Ariz. Attorney General: Felecia Rotellini
Name: Felecia Rotellini
Hometown: Sheridan, WY
Office running for: Attorney General
Political experience: None, first time candidate. I have been a public servant for the past 17 years as the Superintendent of the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions, 2006- 2009; Assistant Superintendent of the Arizona State Banking Department, 2005; Assistant Attorney General, 1992-2005
Family: Father: Sam Rotellini; Sisters: Diana Rotellini, Renee Meador, and Loretta Rotellini; Brother: Sam Rotellini
Please describe your platform:
As Attorney General, my priorities will be securing the border, cracking down on consumer fraud and financial crimes and prosecuting those who prey on our most vulnerable and seniors. I am running for Attorney General because I am a hands-on, veteran prosecutor and I want to make sure the office will focus on protecting and serving Arizonans. I want to continue my life’s passion of protecting and serving Arizona, and fighting for Arizona families that began seventeen years ago - as an Assistant Attorney General (in both the civil and criminal divisions) and as the Superintendent of the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions under Governor Napolitano (2006-2009) and Governor Brewer (1/09 to 8/09). As Attorney General, I will keep Arizonans physically and financially safe and will not use the AG's office as a battering ram for personal or political ideology.
If elected, what is your first priority?
My first priority is to work with all elected officials, to secure the border and ensure that nothing illegal is entering our state. In times of budget crisis, the Attorney General must focus its limited resources on keeping Arizonans physically and financially safe. To accomplish this goal, the Attorney General, must assess the organizational structure of the office and determine how to direct more resources to prosecuting the crimes that hurt Arizonans the most. This means making tough decisions about which cases the Office will pursue as well as looking for ways to increase the efficiency of the Office without diminishing the service it provides to Arizona families. That is why it is essential that our next Attorney General is a veteran prosecutor with the wisdom and discernment to make decisions in the best interest of the people of Arizona. As an Assistant Attorney General for 13 years and a state agency head for 4 more years, I experienced doing more with less and stretching limited resources to get the job done for Arizona citizens.
Who do you think is your biggest challenger and why?
Tom Horne, my opponent, is my biggest challenger. He is a career politician. I am a political outsider. I am running for the Office of Attorney General because I want to be Attorney General, not an “aspiring governor”.
What do you think sets you apart from your opponent(s)?
I have indicted, jailed and convicted criminals, my opponent has not.
I have 17 years of experience, working with law enforcement and dealing with the most crucial issues facing Arizonans, especially border crime and financial fraud. My opponent has not.
I have a track record of getting results on behalf of the people of Arizona, including 1) a global settlement of $217 million in the case against Arthur Andersen for facilitating the fraud by the Baptist Foundation of Arizona and 2) levying fines and fees totaling $5 million against Western Union for allowing cash to flow to human smugglers My opponent’s mismanagement of our public school system has kept Arizona at or near the bottom in the nation.
I have been winning battles on behalf of Arizona families and consumers. I have been endorsed by most of the Sheriffs in the state, including Yuma County Sheriff Ralph Ogden, Fraternal Order of Police, Arizona Correctional Peace Officers, the Fire Fighters of Arizona, and the Phoenix Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association. My opponent is a career politician who will use the Attorney General’s Office as a battering ram for his political ideology and personal ambition, like he has used the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
What would you do to achieve more transparency in government, and should government officials are in charge of managing those efforts?
First, the Attorney General, as the top law enforcement officer, should be more active in investigating public corruption and the misconduct of other public officials in city, county and state government agencies.
Second, consistent and fair enforcement of the Open Meeting Laws will also promote more transparency and accountability of public officials.
Third, the Attorney General represents most state agencies and advises them on how to interpret the law and what cases to pursue. As Attorney General, I will mentor and instruct Assistant Attorneys General to encourage and advise their client agencies to be more accountable and transparent by doing the following: 1) Always settle contested matters and regulatory disciplinary actions with a public settlement document; 2) Post all orders and disciplinary matters on the state agency’s website; 3) Maintain an open door policy to listen to all stakeholders so that agency decisions are well reasoned and not politically charged; 4) Advise state agencies to make decisions based upon what is in the best interest of the state – if that happens – the agency will always be open, transparent and accountable to Arizona citizens.
Public notices are regarded as one important way for the public to find out what is really happening in government. Newspapers currently not only print public notices but also operate a free, consolidated, online, searchable database. Some people advocate that public notices should be available only on government websites. Do you agree that the Legislature should change the current law to mandate that public notices be available only on government websites?
No. Public notices should be available through print media, newspapers and through the agencies’ publication efforts which should include their websites. State government has a duty to keep the public informed of its operations. Citizens should have every opportunity to review the actions of government officials and institutions as easily as possible. I would not support any efforts by the Legislature to limit Arizonans’ access to the information they have a right to see.
What do you think is the biggest challenge right now facing Yumans, and Arizonans?
Our economic crisis, border security and financial crimes are the biggest challenges facing Yumans and Arizonans because local and state law enforcement will continue to face the threat of more budget cuts, putting public safety in jeopardy.
What would you do, if elected, to help change that?
I already have a track record of working with law enforcement to stop the pipeline of money flowing to the organized human and drug smugglers and cartels. As Attorney General, I will increase our efforts to make sure that the border is closed to criminal activity. One of the ways I would achieve this is to work with county officials to get all counties designated as “High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas” so that federal funds are available to fight these crimes. I will beef up the prosecution of financial and mortgage fraud and create an “Elder Affairs Unit” in the Consumer Protection Section to aggressively prosecute those who prey on our senior citizens.
What is one of your strength? Weaknesses (something you’d like to improve upon)?
As a prosecutor and public servant, I have fearlessly taken on “Goliath” companies, with unlimited legal resources, if it is the right thing to do. I have been fortunate that the Attorney Generals and the Governors for whom I have worked have had my back when I decided to pursue such cases, because they trusted my judgment and knew I would be able to follow through. Also, I have a reputation for candor and straightforwardness.
WEAKNESS: I have a tendency to multi-task and take on substantial responsibility. I expect those who work with me to do the same.
What is one thing that you want voters to know?
While I have made Arizona my home for the past 24 years, I grew up in a small town, Sheridan, Wyoming, which is very similar to Yuma. My paternal grandparents emigrated from Italy and settled in Wyoming. My grandpa was a coal miner. My mother’s parents were wheat farmers in Southern Montana. My parents were small business owners, running an insurance agency from our home on Main Street. I am a first generation college graduate. From working in the family business, I learned three very important lessons: work hard, be honest and always give back to your community. I have carried these values into my career as a public lawyer and financial watchdog. Because of my rural Western roots, I value and respect law enforcement in the counties outside the metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson and look forward to working with them.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I have a genuine love of the Arizona Attorney General’s office, as I have spent the majority of my career there working on behalf of Arizonans. Protecting Arizona’s families and prosecuting the criminals who would harm our citizens is my passion and life’s work. Special interest groups have their lobbyist and lawyers, but the everyday working men and women of Arizona have the Attorney General as their lawyer and voice. It would be an honor to continue to serve Arizonans as their Attorney General