Hartke, Poston, Orlando, Encinas win - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Hartke, Poston, Orlando, Encinas win

August 15th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Hartke, Poston, Orlando, Encinas win

By Ken Sain
Managing Editor

It’s unknown how much the push for a non-discrimination ordinance to protect Chandler’s LGBTQ+ community played in last week’s election, but the outcome likely assures that Chandler will adopt that ordinance in the near future.

The candidates who won the election the five-way race for three City Council seats according to unofficial results – incumbent Matt Orlando and newcomers Jane Poston and Angel Encinas – have all shown strong support for such measure.

And while Mayor Kevin Hartke won a second term by a huge margin over challenger Ruth Jones, his opposition to a non-discrimination law will put him in a minority on the seven-member council as of January, when the winners take their seats.

“I had a couple of people come up and tell me that’s why they voted for me, so I know that it’s a contributing factor,” Poston said. “We did hear about the NDO, and most people were very understanding and positive about it.”

The last time Council considered an NDO, it failed on a 5-to-2 vote, with Orlando and Councilman OD Harris backing it.

Poston suggested the current council would adopt a non-discrimination ordinance since the five opponents can see where things are heading.

“I would think that would be the best result possible,” she said. “There is value in having the Council move forward together in the right direction. It’s a positive move for us as a community, and what’s more, it is something our businesses want.”

Orlando in January will begin his sixth term on Council after capturing 27% of the vote, followed by Poston with 21% and Encinas with 20%. Candidates Darla Gonzalez got 18% and Shifa Farhana 14%. Hartke won by a 77-to-23% margin.

“I feel honored that our Chandler voters have trusted me with another term,” Hartke said. “Chandler is the best run city in Arizona, I got great name recognition, and a great track record.”

Poston was buoyed by her victory.

“It’s been nine months of enormous amounts of work,” she said. “I felt like I did everything I could, so no matter what happens, I’ll feel good about the outcome. Having the numbers run the way they did, and earning the votes I did, is absolutely amazing.”

Poston, Orlando and Encinas were all endorsed by the Chandler Chamber of Commerce and the employee associations for local police and fire. Poston runs her own media business and is the past president of the board for the Chandler Chamber.

“I’m excited, I’m humbled and quite frankly I’m honored,” Orlando said. “I’m thrilled to have been reelected and can’t wait to get back to work for the City of Chandler. I’ve always had faith in Chandler voters to have the pulse of what’s happening in the city.”

Orlando said he and his team handed out 50,000 campaign flyers during the campaign, working just as hard in this election as he did in his first in 1990. Orlando was a colonel in the U.S. Air Force and executive at Honeywell before entering public service.

Encinas billed himself as the homegrown candidate, having been born and raised in Chandler. He runs an immigration consulting business and is a real estate agent. The Chandler High graduate is openly gay, the first ever elected to Chandler’s Council.

“I am proud and humbled by the decision of Chandler voters to put their confidence in me and believing in our mission,” Encinas said. “I think the results indicate that an overwhelming majority of our citizens would like to see our council more proactive, transparent, and inclusive.”

Poston said she’s done all she can to prepare herself.

“I worked so that I could hit the ground running,” Poston said. “I didn’t want to assume that I knew the challenges, and I wanted to make sure I knew where to direct residents when they had issues.”

Poston said she met with 80% of the city’s department heads, listening to the issues and problems they face.

Encinas has been a regular attendee at City Council meetings for more than a year. He said that he decided in 2019 that he wanted to get involved in public service, but the pandemic forced a delay.

“However in the beginning of 2021 I dedicated time to interact and hear what my fellow residents were asking of our leaders,” he said. “I was never recruited for this, I sought out this position and felt it was time my generation take part in the responsibilities of our future.”

Chandler voters also backed Home Rule for the 11th straight time, adopting Proposition 470 by an 86-to-14% margin. If it had failed, Council would need to make drastic cuts to its budget.

Chandler Councilmember Rene Lopez finished fourth in his bid to run for a seat in Congress. Kelly Cooper won the GOP primary for the Fourth Congressional District.

Vice Mayor Terry Roe advances to the general election in his bid for a seat in the state legislature. He was one of two Republicans running in the 12th District for a House seat. Both will advance to face two Democrats in November’s general election.

Both Roe and Lopez could not run again for a Council seat because of term limits.