About Cecil

            More information than you probably want to know....

I was born in Mesa, Arizona in 1948 and grew up on a cattle ranch at the confluence of the Arivaipa Creek and the San Pedro River in southeastern Arizona, where I gained a lasting appreciation for those who work hard in the Arizona sun.  Spending long summer hours hauling hay, irrigating, and working with cattle, I developed a desire to do something other than ranch hand work.  So, I put my time into my studies and school work and graduated valedictorian of my high school, where I also served as student body president.

After attending a semester at BYU and a semester at U of A, I served a 27 month mission for my church in France, from 1968 to 1970.  After my mission, I returned to college and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, cum laude from Brigham Young University in 1973.   In 1974, I began law school at Arizona State University, where during my second year I fulfilled an internship with the City of Mesa Prosecutor's office.  Upon earning a Juris Doctor degree in December of 1976, I practiced law for two years with my brother, Fred, before accepting a position as a legal advisor to the Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety in November.

In 1983 I returned to private practice in Mesa with an emphasis in real estate during the Arizona real estate boom of the late 70's and early 80's.   I held an Arizona real estate broker’s license from 1981 to 1993.  In 1985, as the real estate market began to decline I purchased the first Arizona franchise of Help-U-Sell Real Estate, and operated as its broker for the next four years.  Also about this time in the mid-80's, I was part of a family partnership which purchased and developed ViewPoint RV & Golf Resort, a 334 acre, 2000 space RV Resort in East Mesa with 27 holes of golf.  Following the sale of my Help-U-Sell franchise, I accepted a position with the Maricopa County Public Defender’s office from 1990 to 1995, where I engaged in criminal defense work, handling everything from DUI’s to 1st degree murder cases.

In 1995, following the death of a brother, I took over management of the family business of ViewPoint RV & Golf Resort, which continued until the resort was sold in 2004.   With the sale of the family business, I began devoting my time to political issues.  My wife, Linda, was a delegate and I was an alternate to the Republican National Convention in New York City in 2004. 

We had been affiliated with United Families International (UFI) for several years.  This is a charity which endeavors to preserve family values in society.  In the fall of 2004, UFI requested Linda and I to represent the organization as unpaid volunteers for six months at the United Nations to monitor language in UN documents and at UN conferences.  

We rented an apartment in New York City near the UN, and traveled back and forth between Mesa and New York to attend conferences.  After the six months period, we volunteered for another two years working with UN conference delegates urging them to adopt family-friendly language in their outcome documents. 

By June 2007 we were back in Arizona full time and began working on the Mitt Romney campaign.  I was on his local finance committee, and actively supported Governor Romney until he dropped out of the race in February 2008.  I was very disappointed.  But with all of the accumulated political energy, I decided to run for the Arizona State House of Representatives.  I was fortunate to be elected and took office in January 2009. 

Serving in the legislature the first two years was very exciting.  I was appointed to the Judiciary Committee, the Public Employees and Entitlements Committee, and to the Banking and Insurance Committee.  I enjoyed addressing the challenges facing our state.  Consequently, I decided to run for a second term and was honored to be re-elected to serve in Arizona's 50th Legislature.  During the second term, I was appointed as chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, which has primary responsibility for overseeing two of the state's largest agencies:  the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Economic Security.  During my legislative service, I received the "Hero Award" from the Arizona League of Cities and Towns, and the "Legislator of the Year" award from the Arizona Cancer Society.  I was also honored to be designated the "Outstanding Alumnus" of the ASU Law School Class of 1976, thirty-five years after having graduated. 

Even so, during my service on the judiciary committee, I felt drawn to the issues of our criminal justice system -- no doubt as a result of my work as a prosecutor and defense attorney.  Accordingly, in the fall of 2009 I asked the Speaker to establish an Interim Committee to examine the criminal justice system in general, and sentencing reform in particular.  He did so, and appointed me as chairman of that committee.  The committee held hearings where we took public testimony, and we invited input from prosecutors, defense attorneys, the courts, the Department of Corrections, the probation department, victims' advocates, and inmate representatives.   The committee developed many recommendations to improve Arizona's Criminal Justice System.  I am sad to say that philosophical differences of opinion and political considerations prevented any real progress.  The State of Arizona continues to lag behind other states in reforms to eliminate unnecessary waste in this area and to reduce recidivism.

Having failed to achieve any real progress in the criminal justice system on a macro level, I decided that perhaps I could do some good on a micro level.  For this reason, I decided to run for the office of Justice of the Peace in the North Mesa Judicial Precinct.

This past June, Linda and I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary.  We have five children. With four boys, all of whom became Eagle Scouts, I was involved in the Boy Scouts from 1981 until 2001.  I served on the Parent Advisory Council of Franklin Junior High School, was a charter member of the Mesa Sunrise Rotary Club, and in 1994, I was a member of the Rotary Club’s International Exchange Group, which sent me and four other French speaking businessmen to the Burgundy province of France for six weeks.  We lived with Rotarians there, spoke at their Rotary Club meetings, and generally acted as goodwill ambassadors for Rotary Club.

I was a precinct committeeman for the Republican Party from 1994 until this past May 2012, when I resigned (judges and candidates for judicial office cannot be precinct committeemen, nor publicly endorse candidates for other political offices).

I’d like to think that my family has always been my priority.   None of the five children has ever given us much of a problem.  Our oldest son, Adam, is an ER doctor in Los Angeles.  Our daughter, Allison, and her husband, Ben, live in Milwaukee where he is a buyer for Kohl's Department Stores.  Our second son, Jordan, and his wife, Katie (Ellsworth), live in Boston, where he is doing his residency in anesthesiology at Brigham & Women's Hospital .  Our third son, Jacob, has his own real estate brokerage in Mesa in investment real estate.  He and his wife, Stacy (Kartchner), live in Gilbert with their two boys.  And our youngest son, Daniel, graduated in May 2011 with honors, summa cum laude, from BYU with a joint degree in economics and philosophy.  He is an associate consultant with Bain and Company in Dallas, Texas.

Left to right:  Ben, Allison, Daniel, Jacob, Stacy, me, Linda, Adam, Katie, and Jordan--June 2011

I am hopeful that eventually my children and grandchildren will all settle here in Arizona.  For this reason, I want to make this the best possible place it can be for families.


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