Ugenti-Rita Announces Run For Maricopa County Board Of Supervisors

Ugenti-Rita Announces Run For Maricopa County Board Of Supervisors

By Daniel Stefanski |

A former Arizona legislator is running for office again – albeit for a different position than she previously held.

Former State Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita announced her candidacy for the office of Maricopa County Supervisor for District 2, which is currently occupied by Supervisor Thomas Galvin. Galvin was appointed by the Board of Supervisors when the former officeholder, Steve Chucri, resigned his seat in 2021.

After his appointment, Galvin won his first election in 2022.

Ugenti-Rita came out swinging against her opponent, asserting that District 2 voters “have been deeply disappointed by (Galvin’s) actions while in office. She listed “defending botched elections, fiscal mismanagement (including support for the Prop 400 transportation tax increase) or abdicating his responsibility to the residents in Rio Verde Foothills when they desperately needed a solution for their water problem,” as grievances against Galvin’s short tenure in office.

The former legislator also slammed the Board as a whole, which will likely be a common refrain of her campaign. She wrote, “For too long, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has lacked transparency, flown under the radar without accountability and been beholden to entrenched bureaucrats and special interests. It is time to call them what they really are, RINOs, and expose the county cartel that has been facilitating and perpetuating a liberal woke agenda.”

In her lengthy statement, Ugenti-Rita also proved that she would be all too willing to pit her conservative credentials against her perception of Galvin’s, adding, “District 2 is a Republican district and the voters want and deserve a Supervisor who reflects those conservative principles. They are tired of being sold out time and time again when politicians like Galvin who claim to be conservative in order to win their vote, then turn around and support bloated budgets, tax increases and woke gender politics that only succeed in growing government. This stands in stark contrast to my unmatched 12 year record of successfully delivering conservative results to the voters.”

Ugenti-Rita shared that she had garnered the “continued support and endorsement of Congressman David Schweikert” for her race. She included a quote from the U.S. Representative, which read, “Michelle has a stellar and proven record of principled, conservative leadership. I’m confident that she will make an excellent county supervisor. I’m proud to give her my full endorsement and I encourage my fellow Republicans to join me in voting for her in next year’s Republican primary.”

Schweikert wasn’t the only endorsement listed by Ugenti-Rita, who added Arizona State Senators John Kavanagh, Wendy Rogers, and Representatives Joseph Chaplik and Barbara Parker to her roster of early supporters.

The new candidate’s revelation wasn’t viewed favorably with some around Maricopa County. Michael Noble, an Arizona pollster, weighed in on the race, saying, “If you’ve ever met Supervisor Thomas Galvin or seen him perform his job of representing his district, you will find all of the stuff below by Ugenti is complete BS.”

On his campaign website, Galvin lists public safety, inflation, water, elections, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and Highway US-60 as his priorities. He stated that his “beautiful wife and I are raising a young son who we want to grow up in a successful, prosperous, and safe Maricopa County.”

Galvin’s heart appears to come through strongest when talking about his passion for law and order and augmenting public safety in the county. He wrote, “Arizonans desire freedom, creating good jobs, and a strong economy. I share those values. We must maintain law-and-order in Maricopa County. That is why I am proud that the County has provided additional resources to the Sheriff’s office and the County Attorney’s office so that they have the tools and resources they need to fight crime. Illegal drugs are a scourge in our community. Maricopa County has the highest drug overdose death rate in Arizona. We need to reverse that. We need to stem the rising tide of violent crime.”

The incumbent Supervisor added, “I denounce and reject calls to Defund the Police. That is why I am proud of a budget that enhances law enforcement. And I’m proud to be endorsed by Police.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

Arizona Sheriffs’ Association Rebukes New Mexico Governor For Gun Ban

Arizona Sheriffs’ Association Rebukes New Mexico Governor For Gun Ban

By Daniel Stefanski |

The political fallout has continued from New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s controversial executive order on the Second Amendment from earlier this month.

Late last week, the Arizona Sheriffs’ Association issued a letter to “publicly rebuke the order of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham that suspended the second amendment in Bernalillo County, New Mexico.”

The letter, which was signed by the Association’s President and Yavapai County Sheriff, David Rhodes, asserted that “this chilling executive order erroneously cites a public health emergency but is nothing less than a full-blown violation of constitutional rights.” Rhodes’ letter added that the executive order out of New Mexico is “unparalleled and unprecedented” executive overreach in the United States, and that it “completely disregards well established case law and interpretation of the second amendment by the United States Supreme Court which has upheld an individual’s right to bear arms in self-defense.”

