Legislative District 26 candidates — Tempe campus

A run down of the District 26 candidates appearing on the ballots of students on the Tempe campus

This year, there are two candidates for the Arizona Senate and four candidates for the Arizona House of Representatives on the ballot for Legislative District 26. 

The three Democratic candidates for seats in District 26 have formed the "Millennial Clean Elections Team," advocating for similar policy on a variety of issues. 

District 26 State Senate

Juan Mendez — Democrat


House Rep. Juan Mendez poses for a portrait in the House of Represetatives in the Arizona State Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016.

Sen. Juan Mendez is running for re-election. Mendez is part of the Millennial Clean Elections Team with Rep. Athena Salman and Melody Hernandez. 

Education: As part of the Millennial Clean Elections Team, Mendez supports increasing teacher pay, decreasing classroom sizes and reducing the number of standardized tests.

The team also believes in working toward "a free system of higher education."

Health care: The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports expanding Medicaid and providing health care for all. They also support reducing the costs of prescription drugs and providing Arizonans with 12 weeks of paid medical and family leave.  

Immigration and border control: The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports repealing Senate Bill 1070. The team says the bill "damaged our state" and enabled "discriminatory and criminal practices." 

The team also supports the passage of a Clean Dream Act, which would among other things, give recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals a path to citizenship. 

Economy: On his campaign website, Mendez claims he decided to run for office to address economic inequality and invest in the community. 

The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports a living wage in Arizona and investing in technical education to promote employment. 

Civil rights and civil liberties: The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports universal access to contraceptives, women's reproductive rights and the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment

Additionally, the team advocates for housing as a human right, protecting voter's rights and addressing the needs of Arizona's BIPOC communities.  

Environment: The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports investing in renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and hydropower.

Jae Chin — Republican

Jae Chin is running as the Republican challenger against Mendez. He fled from South Korea to the U.S. in 1978 seeking asylum. He later became a U.S. citizen and is now a business owner.

Education: In answers to a survey conducted by the Arizona Charter Schools Association, Chin supports school choice, charter schools and equitable funding for public school students.

Immigration and border patrol: Chin's campaign website says he supports immigration, but "it needs to be done legally." 

Chin has voiced support for President Donald Trump and his policies regarding the U.S. - Mexico border. 

Economy: If elected, Chin's campaign website says that bringing manufacturing jobs to the Valley will be his top priority. 

Chin advocates for adding non-stop flights to Phoenix from Asian countries, believing it could increase manufacturing jobs and tourism to the area.

Civil rights and civil liberties: Chin's campaign website says that "bottom line, All Lives Matter." Chin is pro-life, saying that he believes the idea of All Lives Matter also extends to abortion. 

Chin's campaign does not provide an explicit stance on health care. 

District 26 House of Representatives

Athena Salman — Democrat


Rep. Athena Salman poses for an official government portrait. 

Rep. Athena Salman is running for re-election. She is a graduate of ASU, and during her time at the University she was an advocate for affordable tuition and universal healthcare. 

Salman is part of the Millennial Clean Elections Team with Mendez and Hernandez.

Education: As part of the Millennial Clean Elections Team, Salman supports increasing teacher pay, decreasing classroom sizes and reducing the number of standardized tests.

The team also believes in working toward "a free system of higher education."

Health care: The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports expanding Medicaid and providing health care for all. They also support reducing the costs of prescription drugs and providing Arizonans with 12 weeks of paid medical and family leave.  

Immigration and border control: The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports repealing SB1070.

The team also supports the passage of a Clean Dream Act, which would among other things, give DACA recipients a path to citizenship. 

Economy: The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports a living wage in Arizona and investing in technical education to promote employment. 

Civil rights and civil liberties: The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports universal access to contraceptives, women's reproductive rights and the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment

Additionally, the team advocates for housing as a human right, protecting voter's rights and addressing the needs of Arizona's BIPOC communities.  

Environment: The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports investing in renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and hydropower.

Seth "Marcus" Sifuentes — Republican

Seth "Marcus" Sifuentes is a Navy veteran and a Naval Reservist. This is his first time running for office. 

