Representative Nancy Gutierrez is a rising star in Arizona politics. As a Democratic member of the Arizona House of Representatives, she champions education, healthcare, affordable housing, infrastructure, and the environment. Gutierrez defeated a Republican challenger in 2022 to represent District 18. Her journey from teacher and small business owner to state lawmaker exemplifies dedication to community service. This article will explore Gutierrez’s background, election, tenure in office, political positions, and impact on Arizona.
Early Life and Education
Nancy Gutierrez was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1972. She was raised in a middle class family that valued education and community involvement. Gutierrez graduated from Central High School in Phoenix in 1990. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University in 1994.
After college, Gutierrez worked as an elementary school teacher in the Madison School District in Phoenix. She taught 3rd and 4th grade for over 5 years. Gutierrez earned a reputation as a caring, devoted, and creative teacher.
In 2000, Gutierrez left teaching to start a small business. She opened a children’s bookstore called Story Time Books in downtown Phoenix. Gutierrez enjoyed fostering a love of reading in the community for over a decade. Her store offered weekly children’s programs, author events, and reading groups.
Running for State Legislature
After closing her bookstore in 2012, Gutierrez became more active in local Democratic groups. She served as a community organizer and volunteer for several campaigns. Gutierrez also joined the board of a non-profit supporting literacy programs.
In 2021, Gutierrez decided to run for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives from District 18. She hoped to improve education, expand healthcare access, and bring more infrastructure funding to her district. Gutierrez also wanted to be a voice for working families, women, and minorities in the legislature.
Gutierrez launched her campaign in early 2022 vowing to be a “champion for our schools, hospitals, and small businesses.” She emphasized her background as a teacher and business owner. Gutierrez promised to fight for equitable school funding, living wages, affordable housing, and quality healthcare.
Initially, Gutierrez faced a crowded Democratic primary field with 4 other candidates. She differentiated herself by touting a list of over 300 local endorsements. Gutierrez also organized volunteer events and knocked on thousands of doors. She narrowly won the August 2022 primary with 34% of the vote.
In the general election, Gutierrez faced Republican candidate Linda Evans. Gutierrez campaigned on improving education, expanding Medicaid, defending reproductive rights, and stimulating economic growth. She won the November election with 38% of the vote, picking up the open seat left by a retiring Democratic incumbent.
Tenure in State Legislature
Representative Gutierrez began her first term in the Arizona legislature in January 2023. She quickly got to work sponsoring bills and serving on key committees.
Speaker of the House Raquel Teran appointed Gutierrez to two committees: Education and Regulatory Affairs. On Education, Gutierrez can directly influence education policy and funding. The Regulatory Affairs committee oversees occupational licensing and public services.
In her first months in office, Gutierrez has already sponsored 15 bills on a wide range of issues.
Two of Gutierrez’s bills aim to improve education. HB 2661 requires charter schools to disclose more financial information. HB 2748 seeks to reduce excessive student discipline and absenteeism.
Housing and Infrastructure Bills
Gutierrez introduced bills to expand affordable housing and fund infrastructure. HB 2809 helps municipalities pay for water and road improvements. HB 2841 and SB 1541 would increase the state’s Housing Trust Fund.
Three healthcare related bills were sponsored by Gutierrez. HB 2185 exempts firearm safety devices from sales tax. SB 1706 requires transparency for the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Program. HB 2743 expands scholarships for DACA medical students.
Other Gutierrez bills include recognizing Assyrian New Year (HCR 2037), honoring veterans and cancer awareness (SR 1003 and SR 1031), and regulating school textbooks (SB 1549).
Scorecards and Ratings
As a new legislator, Gutierrez has not yet been rated by organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union or Americans for Prosperity. These scorecards will likely assess her first term voting record in 2023-2024. Early endorsements indicate she will be considered a progressive Democrat.
Representative Gutierrez’s views align with the Democratic party on major issues:
True to her background, Gutierrez champions increased education funding, higher teacher pay, reduced class sizes, and accountability for charter schools. She supports universal pre-K, vocational training, and making college affordable.
Gutierrez ran on expanding Medicaid to cover more uninsured Arizonans. She wants to improve reproductive healthcare access. Gutierrez also advocates for mental health resources and affordable prescription drugs.
Economy and Jobs
Gutierrez wants to stimulate economic growth by investing in infrastructure, small businesses, renewable energy, and high-tech jobs. She supports raising the minimum wage and expanding family leave.
Gutierrez recognizes climate change as a threat. She has pledged to protect Arizona’s natural resources and shift to renewable energy. Gutierrez wants to address water scarcity and prevent pollution.
Gutierrez promotes a humane immigration system. She supports protections for DREAMers, a path to citizenship, and safe conditions for migrants. Gutierrez opposes bans on so-called “sanctuary cities.”
A former teacher, Gutierrez strongly supports LGBTQ, women’s, and minority rights. She is pro-choice and favors common sense gun safety laws. Gutierrez backs criminal justice and policing reforms.
Representative Nancy Gutierrez resides in Phoenix with her husband Steve and two teenage sons James and Diego. She spends free time hiking, reading, and playing tennis. Gutierrez also continues to volunteer with local literacy non-profits and serve as a classroom guest speaker.
In her first months as a state legislator, Nancy Gutierrez has already made her mark sponsoring impactful bills. Backed by years of teaching and small business experience, Gutierrez offers a knowledgeable voice on education, healthcare, housing, and other key issues. While the next election is two years away, Gutierrez is poised to build a strong record representing the people of District 18. Her leadership could help shape Arizona’s future for the better. The political rise of Nancy Gutierrez demonstrates the power of local community engagement and grassroots activism.
When was Nancy Gutierrez elected to the Arizona legislature?
Gutierrez was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in November 2022. She took office in January 2023.
What are some of Gutierrez’s sponsored bills?
Gutierrez has sponsored bills on education, housing, infrastructure, healthcare, taxes, scholarships, and recognizing minority groups. Some examples are HB 2661 on charter school finances, HB 2809 funding infrastructure, and SB 1706 on school vouchers.
What are Gutierrez’s committee assignments?
Speaker Teran appointed Gutierrez to the House Education Committee and Regulatory Affairs Committee for the 2023-2024 legislative session.
What is Gutierrez’s educational background?
Gutierrez earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University in 1994. She worked as an elementary teacher for over 5 years.
What business did Gutierrez start and run?
Before entering politics, Gutierrez opened and ran Story Time Books, an independent children’s bookstore in Phoenix from 2000 to 2012.
How did Gutierrez perform in her 2022 election?
Gutierrez narrowly won a 5-way Democratic primary with 34% of the vote. She went on to defeat Republican Linda Evans with 38% of votes in the November general election.