Making their presence known

Nogales International Article – By Jonathan Clark


We’ve seen a lot of state Reps. Andrea Dalessandro and Rosanna Gabaldon around these parts since the two Democrats from Sahuarita were elected in 2012 to represent Legislative District 2 in the Arizona House.

Both attended the open house for the new community college building on Oct. 9, and Gabaldon showed up for a recent Nogales City Council meeting in which the city discussed annexing land north of town. We’ve seen Dalessandro and Gabaldon at several County Board of Supervisors meetings, as well as at meetings of the Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority. Last December, Dalessandro was one of 15 members of the third graduating class of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Citizens Academy here in Nogales.

They also show up at community events. We saw both Dalessandro and Gabaldon at the inaugural Santa Cruz County Historic Film Festival in February, and also at the premier of locally filmed “The Hangover, Part III,” at the Oasis Cinema in May. Dalessandro was a judge at last year’s Christmas Light Parade in Nogales.

In another sign of Dalessandro’s interest in connecting with locals, a story in the Oct. 11 edition, “Lawmaker learns Spanish to reach constituents,” recounted her decision to attend a Spanish-language immersion program in Mexico.

Perhaps Dalessandro’s and Gabaldon’s local appearances are so noticeable because we so seldom saw our state reps back when the Nogales-Rio Rico area was still part of Legislative District 25. It’s hard to recall a local appearance by David Stevens, a Sierra Vista Republican who represented the area from 2009-12. We saw Peggy Judd, a Willcox Republican, tour the area not long after her election as a LD 25 representative in 2010. But then Judd introduced a bill that would have required public alerts about notable illegal immigration activities in the border area, and the local reaction was loud and angry. She eventually pulled the bill, but we didn’t see her around here after that.

Given the fact that our new representatives seem comfortable here and interested in the local constituency, local residents shouldn’t hesitate to contact them with questions and concerns. Contact Dalessandro or (602) 926-5342; and Gabaldon at or (602) 926-3424. You can write to both of them at House of Representatives, 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007; just add “Room 118” to the address for Dalessandro and “Room 117” for Gabaldon.

And since you just might run into them around town, below are photos of the two to help you recognize and approach them.

Andrea Dalessandro

Andrea Dalessandro

(Clark is managing editor of the Nogales International and Weekly Bulletin. Article By Nogales International


FROM THE EDITOR: Scam forum is a promise kept


Green Valley News Article – Dan Shearer


Well, they listened.

In January, I ran into state Rep. Andrea Dalessandro at a mixer in Phoenix. It was her first week on the job and we talked about how things were going early on.

I expected a “deer in the headlights” look but didn’t get it. Andrea, who has wanted the job a long time, was enjoying finding her way around the state capitol, meeting new colleagues and getting reacquainted with others.

Since she was feeling so comfortable I decided to make a pitch.

“Fraud and scams are a big problem in Green Valley, I know I don’t have to tell you that.”

To her credit, she didn’t just hear me, she listened. We talked awhile about some of the dreadful phone calls I get from people who’ve been ripped off and about the tremendous work of the SAV Scam Squad to head off some of that.

But I said more help — perhaps on the state level — would be welcome. She said she’d do it.

I wasn’t so sure; it was the beginning of a long legislative session — her first — and she had a lot on her plate.

Then she contacted me last week and said, “Done deal.”

And so it is. On Friday, Rep. Dalessandro is hosting a forum involving several groups to talk about scams, fraud, and avoiding them. It’ll be led by the state Attorney General’s Office and includes AARP, the Pima Council on Aging and our own Scam Squad. It’s at noon at the East Social Center, is set to go two hours, and I hope you’ll join us.

Next, I had an hour over coffee with U.S. Rep. Ron Barber about three weeks ago. He listens well, too. Same conversation, same result.

We can expect his office to hold a similar forum in June, then in late fall when the winter visitors return. Rep. Dalessandro also expects this to be just the first of many.

