyist – Female

  • Wendy Briggs
  • Gretchen Jacobs
  • Kelsey Lundy
  • Barbara Meaney
  • Kathy Senseman

14. Best Lobbyist under 40 – Male

  • Todd Baughman
  • Jeremy Browning
  • Jeff Gray
  • Ryan Harper
  • Danny Seiden

15. Best Lobbyist under 40 – Female

  • Gretchen Martinez
  • Dianne McCallister
  • Genevra Richardson
  • Sara Sparman
  • Cheyenne Walsh

16. Best Staffer

  • Leisa Brug, governor’s policy advisor on energy
  • Lorenzo Romero, House director of fiscal policy
  • Rod Ross, Senate policy advisor
  • Tami Stowe, House director of operations
  • Keely Varvel, House minority chief of staff

17. Best Political Rising Star – Male

  • Sen. Carlyle Begay
  • Treasurer Doug Ducey
  • Rep. J.D. Mesnard
  • Mark Naufel, Arizona Republican Party political director
  • Rep. Justin Pierce

18. Best Political Rising Star – Female

  • Phoenix City Councilwoman Kate Gallego
  • Rep. Stephanie Mach
  • Rep. Catherine Miranda
  • Lorna Romero, governor’s director of legislative affairs
  • Sen. Anna Tovar

19. Best Political Operative

  • Paul Bentz
  • Chuck Coughlin
  • Chad Heywood
  • Rodd McLeod
  • Danny Seiden

20. Best Power Broker

  • Kirk Adams
  • Gov. Jan Brewer
  • Chuck Coughlin
  • Glenn Hamer
  • Don Shooter

21. Best PR Person

  • Matthew Benson
  • David Leibowitz
  • Barrett Marson
  • Stacy Pearson
  • Jason Rose

22. Best PR Firm

  • Gordon C. James Public Relations
  • Leibowitz Solo
  • R&R Partners
  • Up Agency
  • Veridus

23. Best Twitterer

  • Matthew Benson
  • Paul Bentz
  • Sen. Katie Hobbs
  • Barrett Marson
  • Robbie Sherwood

24. Best Grassroots Effort

  • ADEQ No Burn Day Outreach
  • Governor’s Office of Energy Policy
  • Protect Your Right To Vote – HB2305 Referendum
  • Rights for Homebirth
  • Veto SB1062

25. Best Power Couple

  • Clint and Shawnna Bolick
  • Kate and Ruben Gallego
  • Chuck and Courtney LeVinus
  • Ann and Danny Seiden
  • Kathy and Paul Senseman

26. Best After Hours Hangout

  • Angel’s Trumpet Ale House
  • Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails
  • Del Frisco’s Grille
  • Durant’s
  • The Vig Fillmore

27. Best Place to Impress a Client

  • The Arrogant Butcher
  • The Capital Grille
  • Durant’s
  • The Gladly
  • Mastro’s

28. Best Capitol Lawn Event

  • Arizona AFL-CIO Annual Day of Action at the State Capitol
  • Arizona Association of Community Managers Day at the Capitol
  • Arizona Beverage Association Day
  • Game and Fish Day on the Lawn
  • Save with SRP

29. Best Awards Event

  • Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry Heritage Awards
  • Arizona Tax Research Association Outlook Conference
  • Arizona Technology Council Governor’s Celebration of Innovation
  • Governor’s Arts Awards Ceremony
  • Valle Del Sol Profiles Of Success Awards

30. Best Cocktail Party

  • Arizona Rock Products Association Mixer
  • Dodie Londen Networking Event
  • Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Legislative Kickoff
  • Maricopa County Democratic Party Diamond Event
  • Politics on the Rocks