MARICOPA — Though the race for Pinal County supervisor in District 4 started out with just one candidate in its southeastern corner, Jeff McClure of Saddlebrooke, the ranks have swollen in the last month to include two Maricopa residents, Marlene Pearce and Dan Frank.
Frank is a civil engineer by trade, and his resume includes owning a consulting firm, in addition to his current roles as president of the Maricopa Flood Control District and commissioner with the Maricopa Planning and Zoning Commission.
This is not his first campaign either. Frank served a six-month term on the City Council after a special election and ran again in 2016 — losing by a small margin of votes. He believes that living and working in a major population area of Pinal County gives him a special opportunity to appeal to the needs of the masses.
“I think it’s good to have competition,” Frank said. “Given that most of the population of the district is over here in the western part of the county, it does kind of make sense that competition would come from this area.”
But this time, he’s feeling the pressure of a larger campaign since announcing it in early January.
“Jeff McClure has a definite head start on everybody,” Frank said. “He’s been campaigning for about nine months now. I feel like definitely the underdog in this for sure. He’s kind of ahead in meeting with all the groups and getting the support.”
District 4 includes Maricopa, Arizona City, part of Eloy, part of Marana, Oro Valley, Oracle and Saddlebrooke.
Frank hopes to focus his campaign on three main issues, the first of which is continuing the mission of many city officials to improve roads, infrastructure and ultimately traffic on city roads.
The second was economic growth, a sentiment echoed by other candidates in the running. However, he would like to zero in on developing and bolstering the workforce locally.
“Where we’re really having a problem is workforce development,” Frank said. “Retention is one of the main things that we need to focus on, especially with the big employers like Lucid Motors coming in to Casa Grande and they’re going to be wanting to draw from Maricopa for quite a few of the jobs.”
The end goal, Frank says, is to keep Maricopans thriving within the city he recognizes started out as a bedroom community.
“We really need to develop that workforce to stay local. Once we give them a good job, then they need to be happy here as well,” Frank said.
With his background in civil engineering and position with MFCD, Frank is well versed in the water issues Maricopa faces as well.
“We have too much water in places we don’t want it — flooding — and then not enough water in places that we do (want it),” Frank said. “So as a civil engineer, I’ve been impacted personally by (Arizona Department of Water Resources’) new model, and some projects I’ve worked on have been put on pause because of that. While that impacts me professionally, as more of a citizen, I want to make sure that the model is correct, and that we do have water in the future.”
Frank moved to Maricopa in 2005 with his wife Tina, drawn by the real estate market at the time. He was previously working at a corporate civil engineering firm for 16 years, before moving to his own company in 2012. He’s a father to four adult daughters and the grandfather of nine.
As someone who has put his roots down in Maricopa, he said he understands the importance of maintaining a vibrant community.
“I’d like to see a vibrant, healthy workforce here in Pinal County, that is establishing roots to stay for the long term and not coming in here to move to another county later on in their life cycle,” Frank said. “I’d like to see our transportation infrastructure improved, and I know that takes a long time. So we have to have a plan for the future, an eye for the future for those kind of projects.”
Frank is running as a Republican against McClure and Marlene Pearce. But for right now, he’s just focusing on getting the word out about his campaign and getting to know his county.
“As with any of my campaigns, it’s always getting out and meeting new people — that’s always one of the most rewarding aspects of it,” Frank said. “Even when I was on City Council, that was really neat to just meet new people in our community and help wherever I can.”