“We will be planning future events because we always have new residents and, unfortunately, new scams,” she told me.

Information is powerful when it comes to combatting scams and frauds, and this is a start — it’s a good start.

(Dan Shearer is the editor of the Green Valley News and Sun) Article By Green Valley News


Learning the language: State representative learning Spanish to reach constituents

Andrea Dalessandro Guadalajara

Andrea Dalessandro (right) on a field trip in Guadalajara with Spanish-language classmates from Japan (left) and Russia.

Green Valley News Article – By Kitty Bottemiller


Newly redrawn districts, a high number of Hispanic constituents and some blunt advice from the wife of a former governor sent state Rep. Andrea Dalessandro on a six-week trip this year to learn Spanish.

Dalessandro, who was elected in 2012, was immersed in Spanish at one of Mexico’s best-known schools, living with locals, reading, writing and speaking it.

“I look at this as a first step to connect better with my constituents,” she said.

The idea struck when Dalessandro saw the shape and demographics of recently realigned Legislative District 2 and its minority-majority. Stretching from southern Tucson to the Mexico border, it’s home to about 205,000 residents — 60 percent Hispanic.

Encounters with fellow public servants and the general public convinced her it was a good idea, Dalessandro said. One involved a visit with former Gov. Raul Castro and his wife, Patricia, at the Nogales senior center where they live. The Mexican-born Castro, 97, also served as ambassador to El Salvador, Bolivia and Argentina.

“I got the finger in the face,” Dalessandro recalled, smiling. “Pat isn’t Hispanic but knows Spanish and said I needed to learn.”

Dalessandro’s own roots are Polish. She’s originally from New Jersey, attended college on scholarship then went to work as a math teacher. She eventually earned an MBA in accounting, worked for PriceWaterhouse, then had her own tax practice for 25 years. In her new role as politician, she’s learning from others, including state Sen. Jerry Lewis (R-Mesa), whom she heard make a speech entirely in Spanish.

A Tucson school board candidate she met a day later suggested language study in Guadalajara, a metropolis of 4.5 million and Mexico’s cultural center.

“I needed more than knowing street names,” she said.

She chose the Instituto Mexico Americano de Cultura (IMAC), which fit her needs and budget.

Living the life

She laughingly recalls one incentive for sticking to Spanish-only during the course: whenever she slipped, she owed the teacher a chocolate. During her stay with a native family and constant influx of other foreign visitors, she was engrossed in everyday life, Guadalajara-style.

She got far more than four hours of daily classes, conversation, homework and quizzing. In addition to computer support and index cards, she was soon finding her way to el autobus rojo (red bus) to campus, making amigos from other countries and sightseeing on field trips, conducted half en espanol. Most of her classmates were younger, some of whom jokingly called her abuela (grandmother) but her age (66) was un secreto. She also shared a Spanish children’s book with her host’s 4-year-old granddaughter

Hundreds of snapshots document visits to galleries, parks and historico sites of exquisite craftsmanship, a basilica and an agave farm for tequila-making. On her last night in town, she celebrated her host’s birthday at a mariachi concert.

She also visited her host son’s class at Monterrey Institute of Technology, where he was teaching on hiatus from his post in Illinois. On learning Dalessandro was a lawmaker, the students were ready with questions: Did she have anything to do with the bad laws in the U.S.? What about immigration reform?

“They knew all about SB 1070.”

Do deportations hurt Arizona’s economy?

“I told them, ‘Yes, I’m very concerned about families being separated.’” She is a mother and abuela to five.

Familiar questions, answers rephrased. Dalessandro readily concedes she’s still a novice and finds verb tenses tricky. At a Tucson Hispanic chamber meeting last week, she spoke with a participant in Spanish.

“People said bueno. I can read better than I can speak, but they’re impressed that I would even try.”

She hopes to see the Castros again and converse in Spanish. It isn’t her first “second language”; as a girl she spoke Polish fluently with her grandparents and studied French and Latin in Catholic high school.

