Raised in Tucson, Arizona, Representative Lorenzo Sierra (LD-19) was the first in his family to complete college, receiving a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Arizona State University.
Sierra began his career in corporate communications and created “award-winning marketing and community development projects” until started his career in politics by serving on Avondale’s City Council.
In Nov. 2018, Sierra was elected to serve his first term in the Arizona House of Representatives.
Sierra’s “passion for local and statewide community service and advocacy” has led him to serve on the Maricopa Association of Governments Economic Development Commission; Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone’s Hispanic Advisory Board; WESTMARC; the City of Phoenix Business and Workforce Development Commission; Hispanic Leadership Forum del Oeste; the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; local arts organizations Xico; and Chicanos por la Causa’s Health and Human Services Committee.
In his first year, he served on the House Ways & Means committee and Government committee.
Sierra sat down with Chamber Business News to discuss the 2019 legislative session and his goals for next session.
Question: What drew you to a career in politics?
Answer: I just felt like I could make a difference and ended up at [the] city council in Avondale. From there [I] was fortunate enough to get elected to the [Arizona] House of Representatives out of Legislative District 19.
Q: Do you think your time working in corporate communications helps you build policies that support local businesses? Why?
A: I have always been a really strong proponent of local business. I did a lot of work with the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Hispanic business is growing, far outpacing the general market. When you really extrapolate that to Latinas, they are starting businesses at an incredible pace. So, having that background in helping small businesses not only startup but grow and thrive, I really feel like it’s been advantageous for me to have the Fortune 5 background as well as that small business background just to have a good sense of what’s driving our economy and what’s going to help our community move forward.
Q: What was your favorite bill you worked on this session?
A: The favorite bill that I worked on this session is [S.B.] 1474 and that was introduced by my senator, Lupe Contreras (LD-19). Some of the most revered people in our community are the men and women of VFW Post 60310. They had asked our Justice of the Peace…if they could fly the POW-MIA flag over the county court building in Avondale. The judge was getting ready to do that but found that the law was really ambiguous as to whether he could. So, in honor of the men and women of VFW Post 60310, Senator Contreraz drafted a bill that explicitly allows municipal and county court building to fly the POW-MIA flag. Representative Diego Espinoza (LD-19) and I were cosponsors on that bill and the governor signed it last week. Just a few minutes ago I had the opportunity to tell the men and women of VFW Post 60310 at a community event that the bill had gotten passed and that they were the inspiration for it. When you’re able to do things that matter to the people that you’re serving, that’s a great feeling. That was my favorite bill.
Q: What changes, if any, will you make for next session?
A: My goal this year was to shut up, listen, learn and contribute wherever I could. In the upcoming year, I will be introducing more bills. Most likely in the health care space and the foster child space. There are a couple things that I’m very passionate about that I want to make sure we provide resources and access to people who just need a hand up to get their lives in order. I’ll be introducing more bills and I will be much more organized than I was this past year because I have a much better feel for the pace and how things work.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: It’s been a very interesting year at the Capitol. We’ve never had this close of a balance [of Republicans and Democrats] in the House in my lifetime. 29 to 31 and that has brought with it some interesting challenges, or I think I’ll say opportunities. I think we are having to learn how to work all together and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.