Chandler Chamber to grill council hopefuls online - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler Chamber to grill council hopefuls online

April 27th, 2020 development
Chandler Chamber to grill council hopefuls online


The Chandler Chamber of Commerce will hold a virtual forum for the six candidates vying for three City Council seats and it’s giving the public a chance to submit questions for the candidates.

The forum, at 5 p.m. May 19, will be broadcast on Channel 11 and the city’s website with candidates gathering virtually from their homes or offices for the session.

Chamber CEO/President Terri Kimble said the forum will include introductory remarks from each candidate, several questions and a “lightning round” of around 20 questions requiring a “yes” or “no” response.

While the Chamber Public Policy Committee has also been formulating questions for the candidates, Kimble said she’s also interested in hearing from Chandler citizens. People can send their questions to

“The Chandler Chamber has always taken a proactive approach in government affairs that benefit business and the community” Kimble said, calling the forum “an accesible way for residents of Chandler to learn more about the candidates and their stands on issues of importance in order to make an informed decision at the polls.”

The Chamber sent a short questionnaire to all candidates with a deadline of April 17 that touched on their background and also asked why they are running, what top three issues they want to focus on if elected, how will their campaign will “embody the values of the Chandler Chamber” and how will the Chamber’s endorsement help their race.

As of the SanTan News’ deadline last Wednesday, only Rick Heumann and Christie Ellis had submitted answers.

The other candidates in the Aug. 4 election include incumbents Jeremy McClymonds and Mark Stewart; Beth Brizel, a former Kyrene Governing Board member who owns a commercial real estate business; and OD Harris, a pastor and longtime community activist who founded a seven-state chain of 35 tax-and-accounting businesses before selling it to his major competitor.

In her response to the Chamber’s questionnaire, Ellis, a registered nurse who owns several East Valley assisted living homes, did not say why she is running.

She said her top three issues are: “higher education, more free market solutions, enriching our neighborhoods, embracing our diversity.”

On the question of how her campaign will embody the Chamber’s values, Ellis replied, “In demonstrating strong leadership in the focus areas above and in becoming a bridge for the business community with the city of Chandler.”

An endorsement by the Chamber, Ellis wrote, “will empower me to hit the ground running as a council member, and it will give me access to important knowledge on how to best serve the business community” and “will allow me to victoriously cross the finish line.”

Heumann, who served eight years on Chandler City Council before being termed out and has sat since then on  the Chandler Planning and Zoning Commission and as chair of the Chamber’s Public Policy Committee, said he is running “to lend my experience in leadership and the business community.”

His city experience “and my numerous years with various nonprofits in Chandler give me the expertise and knowledge to help us through these challenging times,” he wrote. “Now is the time for strong leadership willing to make the tough decisions.”

Two of his top three issues had to do with life in a post-Covid-19 world.

“With the coronavirus giving our economy a great attack, my expertise in getting the city through the great recession will enable me to help get us back on our financial footing in a proper manner,” he wrote.

He also cited the pandemic’s financial hit on public safety. “We cannot waver in making sure our citizens are safe and secure in their neighborhoods and places of employment,” he wrote.

His third issue involved his work on education “to make sure we pull together our many great schools, businesses and city resources to give our residents the best education experience of any city. Without that as a backbone then we will not have the workforce we need for the high-tech jobs our city has to offer.”

Heumann said his experience and track record demonstrate how his campaign embodies the Chamber’s values and that an endorsement will “show our residents and business leaders that the Chamber has the confidence that I will do what is right for our city.”