Biographies - Commisioners
Commissioner Paul Newman
Paul Newman was born and raised on his family's dairy farm in New Jersey. He earned a B.A. in Behavioral and Social Science from the University of Maryland, a Master in Public Administration and a Master in Judicial Administration from University Southern California, and a Juris Doctorate from California Western School of Law.
Before moving to Arizona in 1988, he was an administrator, researcher, and consultant with the California court system where he served as Court Management Consultant for the National Center for State Courts, California Supreme Court, Los Angeles Municipal Court, Sacramento Municipal Court and San Diego Superior Court from 1976 through 1986.
Newman has also served as a Public Defender in San Diego County, Cochise County and Pima County and maintains a private practice in Bisbee. He has also completed a Certificate in Public Policy from the University of Arizona.
Newman is a proven, effective leader in his life of public service. He was a two-term Cochise County Supervisor and three-term State Representative. He was named Legislator of the Year by Arizona Association of Counties and by the Behavioral Health Community for his work in the Arizona Legislature and has served the people of Cochise, Graham, Greenlee and Santa Cruz counties since 1992. During his tenure in the Arizona Legislature, The League of Conservation Voters consistently ranked Paul Newman #1 in voting to protect the environment.
As an example of his dedication to the environment, as Cochise County Supervisor, Newman successfully stopped a trash burning incinerator in Whetstone and a coal burning power plant in Bowie. On April 21, 2008—Earth Day—he received The U.S. Dept. of the Interior Cooperative Conservation Award for his work in preserving the San Pedro River.
Paul Newman led a successful funding effort for Kartchner Caverns and established a state-wide rural technology incubator system; secured funding for Healthy Families, Healthy Children; developed tax credits for businesses to hire the unemployed; fully-funded the widow and disabled homeowners tax credit; assisted in establishing and funding the border volunteer corps program; and lobbied to secure full funding for the University of Arizona at Sierra Vista and Cochise College. He has always been responsive to the needs of constituents and can be trusted to be a strong voice for the people.
Paul Newman is an advocate for creating a sustainable economy while protecting our environment and works to lead Arizona in becoming a significant source of solar energy. Establishing Arizona as an exporter of solar power to the entire United States will create good paying green collar jobs and will allow America to throw off the chains of foreign oil dependence. Arizona can spur the growth of appropriate technologies for addressing climate change by leading the way on solar power. Our state's economy will reap the benefits of the research, development, construction, maintenance, staffing and training required to upgrade to the energy source of the new millennium.
Commissioner Brenda Burns
Raised in a military family, Brenda Burns lived many places while growing up. In 1969 she moved to Arizona and made it her home. As an owner/manager of a family business, Brenda learned firsthand the impact which laws, rules and regulations can have on a small business' ability to succeed and create jobs.
Brenda Burns' business experience was invaluable when she began her long history of representing Arizonans. She first served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 1987 to 1995. In 1993, Republican House members elected Brenda to the position of Majority Leader, making her the first woman to hold the position in Arizona.
Brenda served eight years in the Arizona State Senate. In 1997, she became the first woman to hold the position of Arizona Senate President. As Senate President, Brenda was instrumental in the formation and passage of the State's $6 billion dollar budget and reduced the Senate's multimillion dollar budget by over eight percent.
A champion of taxpayers, she led successful efforts to reduce and keep taxes low for both individuals and business. Brenda's persistent emphasis on protecting Arizona citizens from high taxes, high regulatory costs and excessive spending led to her recognition by the U.S. Small Business Administration as "a leader in regulatory reform".
Throughout her political career Brenda Burns worked with leaders throughout the United States. As an active member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, she served on its board for nine years, becoming ALEC's national Chairman in 1999. There she worked with other national leaders on many issues, with a strong focus on States' Rights.
Brenda lives in Scottsdale and is a licensed real estate agent. She is married to Bob Isbell. They have a combined family of six adult children and ten grandchildren.
Chairman Gary Pierce
Gary Pierce was born in Illinois and raised in Mesa, Arizona. He graduated from Mesa High School. A track scholarship took him to Mesa Community College then transferring to Arizona State University, he graduated in 1974 with a Bachelors Degree in Education.
Pierce taught at Mesa's Taft Elementary School with a career in the automobile business following his teaching experience. After managing dealerships for four years in Sierra Vista, he moved to Yuma and became a Honda and Nissan dealer. Pierce also owned a Shell Gas Station and Budget Rent-A-Car franchise. The Pierce family moved back to Mesa 1998.
Gary Pierce was twice elected to the Yuma County Board of Supervisors and served in the Arizona House of Representatives from District 19 (North/East Mesa) from 2001 thru 2006. In 2005 and 2006 he served as Majority Whip. He served on a number of legislative committees including Environment; Natural Resources and Agriculture; and as Chairman of Transportation. Commissioner Pierce previously served on the Arizona Housing Commission, the Maricopa County Planning and Zoning Commission and the Maricopa County Department of Transportation Advisory Board.
