Arizona Legislative District (LD) 17 includes parts of Chandler, Gilbert, and Sun Lakes. It is a purple district that is becoming bluer every day. You can find out more by reading about our demographics.

In 2018, Jennifer Pawlik (D) was the leading vote-getter among three State House Candidates. On the heels of this hard fought victory, we will continue to make strides in voter registration, PC outreach, and voter engagement.

Our Values.

We care about Education, Affordable Housing, Voter Turnout, and electing Democrats at all levels of government who represent our values. Read more about our activity in the community in our Newsletter.

Our Leadership.


Nancy Celaya, Chair of LD 17 Democrats

Nancy has been a lifelong Democrat. She has a Master’s in Social Work and spent her first years working with children and families at the Department of Economic Security.  This included 5 years as the Director for the Food Stamp and Welfare Programs in Maricopa County. In the mid-1980s, the USDA decided it was time to move on from food stamp coupons and released several grants to test Electronic Benefits (EBT). At that point, Nancy moved to the private sector to use her experience in bidding, installing and supporting the fledging state programs. She is now retired from JPMorgan Chase and spends her time with good friends, her family and of course, the Democrats.

Carol Maas, 1st Vice-Chair

Carol Maas is 1st Vice-Chair of LD 17 and Vice President of the Sun Lakes Democratic Club.

She is a Kansas State University graduate and moved to Arizona in 2006 from Los Angeles. Her German mother lived under Nazi rule and came to the US after marrying Carol’s father, a US Army sergeant serving as part of the occupation forces after the end of WWII. Carol’s mother instilled in her the importance of political leaders and the impact their decisions can have on their citizenry. Understanding the importance of who is elected to office drives Carol to be involved at the local level. Retiring last year from a career in marketing, communications and sales, she now has time to devote to the state, county and local party.

Nick Garcia, 2nd Vice Chair

Nick Garcia is a Precinct Committeeperson in the Appleby Precinct and the former Young Democrats Representative for LD 17.

Deborah Matayabas, Secretary

Deborah Matayabas recently retired from her role as an Adjunct Professor of English at Chandler Gilbert Community College and is enjoying a new professional challenge as an Educational Director for Varsity Tutors in Tempe.  She studied academic writing and education at the University of Florida in Gainesville and became an Arizona Master Teacher in 2005. Deborah resides in Gilbert with her husband of over 35 years, their two loving sons, two precious dogs, and one mischievous cat. 

Ajlan “AJ” Kurdoglu, Treasurer

Ajlan “AJ” Kurdoglu moved to Arizona many years ago to attend Thunderbird, Graduate School of International Management, and loved it so much he decided to stay. AJ built his business in the East Valley and, as a first-generation American, has an immense love for our country and our state; he cherishes the freedoms, opportunities, and quality of life our great country and Arizona offers. AJ believes every one of us should have access to a great education, to a great health care system, and to thriving communities.

Sheldon Motley, At-Large Member

Sheldon Motley grew up in Tucson and moved to Chandler after graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in computer engineering. Sheldon lives in Chandler with his wife Eshé. They are both active volunteers and Precinct Committeepersons in the Emmett Precinct.

Weldon & Mary Knape, Co-Presidents, Sun Lakes Democratic Club

Mary and Weldon are lifelong Democrats. Mary is an accomplished award winning professional artist having studied at the University of Texas and with several renowned artists. She specialized in portraiture primarily in pastels.

Weldon studied electrical engineering at the University of Texas. He has held positions in engineering, sales, marketing and management. His most recent position was CEO of a satellite communications company.

They met on a blind date at UT and have been married 50 years. They have two children and two grandchildren.

Sun Lakes Democratic Club.

Monroe Copeland, Sergeant at Arms

Monroe Copeland is a Precinct Commiteeperson in the Fox Crossing Precinct. He is an active volunteer with Legislative District 17.

Young Democrats Representative (Vacant)

The Young Democrats help support campaigns across the state, by engaging young voters. The Young Democrats have chapters throughout the state, and active representatives in many districts. Learn More.

Follow Young Dems on Social Media

Our Grass Roots Activists.

Our Precinct Committeepersons (PCs) are the most grassroots-level building block of our district. They are the driving force behind registering voters, getting out the word on candidates, and helping Democrats understand the party’s structure, process, and platform. They are the people who go out, walk neighborhoods, and connect with and activate progressive Arizonans, talking to Independent, unaffiliated, and Democratic voters alike. Elections are won or lost in precincts and PCs are vital to ensure strong Democratic support for Democratic candidates and issues.

PCs are elected during the primary election and serve a two-year term. PCs can also be appointed by their LD chair. Any registered Democrat is eligible to be a PC in the precinct where they live. PCs help make our committees successful and are eligible to be elected or appointed to the state committee, the governing body of the Arizona Democratic Party. See our LD 17 PCs.

Standing committees

  • Program
  • Finance
  • Communications
  • PC Recruitment & Support
  • Social