Arizona Senator’s Father In Critical Condition After Deadly Plane Malfunction

Arizona Senator’s Father In Critical Condition After Deadly Plane Malfunction

By Corinne Murdock |

The father of State Sen. J.D. Mesnard (R-LD13), Daniel Mesnard, remains in critical condition after his twin-engine plane malfunctioned and crashed in Georgia. 

The crash paralyzed the elder Mesnard from the waist down. His passenger and longtime friend, Timothy Fiser, died from his injuries despite initial reports reflecting his condition as stable. The crashed plane was a Velocity Twin model certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last November. 

On Monday, the senator issued a statement that his father remains critically injured and in need of funding to recover the plane. Without recovering the plane, the FAA won’t be able to complete its investigation to determine the malfunction that caused the plane to crash. The senator petitioned for financial aid through GoFundMe.

“The longer the plane sits there in the marsh the more it disintegrates and the prospect of losing the data contained in the plane and engines becomes very real,” said Mesnard.

The elder Mesnard had served as a pilot for decades: 21 years as an Air Force fighter pilot, 35 years as a commercial pilot for Delta Airlines, and owner of a charter plane business for the last three years. 

According to Sen. Mesnard, his father prevented the plane from flipping by pulling a “fighter pilot manuever” to regain control, and then directed the plane to crash-land into the bank of a marsh in a tree clearing rather than the surrounding forest to avoid a potential fuel tank explosion. 

The senator also relayed that the plane ejected his father and Fisher despite both wearing seatbelts. The younger Mesnard thanked those first responders who braved the marsh to rescue his father and family friend. 

“We are so grateful for their herculean efforts to get to my dad and Tim – including wading through waist-deep mud and ignoring the prospect of snakes and alligators,” said Mesnard. 

About 15 minutes before crashing, the elder Mesnard had stopped at the Kaolin Field Airport in Sandersville, Georgia to refuel. 

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), obtained by WDRW, revealed that a Kaolin Field Airport mechanic had cleared the plane for flight a day before and the day of the crash. Also according to the report, a local police officer heard the plane “change pitch” mid-flight before “banking right” and “descend[ing] quickly.” 

As of that report obtained last week, the FAA and NTSB were going to investigate. According to Sen. Mesnard, the FAA hasn’t been able to get access to the plane due to its remote location and difficult terrain. 

The Mesnards require $23,000 to recover the plane and conduct an investigation. As of press time, the GoFundMe has raised over $14,000.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

SCR 1015 Would Ensure That Our State’s Initiative Process Is For All Arizonans

SCR 1015 Would Ensure That Our State’s Initiative Process Is For All Arizonans

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

For years, Arizona has been a target of out-of-state special interest groups that want to put their radical ideas in our state. The process usually goes something like this.

  1. Liberal groups from outside Arizona take an issue that is unpopular with the electorate, like tax hikes.
  2. They come in and hire an army of paid circulators to flood the streets of Phoenix and Tucson to collect their signatures—hardly bothering with the rest of the state.
  3. Bad policy and sweeping reforms are placed on our ballots with only a small fraction of the state’s support.

One of the most recent examples of this was Prop 208, which narrowly passed in 2020. Out-of-state teachers’ unions spent more than $30 million over four years in their effort to buy the largest tax hike in history—lying to Arizona voters to get signatures and lying to get the slimmest of majorities to approve it. Had it not been for the court system killing Prop 208 once and for all, Arizona would be a high tax state today.

Now, a proposed constitutional amendment sponsored by Arizona Senator J.D. Mesnard would put a stop to this abuse…


Hobbs Racks Up Vetoes Against Voter Confidence Bills

Hobbs Racks Up Vetoes Against Voter Confidence Bills

By Daniel Stefanski |

If it wasn’t already apparent, the Republican-led Arizona Legislature and the state’s Democrat chief executive will not be coming together anytime soon on measures pertaining to election integrity.

On Wednesday, Senator J.D. Mesnard issued a press release to announce that Governor Katie Hobbs had vetoed a number of his bills “aimed at increasing voter confidence, convenience, transparency and timeliness of election results.”