“To tell the truth, I was reluctant, not sure I could learn, as well being older,” she said. A Latino children’s summit in Phoenix helped persuade her to go for it.

“There were high school, college students, some dreamers, with questions. On my side of the aisle many people are bilingual.”

(Kitty Bottemiller | 547-9732  is an author for the Green Valley News and Sun) Article By Green Valley News



For the veterans


Green Valley News – (Opinion) Letter to the Editor – By Andrea Dalessandro (AZ State Rep.)


As the Green Valley News reported, the French government recently awarded three local World War II veterans with the country’s highest honor for citizens or foreign nationals, the National Order of the Legion of Honor (“France says thanks: Three local World War II vets get that nation’s highest honor,” June, 19, Page A1).

The article states that in 2004, to mark the 60th anniversary of D-Day, France began awarding a limited number of the Legion of Honor medals to living WWII veterans who served in the country. France is now extending the awards to all living WWII veterans who can show proof of their service in France.

I had the privilege of giving certificates to the three soldiers who earned the Legion of Honor. They were recognized at a ceremony and I hope that we will see ceremonies like this all over Southern Arizona. This is one way we can give back to the people who have given so much to our country.

I am urging any other WWII veterans who served in France and live in Southern Arizona to contact me so I may assist in ensuring they get the recognition they deserve. I can be reached or 1-800-352-8404 or (520) 398-6000.

Rep. Andrea Dalessandro, State Legislative District 2

(Source: Green Valley News and Sun – Opinion – Letter to the Editor Andrea Dalessandro) Article By Green Valley News





Cherrybell effort

Green Valley News – (Opinion) Letter to the Editor – By Andrea Dalessandro (AZ State Rep.)

The first step toward job growth is protecting the jobs that we already have. That is the simple truth that prompted the Arizona State Legislature to overwhelming support keeping the Cherrybell Mail Processing Center in Tucson open.

This year, the Arizona Legislature approved House Concurrent Memorial 2007, which asked Congress to prevent the closing of the Cherrybell Mail Processing Center. This effort garnered bipartisan support because of the dire consequences of closing the processing center. Nearly 300 Arizonans would lose their jobs and it would create a myriad of burdens for Tucson and the rest of the state. This isn’t speculation; this is already starting to happen.

There is a bipartisan movement in Congress to stop the closure of mail processing centers across the country. More than 45 congressional members have already joined this effort but mail processing centers remain in jeopardy. There is still plenty we can do and we must continue to reach out to our elected representatives in both the U.S. House and Senate.

I’ll continue to advocate for the Cherrybell Mail Processing Center. Anyone interested in helping can contact me directly at, or 602-926-5342.

Rep. Andrea Dalessandro, Legislative District 2

(Source: Green Valley News and Sun – Opinion – Letter to the Editor Andrea Dalessandro) Article By Green Valley News





Dalessandro earns recognition for her support of

Arizona cities and towns


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The League of Arizona Cities and Towns recently recognized Rep. Andrea Dalessandro, D-Sahuarita (District 2), for her support of municipalities during the legislative session by giving her a Friend of Cities and Towns Award.

She was one of 12 Arizona House Democrats recognized by the League this year.

“City and town officials appreciate the support from these outstanding legislators and their recognition that local decisions should be made at the local level,” Executive Director Ken Strobeck said. “We are successful when we are all working together for the benefit of our citizens and Arizona.”

Dalessandro’s district includes Tuscon, South Tucson, Nogales, Patagonia and Sahuarita, where she resides.

“This award is especially meaningful to me because I believe we work for the people of Arizona in partnership with cities and towns,” Dalessandro said. “I am honored and will remain committed to my efforts to keep our state’s cities and towns strong and safe.”

The League honored the winners on Aug. 29, during the 2013 Annual Conference. The conference, held at the Hilton El Conquistador Resort in Oro Valley, was a four-day meeting with more than 900 mayors, council members and officials from across the state. For more information about the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, visit

(Source: AZ House Democrats –Click Here for Original Article)