Sheriff Rhodes acknowledged the worries over crime across the nation and shared his insight on how communities and law enforcement officials could get control of the issues they face, writing, “To regain control of public safety, measures must be taken to inspire confidence that the law will be enforced against those who commit crimes, not those who don’t. Zero tolerance for crime, support for law enforcement, border security, and the encouragement of law enforcement to be proactive in their duties are all strong starting points. No community will ever be safe without the ever-continuing development of relationships between the police and the community.”

In his letter, Rhodes warned that “violating constitutional rights will do nothing to make the public safe,” but would rather “make the public less safe by eliminating individuals’ ability to defend themselves.”

The leader of the state’s sheriffs’ association closed his communication by addressing his fellow colleagues across all jurisdictions in law enforcement. He said, “And finally, to all our elected sheriffs, chiefs of police and law enforcement officials that took an oath to their office: Remember this: that oath is absolute, no matter what the governor of New Mexico claims. The Constitution, which you swore to uphold and defend, was designed by our founders specifically to protect us from the government overreach that the governor of New Mexico is attempting to exact on her citizens right now. We have been warned many times throughout history that leaders would attempt to exchange perceived security for constitutional rights. Resist that urge now by refusing to violate the constitutional rights of your fellow citizens of New Mexico.”

Rhodes’ letter stands in stark contrast to a social media post from the Arizona House Democrats Caucus that was sent out shortly after the New Mexico executive order hit the wires. That post appeared to endorse the controversial and legally suspect action from New Mexico’s Governor.

Republican Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell was quick to respond to the House Democrats’ post, vowing to see them in court if it ever came to that point on this issue of restricting Arizonans’ constitutional freedoms.

Just days after the executive order was signed, a U.S. District Judge in New Mexico granted a temporary restraining order to two of the governor’s sections in her action. That court decision followed a letter from the state’s attorney general, Raúl Torrez, who informed the governor that she was on shaky constitutional grounds with her order. Attorney General Torrez stated, “Though I recognize my statutory obligation as New Mexico’s chief legal officer to defend state officials when they are sued in their official capacity, my duty to uphold and defend the constitutional rights of every citizen takes precedence. Simply put, I do not believe that the Emergency Order will have any meaningful impact on public safety but, more importantly, I do not believe it passes constitutional muster.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

Mitchell Sounding Alarm For Parents Of Unsuspecting Minors Online

Mitchell Sounding Alarm For Parents Of Unsuspecting Minors Online

By Daniel Stefanski |

Maricopa County’s top prosecutor is sounding the alarm about online exploitation of unsuspecting minors.

Earlier this month, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell released information to help parents understand more about the dangers their children face while online.

Mitchell and her office shared a statistic from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), showing that more than 7,000 reports of online sextortion of minors occurred in 2022.

According to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO), sextortion “is a form of exploitation where children are threatened or blackmailed by a person who demands additional sexual content, sexual activity or money from the child. The scammer will threaten the child with the possibility of sharing nude or sexual images of them with their family, friends and the public.”

The genesis of these encounters, per the MCAO, happens when “a teen receives a message from a pretty girl on a social media or dating site. The two begin to talk and eventually share explicit photos. Unbeknownst to the teen, the person on the other side of the chat is not a pretty girl at all. It’s a scam artist who has recorded their entire conversation, explicit photos and all, and is now blackmailing the teen for more photos or money.”

The MCAO warned parents that this activity is “more common than you think,” adding that “13-17 boys are the most common target.”

Boys and girls come across these scammers through direct messages on their social media apps and are usually coaxed into moving the conversation or supposed relationship into an anonymous messaging app or a live-stream video chat.

County Attorney Mitchell and her office give the following advice for parents in helping educate and protect their children against these serious online dangers:

  • Explain what information should never be shared on social media
  • Remind your kids that they should never accept a friend request or respond to someone they don’t know in real life, even if they have friends in common online
  • Teach them how to block and report people on social media sites
  • Warn them of the risk of sharing inappropriate photos
  • Most importantly, remind your kids that they can always come to you for help

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

Lawmakers Question Acceptance Of Super Bowl Tickets By Hobbs’ Staff

Lawmakers Question Acceptance Of Super Bowl Tickets By Hobbs’ Staff

By Daniel Stefanski |

The 2023 Super Bowl may be long over, but political fallout is continuing into the start of the next football season.

On Thursday night, veteran Arizona reporter Dennis Welch and one of his colleagues released a story that “according to public records, the Arizona Office of Tourism gifted the Governor’s Office twelve tickets (to the Super Bowl)” and that “members of Hobbs’ staff used the remaining half dozen… worth tens of thousands of dollars.”