The bills Mesnard was referring to were SB 1595, SB 1596, and SB 1598. SB 1595 would have “prescribed additional requirements for an early ballot to be counted and valid, required a voter to present valid identification by the prescribed days after an election for a ballot that was delivered by a voter’s agents or a voter who does not provide sufficient identification, removed the requirement that the period of early voting must end at 5:00pm on the Friday preceding the election, and deemed the early ballot of a voter who is issued an early ballot during the early voting period after confirming identification and stamped as ready for tabulating.”

SB 1596 would have “required a state, county, city, town or school district office to provide sufficient space for use as a polling place for an election when requested by the officer in charge of elections.”

SB 1598 would have “allowed a candidate for federal office to designate a representative who may act as an observer at a counting center and prescribed requirements relating to the conduct of party representatives, challengers and observers.”

Senator Mesnard released a statement in conjunction with his release, saying, “To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. Elections are becoming more chaotic and more controversial in Arizona with each passing cycle. We’ve seen it take weeks, sometimes more than a month, to count ballots and determine the winners of races. Following the last election, I heard more complaints across the political spectrum about the length of time it takes Arizona to finish counting than I did any other issue, and it’s a problem we can easily solve. Ignoring these problems is a complete disservice to our voters who are taking their precious time to exercise their civic duty. We can’t just kick the can down the road every year. My proposals were commonsense, practical to implement and would have made a real difference in tackling some of the issues voters continue to complain about. I look forward to trying again to provide impactful election reform next session.”

The governor didn’t have much to add in her veto letters for the three bills. For SB 1595, she wrote, “This bill fails to meaningfully address the real challenges facing Arizona voters.” For SB 1596, Hobbs explained: “This bill creates an unfunded and untenable mandate for schools and communities. This bill once had an appropriation, demonstrating that it needs funding to be viable. However, it was not included in the budget, and as such, I cannot support it.” And for SB 1598, Hobbs stated, “As it is not clear what problem this bill is attempting to address or if any such problem exists, I cannot support it.”

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

Mesnard Questions Maricopa County Supervisors’ Delayed Legislator Replacement Process

Mesnard Questions Maricopa County Supervisors’ Delayed Legislator Replacement Process

By Daniel Stefanski |

The animosity and distrust between the Maricopa Board of Supervisors and the Republican-led Arizona Legislature continues to deepen with a new issue finding a wedge between the two sides.

On Wednesday, Arizona Senator J.D. Mesnard took to the floor of his chamber to address the Maricopa County Supervisors’ ongoing consideration of two legislative vacancies in both the House and the Senate.

One of the vacancies is due to an expulsion of a Republican member of the Arizona House of Representatives. The other for a resignation of a Democrat member of the State Senate.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is statutorily required by law to select the replacement for the vacancy from a pool of three same-party nominees chosen by their party. Republican precinct committeemen transmitted three names for the open House seat (Liz Harris, Julie Willoughby, and Steve Steele) as did the Democrats for the Senate seat (Representatives Cesar Aguilar and Flavio Bravio in addition to Quant’a Crews).

Mesnard’s frustrations boiled over on the Senate floor as he laid out his charge against the Supervisors’ alleged delay in filling the two vacancies for 19 (Senate) and 20 (House) days. He informed his colleagues “the length of these vacancies is the longest, while we’ve been in session, in a half a century – 56 years!” The East Valley lawmaker also said that 8.76 days is the historical average to fill the vacancy.

What seemed to bring Senator Mesnard to this point were some of the rumors he recounted hearing about for the reasons in the delay to fulfill the vacancies. According to the senator, “one of the rumors is there may be a belief that the county can reject all three of the nominees put forward.” The other rumor “is that (the supervisors) just want to sit on this for a while and hold out for some piece of legislation that they want to see passed” – in other words, “leverage” on the Arizona Legislature.

