2012 Chandler Election Candidate Profile For Nora Ellen
When Nora Ellen decided to run for Chandler City Council, she sent her son a text message. The news surprised him so much, he said, that he nearly crashed into the person next to him.
“She is not a politician,” said her son, J.D. Mesnard, a representative in the Arizona Legislature. “People might say that about me, but she is fully authentic. She does not have the sound bites down. She is exactly what she appears to be: dedicated, hardworking and fully devoted to making Chandler a better city.”
For years, Ellen, 56, has stayed involved in Chandler somewhat under the radar, serving on various committees and boards with the Chandler Chamber of Commerce and other business groups. She was asked to be on the Chandler Mayor’s 4-Corner Retail Committee, which looked for recommendations to help the city’s struggling retail centers. She also was appointed a commissioner of the seven-person Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Committee.
Those tasks, combined with her full-time job as a realtor, mean Ellen sees firsthand the problems and solutions Chandler faces on a neighborhood level, she said.
“I’m in the neighborhoods every day and I see what happens when there are abandoned homes and how that affects our neighborhoods,” Ellen said. “I know the value of fighting for property rights and the importance of home ownership and how that affects our economy.”
Ellen has brushed aside criticism that she is running because of her connection to Mesnard. In fact, Mesnard said, the two often laugh about the turns their lives have taken, because neither had thought they would run for political office.
“I think that just shows how our family loves to serve our community,” Ellen said. “When you get attacked like that, I think it’s a good sign. No one would attack you if you were not a valid candidate or a threat.”
For a newcomer, Ellen has garnered strong support from Chandler business and city leaders, including Councilman Kevin Hartke and Vice Mayor Jeff Weninger, who not only endorsed her but agreed to co-chair her campaign.
“I have respect for all the people running, but I think Nora could definitely take it to the next level,” said Weninger, who described Ellen as a “problem solver.” “She would be the perfect fit.”
Among seven council candidates, Ellen is the only female. While she is not shy about her desire to bring more diversity to the council, she said she hopes that her dedication to the city would come across regardless of the audience.
“I want to reach the men and women of Chandler, not just the women,” Ellen said. “If I could stand on the roof and (talk into) a loudspeaker, I would. I want to say, ‘Hey, hey! I love our city!’ And I want so much to do everything I can to make our city prosper.”
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Years lived in Chandler: More than 10; 22 in Arizona.
Family: Adult son, daughter and son-in-law.