Two seats are up for election on the Arizona Corporation Commission this year.
The Corporation Commission is tasked with approving rates charged by utilities like Arizona Public Service Co. and Southwest Gas, ensuring the safety of railroads and pipelines, investigating the securities marketplace and receiving organizing documents for corporations in Arizona.
Commissioners serve four-year terms and can serve two consecutive terms. The commission has five members elected statewide by voters.
Democrats have two candidates running in the primary, including incumbent Commissioner Sandra Kennedy. Both should move on to the general election. On the Republican side, three newcomers are vying for the two slots in the November election. In addition to those on the ballot, write-in candidates are possible as well.
Arizona is one of seven states with a constitutionally created commission and is one of 13 states with elected commissioners. The body is known as the public utility commission in many other states. Of the five total commissioners, three are elected during presidential election years and the other two are chosen during gubernatorial election years.
These are the candidates running for the Arizona Corporation Commission:
Sandra Kennedy is running for re-election to the Arizona Corporation Commission. Prior to winning a seat in 2018, Kennedy was elected to one term on the commission in 2008, becoming the first African American candidate in Arizona to win a statewide office.
Kennedy’s re-election campaign website states that there is more work to do in office to “protect the public, fight corruption, increase transparency and protect Arizona’s most vulnerable residents.”
Kennedy has run for office as a “fierce consumer advocate” and an advocate for clean and renewable energy. She is outspoken on the usage of solar energy in Arizona and used it as a platform base for her 2008 and 2018 campaigns.
Kennedy was first elected to public office as a member of the Arizona House of Representatives in 1986. She served six years before running and winning a seat in the Arizona State Senate in 1992.
Kennedy is running for re-election as a clean elections candidate.
Lauren Kuby is a Tempe councilmember currently serving her second term.
Kuby’s campaign website describes her as “a pro-solar consumer advocate who is out to stop corruption at the Corporation Commission,” and states she is running to “help fight corruption and usher Arizona’s clean energy.”
The senior sustainability scientist at Arizona State University and climate activist has a history of advocating for clean energy. She previously created the Tempe Sustainability Commission and pushed for a single-use plastic bag ban in Tempe, which was blocked by the Legislature.
So far, Kuby’s only campaign issue highlighted on her website is supporting rooftop solar. In office, Kuby aims to take advantage of the nation’s sunniest state by providing rooftop solar opportunities for everyone.
With five years of experience working as a staff member at the Arizona Corporation Commission, Nicholas Myers is now running for a seat on the commission itself.
Myers, the policy advisor for commissioner Justin Olson, is running to uphold “just and reasonable rates and charges” and to keep the commission on track and focused, according to his campaign website.
Myers lists as accomplishments his work to initiate changes at the former Johnson Utilities and his current work to create a more transparent and user-friendly website that shows commissioners’ voting records. In addition, Myers supported bills at the Legislature to limit the commission’s power to enact clean energy standards and to allow lawmakers to initiate reviews of commission decisions and subject them to consideration by the Arizona Supreme Court.
Kim Owens is currently a commissioner on the Arizona Power Authority, which oversees how the state uses electricity generated by federal dams on the Colorado River, including Hoover Dam.
Owens previously served three terms on the Salt River Project Council and 20 years on the Tolleson Union High School District Governing Board. According to her campaign website, she will use her experience to “ensure every utility company is appropriately regulated to what the Arizona Constitution requires.”
As commissioner, Owens said she would commit to asking tough questions, respecting the rights of consumers and businesses and following the U.S and Arizona Constitutions.
Owens was removed from the 2020 Corporation Commission primary election by the Arizona Supreme Court following legal challenges regarding the validity of nomination signatures.
Kevin Thompson is an Air Force combat veteran and small business owner.
Thompson is currently serving his last term as a member of the Mesa City Council. During his time in office, he has served as chairman of National League of Cities Economic Development Committee and on the American Gas Associations public policy committee. Prior to this, Thompson worked for Southwest Gas. Thompson was terminated from his position at Southwest Gas in 2014 and later sued the company, claiming he was discriminated against based on age. The case was dismissed.
Thompson states on his campaign website: “we need leaders that are willing to protect consumers, protect the businesses and ensure Arizona maintains a reliable energy grid.”
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