In January of 2004, Representative Pierce sponsored HB2456, which authorized Maricopa County to call an election for a twenty year extension of the half-cent sales tax to fund transportation. The Regional Transportation Plan was placed on the November ballot, as Proposition 400. That measure passed, ensuring the resources to continue construction of our freeways with the goal to build a complete transportation system in Maricopa County.
Commissioner Pierce has been married to Sherry, a Mesa native, for 37 years and they have four sons, four daughters-in-law and nine grandchildren.
The Commissioner served as an Assistant Scoutmaster with his son's Boy Scouts of America troop and all four of his sons are Eagle Scouts.
Commissioner Bob Stump
Bob Stump was elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2008. He represented District 9 in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2002-2008.
He serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners (NARUC), is a regular participant in Harvard Electricity Policy Group seminars, and is an Advisory Council member of the Center for Public Utilities. Bob has also served on the faculty of Law Seminars International.
The Arizona Republic has described Bob as "energetic…intelligent, hard-working and effective...a quick study [and] a strong fiscal conservative…a candidate with depth."
The Tucson Citizen has called Bob "an innovator" who has "strong experience with public policymaking, wise perspectives on energy use [and] a commitment to pursuing fairness for Arizona residents."
Bob was also deemed one of Arizona's three "Best State Representatives" by the Arizona Capitol Times, based on a survey of Arizona's government and civic leaders. He has received over a dozen awards in recognition of his efforts to improve Arizonans' health care and protect Arizona's taxpayers – including awards from the Arizona Medical Association ("Walk the Talk" award), the Arizona Healthcare Association ("Legislator of Distinction"), the Alzheimer's Association and the Autism Society of America. The March of Dimes has honored Bob for helping improve the odds for Arizona's babies by working to prevent birth defects. Bob has also been recognized as a "Champion of the Taxpayer" by the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers and an "Eagle for Enterprise" by the Arizona Small Business Association for his work on behalf of small-business owners.
Bob has a wide range of policy experience, having served as Chairman of the House Health Committee; Co-Chair of the Joint Select Committee to Investigate Operations and Conditions at the Arizona Veterans Home; Vice Chair of the Health and Rules committees; and as a member of the Commerce & Military Affairs, Ways & Means, Water and Agriculture, Financial Institutions & Insurance, Education, and Ethics committees.
Bob's policy proposals have made front-page news in USA Today and serve as model legislation for legislatures throughout the country. He has discussed key legislative initiatives on CNN; "Your World with Neil Cavuto," on the Fox News Channel; National Public Radio; as well as various national and international media. In 2006, Bob was a featured guest on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal," which devoted nearly an hour to discuss his policy ideas with a national audience.
Bob also has served as a Manhattan Institute research associate to author and former presidential speechwriter David Frum; as an aide to Fred Barnes and William Kristol; and as a speechwriter for candidates and officeholders in Arizona.
Bob holds degrees from Harvard University, where he studied political philosophy with columnist George F. Will, as well as American religious history, and the University of California at Berkeley, where he studied philosophy and social thought and from which he graduated with High Honors.
In his free time, Bob enjoys music, hiking, travel and exploring our great state of Arizona.
Commissioner Sandra D. Kennedy
Sandra D. Kennedy was elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission on November 4, 2008.
Kennedy was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 1986 where she served for six years (1986-1992). During this time, she was appointed to the Arizona Employment and Training Council by Governor Rose Mofford and, in 1990, was appointed to the Executive Committee of the State Democratic Party and served for two years. Also, that year, she was elected to serve a four year term on the Phoenix Union High School Governing Board. IN 1992, she was elected State Senator and subsequently served three terms (1992-1998).
A graduate from South Mountain High School, Kennedy attended college within the Maricopa Community College District and Arizona State University, majoring in Accounting and Business Administration.
Her many past and present community and civic projects include the following:
• Tutor for Valley Christian Center and Valle Del Sol
• Board member of the Arizona Cactus Pine Girl Scout Council
• Ex-Officio Member of Phoenix Community Alliance
• Former Board member of the Community Excellence Project
• Performer with the Arizona Black Theatre
Additional Accomplishments of Sandra Kennedy:
• Voted Outstanding Young Woman of America in 1984.
• A member of the National Association of Female Executives
• A delegate to the Foreign Relations Conference in June 1988 from the American Council of Young Political Leaders
• A member of the National Conference of State Legislators and the National Black Conference of State Legislators.
• Former-owner of the business enterprise, Kennedy Restaurants, LLC
Sandra Kennedy was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and came to Phoenix in 1971. She is the mother of three: Mahogany; Amber and Seth.