By Lauren Daly


Ken Bennett

Jake Flake

Dean Martin

Jim Waring

Phil Hanson

Linda Aguirre

Meg Burton Cahill



Hosting the presidential debate at Arizona State University has drawn the attention of students and faculty to current politics. Of the numerous politicians that the United States possesses, several of them are ASU graduates. A few of them have shared their comments and thoughts on the locality of the Presidential Debate, as well as some of their own accomplishments, interests, and future goals.

Ken Bennett – Republican – President of Senate – District 1
Ken Bennett was elected to the Arizona Senate in 1998. Bennett graduated with a bachelors degree in science from ASU in 1984. Among many other political activities, Bennett has been particularly involved in education, including the Arizona State Board of Education, the Arizona State Charters School Board, the Governor’s Task Force on Education Reform, and is currently involved in the Education Leaders Council. Bennett is a senate president, and also a member of the Rules Committee. Bennett said, “I never wanted to be a politician, I wanted to be a statesman and improve the state of Arizona.” His favorite part about being politically involved is being able to affect government policy in what he believes is a positive way, and he feels that his most positive and influential accomplishment has been influencing education policies and funding. Originally from Tucson, Bennett is now married with three children. If Bennett was not in his position right now, he says he would be “running his business back home in Prescott full-time, spending time with his family, and working around the house.” Bennett enjoys serving the public and would like to continue in whatever role they will have for him.

Jake Flake- Republican – House of Representatives – District 5
Jake Flake, a native Arizonian, graduated from Arizona State University in 1960. Flake is currently running as a candidate for the state Senate, where he hopes to “continue his efforts to balance the budget, improve education and healthcare, and create long term solutions to natural-resources needs.” Flake has assisted in passing a number of pieces of legislation that he believes will have a permanent, positive impact on our state. Over the past four decades, Flake has served as a board member and president of two school boards, an irrigation district, a hospital operating board, and a farm credit council’s board of directors. Flake has been on the Grand Canyon Council of Boy Scouts of America for eighteen years, and has been involved in numerous other organizations and councils. Flake was also appointed to the Growing Smarter Commission and the Governor’s Water Management Commission. He was one of eight children, is now married with thirteen children of his own, and forty-five grandchildren. Flake is an owner of one of the most successful cattle operations in the Southwest United States and continues the family ranching business in Snowflake, Arizona. Ranching has been his profession and hobby since he was very young.
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Dean Martin – Republican – District 24
Senator Dean Martin received his degree in small business management/entrepreneurship from Arizona State University and currently owns a small marketing consulting business. Martin was elected to the Senate in 2000, at 26. He likes to have the opportunity to “influence, affect, and possibly change problems, rather than complaining about them.” He is the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and serves on the Senate Appropriations and Commerce Committees. He is well known for his involvement in fighting for victims’ rights. A few of his propositions include prohibiting sex offenders from living near schools, closing sex-predator notification loopholes, and applying sex offender notification laws to school campuses. Martin wrote Proposition 103, an amendment bail reform for sexual predators. Martin has earned the Freedom of Information Award twice, and was honored by the Business Journal with the “40 under 40” award as one of the top community leaders under age 40. He and his wife of nine years, Kerry, also an ASU graduate, are very involved in the community, serving as Precinct Committeemen, and as active members of the Young Republicans.

Jim Waring – Republican – Senator – District 7
Jim Waring has been a member of the Arizona Senate since 2003. Originally from Illinois, Waring received his B.S. in political science from Northern Illinois University, and continued his education at Arizona State University, earning his master in political science, a master degree in public administration, and also as Ph.D. in public administration. Waring has showed an interest in politics since his college years, inspiring him to become a member of the state Senate. Waring said his favorite part about being politically involved is “getting to meet an awful lot of people, and helping people solve problems.” Waring also enjoys being aware of many aspects of his community that he otherwise would not be. Waring is the vice president of the Appropriations Senate Standing Committee. He has also successfully kept campaign promises for veterans, passing three goals on behalf of the veterans group. Waring sees this as one of his largest political accomplishments. He believes that having the Presidential Debate held at ASU was a “tremendous way to spotlight the University. The eyes of the world will be on ASU to see all of the accomplishments that it has made. There are absolutely no downsides."
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Phil Hanson – Republican – House of Representatives – District 9
Phil Hanson has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2001. Hanson received a degree in economics and management from Arizona State University. He was involved in the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, and has since won an outstanding alumni award in 1997. Hanson said “One of the best parts of being politically involved is to be able to have a direct influence on the state of Arizona.” He believes that one of his largest accomplishments has been “getting the Maricopa Medical Center district on the ballot and passed by voters.” Hanson has also recently been inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame. Hanson sees the opportunity of having the Presidential Debate at ASU as a “wonderful opportunity to showcase the ASU campus specifically, and the state in general.” Hanson was born and raised in Phoenix, and came from a politically active family. He is a retired colonel of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps, and also a retired HR vice president of Sun Health Corp. Before retiring from the Medical Service Corps, Hanson served 28 years in the army reserves and six years of active duty in the U.S. Army, including assignments in Germany and Korea. Hanson also spent 15 years as a personnel manager with the University of Utah Hospital. He has been devoted to more than 20 memberships and offices, and is an active member of four committees. Hanson will be running for office again in 2006, and hopes to be able to have a positive impact in the future.

Linda Aguirre – Democrat – Senator – District 16
Linda Aguirre received her B.A. in elementary education, and masters degree in educational administration and supervision from Arizona State University. She has 10 years of teaching experience and 3 years of administrative experience. Aguirre has since served in the House of Representatives for three terms, and was elected to the Senate in 1998, also serving three terms. She is currently the assistant minority leader and is on the Education and Judiciary committees. Aguirre has been married for 27 years and has two children. She is also involved in her community, serving on many boards of local associations.
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Meg Burton Cahill – Democrat – House of Representatives – District 17
Meg Burton Cahill received her bachelor of fine arts from Arizona State University in 1976, later earned her master of public administration, and she is in the process of earning her doctorate from ASU as well. Cahill is in her second term of the Arizona House of Representatives, and has been involved in many organizations. Cahill is a charter member of the Children’s’ Caucus and is exceptionally involved in education. Cahill said “When I look into little children’s eyes and see innocence, hope, and promise, it reminds me on my worst days at the capital that I am needed most.” She regards this as one of her favorite parts of being politically involved. She believes that the most satisfying part of it all is being able to make a positive difference. Cahill has been involved in a project that encourages 18-24 year olds to vote, and she believes that having the Presidential Debate held at ASU will cause students to think about voting, and hopefully continue to vote in the future. “The global impact that this will bring to Tempe will be positive, seeing that people all around the world will be watching this debate” Cahill said. She hopes people will be encouraged to visit the area, and bring revenue to the businesses. When Cahill is not occupied with her work at the capital, she enjoys her artwork, pottery, and cooking with her husband.

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