Education: Sifuentes has voiced his support for increased funding toward STEM programs in schools. He also supports charter schools, as he believes they create competition for the public education system. 

Health care: In regard to COVID-19, Sifuentes has said he does not agree with mandatory mask mandates but does believe a business has the right to refuse service to anyone not wearing a mask. 

Immigration and border patrol: In response to Ballotpedia's candidate survey, Sifuentes said that he wants to work toward a "healthy balance" regarding immigration policy by securing the border and "promoting the human dignity" of immigrants.

Economy: In his answers provided to Ballotpedia's candidate survey, Sifuentes said one of his top priorities is to protect the middle class. Part of this includes protecting them from taxes on income, property and sales.

Sifuentes believes the root of many social issues is the lack of proper training, preventing people from "the plethora of high paying and dignified jobs."

Civil rights and civil liberties: Sifuentes told Ballotpedia that he advocates for a "true pro-life policy," meaning he opposes abortion and wants to end Arizona's use of the death penalty.

Sifuentes said he is an advocate for mandatory body cameras for police officers in Arizona. 

Melody Hernandez — Democrat

Melody Hernandez has spent the last five years working in emergency medical services and continues to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also provides medical aid to asylum seekers in her community. 

She recently served as the first Latina chair of the Legislative District 26 Democrats.

Hernandez is part of the Millennial Clean Elections Team with Mendez and Salman. 

Education: On her campaign website, Hernandez says she believes in strengthening Arizona's education system. 

As part of the Millennial Clean Elections Team, Hernandez supports increasing teacher pay, decreasing classroom sizes and reducing the number of standardized tests.

The team also believes in working toward "a free system of higher education."

Health care: Hernandez says on her campaign website that through her work as a first responder, she has seen the effects of "starving our public healthcare system," and supports equal access to health care. 

The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports expanding Medicaid and providing health care for all. They also support reducing the costs of prescription drugs and providing Arizonans with 12 weeks of paid medical and family leave.  

Immigration and border control: Hernandez says she grew up going to rallies with her family to support immigration reform.

The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports repealing SB1070 and the passage of a Clean Dream Act, which would provide DACA recipients a path to citizenship. 

Economy: Hernandez cites her work as a union shop steward as one of the reasons she is running to protect and expand worker's rights.  

The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports a living wage in Arizona and investing in technical education to promote employment. 

Civil rights and civil liberties: Hernandez says on her campaign website that she grew up protesting against police brutality. 

The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports universal access to contraceptives, women's reproductive rights and the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment

Additionally, the team advocates for housing as a human right, protecting voter's rights and addressing the needs of Arizona's BIPOC communities.  

Environment: The Millennial Clean Elections Team supports investing in renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and hydropower.

Bill Loughrige — Republican

Private investigator, Tempe native and Republican challenger, Bill Loughrige is running for state legislature for District 26.

Loughrige worked as a U.S. Customs Agent for 35 years before retiring and starting his own private investigations company, WJL Investigations. Loughrige also serves as president of the Walker Fire Protection Association.

Education: In answers to a survey conducted by the Arizona Charter Schools Association, Loughrige supports school choice, charter schools and equitable funding for public school students.

He also supports "Higher pay for teachers, less restrictions on School Boards to be more efficient" and returning vocational training to high schools. 

Health care: In his answers to a questionnaire conducted by iVoterGuide, Loughrige said he supports private health care, as opposed to insurance provided by the government. 

Immigration and border patrol: Loughrige said in an answer to a questionnaire by iVoterGuide that he supports the construction of a border wall.

Economy: Loughrige's campaign website says he is in favor of lowering taxes and reducing government regulations. 

If elected, Loughrige says he will advocate for bringing pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs to Arizona. 

Civil rights and civil liberties: In his responses to iVoterGuide's questionnaire, Loughrige said he is pro-life and believes in only a few situations where abortion should be allowed. 

He also said he believes marriage should only be between a man and a woman. He believes sexual orientation and gender identity should not be included as protected classes under non-discrimination laws. 

Loughrige is a supporter of gun ownership. 


Reach the reporter at cjjorda6@asu.edu or follow @cjjorda6 on Twitter.

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