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Chandler councilwoman makes bid for son’s legislative seat

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PHOENIX — A Chandler city councilwoman whose son is Arizona House speaker announced she’s running for his seat. And he’s helping her.

Nora Ellen, mother of J.D. Mesnard, officially began campaigning for her son’s seat last week — with his blessing.

Mesnard will be termed out next year and plans to run for Senate. He and two other state representatives will be honorary chairs of Ellen’s campaign.

“I’m glad she’s not running against me. She’d probably beat me,” Mesnard said.

Ellen, a real estate investor in the East Valley, was voted onto the council in 2012 and re-elected last year. Her term expires in 2021.

“I have enjoyed serving on the Chandler City Council and want to take the successful work I have done in Chandler to the state level,” Ellen said in a statement on her campaign website.

She has spent many years volunteering in the community, which is what prompted her to run for council, along with encouragement from Mesnard.

“There’s only so much you can do on a voluntary capacity and if you’re going to take it to the next level, you have to run,” he told the East Valley Tribune in 2013.

Should Ellen and Mesnard win their elections, the mother and son would serve in the Legislature at the same time, believed to be a first for the state, but not the first parent-child combination.

Arizona House Minority Leader Rebecca Rios served when her father, Pete Rios, was in the state Senate.

Mesnard has set his sights on Senate President Steve Yarbrough’s seat. Yarbrough is retiring when he terms out next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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