Senator Mesnard spoke on behalf of the 120 Republican precinct committeemen who rearranged their schedule back in April to nominate the three individuals to fill the open House seat. He bemoaned the fact that such a lengthy delay was not previously an issue, and he hinted that maybe his colleagues should take future action to change the statute to force the county board of supervisors to act with more urgency when filling vacancies during a legislative session. He stated that the “Board of Supervisors should have held a special meeting to hasten what should be an important priority for them.”

The members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors were definitely paying attention to Senator Mesnard’s words. Supervisor Steve Gallardo quickly responded on Twitter, writing, “Thanks for taking us all the way back to the 70s Senator. We didn’t receive nominees until the 4/18. Some didn’t respond right away to request for background info. Board is performing due diligence. As always, Arizona Senate Republicans are ignoring the facts.”

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

Mesnard Bill Aims To Strengthen Election Integrity, Speed Tabulation

Mesnard Bill Aims To Strengthen Election Integrity, Speed Tabulation

By Daniel Stefanski |

A bill to better secure the integrity of Arizona elections is making its way through the legislature, but it is meeting resistance from Democrats along the way.

SB 1595, which was sponsored by Senator J.D. Mesnard, deals with the identification and tabulation of early ballots. Last week, it cleared the Senate chamber with a 16-14 party-line vote. All Republicans supported the bill, and all Democrats opposed its passage.

According to the purpose of the legislation, which was provided by the State Senate, SB 1595 “prescribes additional requirements for an early ballot to be counted and valid. It requires a voter to present valid identification by the prescribed days after an election for a ballot that was delivered by a voter’s agents or a voter who does not provide sufficient identification. Also, it removes the requirement that the period of early voting must end at 5:00 pm on the Friday preceding the election.”

Senators Ken Bennett, Frank Carroll, Jake Hoffman, John Kavanagh, and Wendy Rogers joined as co-sponsors for Mesnard’s bill.

Senator Mesnard explained his reasoning for introducing this bill back in January: “An important bill I’m currently working on this session will speed up our election counts. I’ve heard from a number of you regarding the extended time it took to finish counting ballots this year. Folks across the country were asking, ‘Doesn’t Arizona know how to count?’”

The extended time is mostly a result of vote-by-mail voters who drop it off on Election Day instead of mailing their ballot back ahead of time, which take days or weeks to count because of signature verification requirements. If such folks were treated like those who vote in-person at the polls on Election Day—that is, be required to show ID prior to turning in their ballot—it will dramatically expedite election night results without compromising security, accuracy, or transparency.”

In a newsletter this week, Senator Mesnard announced the Senate action on his bill, writing, “Several of my bills that focus on improving our elections process by speeding up ballot tabulation, while preserving accuracy, security and transparency, have now passed the Senate and are advancing in the House. SB 1595 would ensure we treat people voting on or near election day the same, regardless of whether they were mailed a ballot. Those wishing to drop off their early ballot after the Friday before Election Day would have to adhere to the same ID requirements that those voting at the polls must follow. This will avoid the need to spend weeks signature verifying these last-minute ballots, a top reason for the constant delay in Arizona’s election results.”

Democrat Senator Priya Sundareshan voted no on SB 1595, explaining her rationale that “this bill falls under the category of bills that are making it harder to vote.” She also said that the legislation would change “the ability of people to drop their ballots off through Election Day,” and the increased identifications requirements for late drop-offs of early ballots would add “hurdles upon hurdles” for Arizona voters.

Before voting in favor of his bill, Senator Mesnard stated that there was “universal contempt for the time it takes us to count” the votes after Election Day, noting that 2022 voters for both Hobbs (Democrat candidate for governor) and Lake (Republican candidate for governor) shared this feeling.

Senator Juan Mendez also rose to explain his vote against SB 1595, continuing the Democrats’ fascination over highlighting so-called “election integrity conspiracies,” saying, “Earlier results will not reduce conspiracies,” and “appeasing conspiracies with further confusion only risks voter suppression.”

Representatives from the League of Women Voters of AZ, AZ State AFL-CIO, State Conference NAACP, and AZ Association of Counties all opposed SB 1595 as it progressed through the Arizona Senate. The bill now resides in the House of Representatives and will be considered there in the coming weeks.

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