Two of the six Hobbs’ staffers who reportedly received tickets to the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona are no longer with the office, having departed earlier this year.

The Arizona’s Family journalists shared the existence of A.R.S. 41-1232.08, which bars “elected officials and public servants from accepting (the free tickets).” The statute reads, “A state officer or state employee shall not accept an expenditure or single expenditure for entertainment from a principal, designated lobbyist, authorized lobbyist, lobbyist for compensation, public body, designated public lobbyist or authorized public lobbyist or any other person acting on that person’s behalf.”

Republican legislators were quick to react to the breaking news, The Arizona Freedom Caucus posted, “Corruption in Governor Hobbs’ administration! Katie Hobbs’ staff accepted free Super Bowl tickets estimated to cost $7,000 per ticket. AZ has laws that make it ILLEGAL for Public Servants and Elected Officials to accept gifts over $25.00 in value. This is flat out corruption.”

Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope wrote, “I purchased my nosebleed seats and these folks go for free in I’m sure way better seats than what I paid for? Cool scam for them eh Dennis Welch? Rules for thee and none for me is the mantra of the Governor Hobbs’ Administration I suppose…”

Freshman Representative Cory McGarr opined, “I’m sure we will see a full Hunter Biden investigation. Nothing to see here.”

Shope also responded to an account that had attempted to argue that the Governor’s Office reported actions were “perks of being in a high office,” saying, “Huh breaking the law is NOT ‘one of the perks’ of being in high office, nor should it be. Why would I want to break the law when I can pay for them honestly. I’m sure that’s difficult to understand for some but being ethical is something three generations of elected Shope’s have had in common. These are the people educating your kids folks…people who think people in high office have a right to break the law.”

In their report, the journalists revealed that “the previous Governor, Doug Ducey, received twenty tickets to the 2015 Super Bowl in Glendale,” and that they were told “Ducey paid face value for his ticket and distributed the remaining tickets to veterans groups.” The journalists added that “at the time, Ducey prohibited his staff from taking free tickets over concerns it was against the law.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

Border Crisis Worsens With Historic Repercussions

Border Crisis Worsens With Historic Repercussions

By Daniel Stefanski |

The crisis at America’s southern border continues to have historic repercussions for Arizona.

On Wednesday, Fox News reporter Bill Melugin revealed that thousands of migrants illegally crossing the southern border into Arizona were being released into border communities. He wrote, “NEW: Per Border Patrol sources, street releases of migrants who crossed illegally are beginning today in the Tucson, AZ sector due to CBP facilities being overcapacity. The Tucson sector alone saw over 2,000 illegal crossings yesterday in a 24 hour span. Mass releases underway.”

Melugin added, “We have a cameraman in the sector right now, where large numbers of single adult men from Africa have been crossing illegally, including many from Senegal. People from all over the world arrive in the Tucson sector.”

The information specific to the Tucson sector followed a report from Melugin the previous day, where he shared the following – “NEW: Per CBP sources, yesterday alone, Border Patrol apprehended over 7,400 illegal immigrants at the southern border, & when combined with CBP ports of entry, there were over 9,100 migrant encounters in one day. I’m told CBP released 5,000+ yesterday w/ a notice to appear. As of this morning, CBP had over 21,000 people in custody.”

NewsNation reporter Ali Bradley also chimed in on the situation on the ground in Arizona, focusing in on the southeastern part of the state. She stated, “Migrants are being released into Cochise County communities right now – Sheriff Mark Dannels confirms the releases are a direct result of over-capacity by CBP. Sheriff Dannels is frustrated with the situation saying, ‘The migrants being released are from outside Cochise County but were bussed to Cochise County, processed and then released. Cochise County is a rural county with limited resources leaving these migrants vulnerable. In short, this lack of humanitarian consideration poses risk for the migrants.”

Members of the Arizona Legislature weighed in on the topic of border security this week. Senators T.J. Shope and Priya Sundareshan debated the issue on social media after Sundareshan reposted a video targeting the Trump administration for environmental abuses and more, writing, “Horrific, permanent destruction of our Sonoran desert treasures, just to hastily and shoddily construct an ineffective barrier and monument to racism.”

Shope responded, “Chair of Dem AZ Senate election effort believes securing our border is ‘monument to racism.’”

Senator Sundareshan retorted, “I think even your side knows that there are ways to use modern technology to achieve border security, instead of this medieval and ineffective approach. But y’all built a wall to prove you were ‘doing something.’”

Shope volleyed, “My side knows an all-of-the-above approach works. Physical barriers, law enforcement officers, and yes, modern technology. Not sure why that’s so hard…”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.