Meet the Voter Choice Arizona Executive Team!

Betsy Boggia

Executive Team
Outreach
Marketing & Social Media
Betsy relocated to Tucson in 2021 where she is the Southern Arizona Regional Director for Arizonans for Fair Elections and a board member of the League of Women Voters, Tucson. In Massachusetts she co-founded the Million Mom March for Gun Control chapter, worked in the MA state legislature, and advocated for children, women, peace and equity. Betsy has a BA in History and certifications in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and the Renew U.S. Campaign Manager Training.
Why RCV?
I realized a long time ago that in order to see improvements on issues that are important to so many of us like the environment, gun control, equity, and more, we have to change the electoral and political systems that uphold the status quo. I believe RCV is a positive solution that will lead to a more diverse pool of candidates, provide for greater accountability, and reduce negative rhetoric. I am excited to be a part of this effort here in Arizona.

Richard Cook

Executive Team
Founding Member
Treasurer
Onboarding
Richard has been an Arizona resident since 1996, after serving in the US Navy as a submarine officer. He retired in 2018 from a work life in Business Analysis and IT Program Management, and in addition to Voter Choice AZ also volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate working with foster kids. Richard enjoys travel, cycling and other outdoor activities, and performs occasionally with musical groups.
Why RCV?
Too many examples to list of elected officials not doing what most voters want, which is the essence of democracy. RCV will ensure the person winning an election is supported by the majority, and therefore more likely to value their best interests.

Mike Drum

Technology
Mike grew up in Tucson and works for the Planetary Science Institute as a Software Developer for the NASA Planetary Data System. He serves as the Technology Team lead for Voter Choice Arizona, where he assists the initiative to adopt Ranked Choice Voting. He enjoys Twitter a little too much, eccentric podcasts, and his greyhound Binx. Occasionally he’ll be seen outside biking or hiking.
Why RCV?
I believe that the best way to tackle the government stasis, and show people that their votes can actually make a difference, is to adopt Ranked Choice Voting. If we can improve the system that we use to elect people, we can improve the people we elect, and get things back on track.

Kazz Fernandes

Executive Team
Fundraising
Kazz is a National Organizer on the issue of Ranked Choice Voting, with our national partner, Rank the Vote. He previously worked on Voter registration and GOTV campaigns as a Regional Organizing Director in Arizona during the 2020 election, with a focus on mobilizing voters around youth and climate issues. Before transitioning to professional organizing, Kazz managed his energy auditing and consulting business, and worked as an industrial sales engineer for a multinational corporation. In his free time, Kazz hikes, camps, climbs rock & ice, gardens and makes fermented hot sauce.
Why RCV?
I’ve been in favor of RCV since I was in high school. Back then, I thought the adults were going to figure things out and implement such an important reform sooner, rather than later. Over a decade later, I was making thousands of calls to encourage people to vote and get them registered to vote. The level of voter apathy and the number of folks that didn’t want to have to vote AGAINST a candidate or party for yet another election reminded me that we’ll continue to feel alienated by our political system until we can improve our elections to have a system that actually represents the people voting and to a system where everyone feels like they can vote their conscience and vote FOR their issues and candidates.

Kathy Knecht

Executive Team
Endorsements
Speakers
Kathy is a community leader in the West Valley and a consultant with Knecht for Success, LLC. Kathy served three terms on her local school board and ran two races for the Arizona State Legislature. She was the first Executive Director of Leadership West, Inc. and recently launched the startup nonprofit for The Vista Center for the Arts. Very committed to public education, arts and the community, Kathy has served on numerous non-profit boards of directors and volunteers regularly for groups trying to make a positive difference.
Why RCV?
RCV is our best hope for bringing civility back to campaigning and effectiveness back to government.

Sean Krieg

Executive Team
Sean is originally from Louisiana, where he was involved with neighborhood revitalization, criminal justice reform, and carbon pricing. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, he helped launch 1Day Sooner’s legislative advocacy team—in addition to volunteering to be intentionally infected with the corona virus to help accelerate vaccine development. Sean is a 2023 J.D. candidate at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, and when he’s not studying or working on bringing ranked choice voting to Arizona, you can find him outside: riding his motorbike, hiking, or practicing nature photography.
Why RCV?
I support RCV because I would finally like to be able to vote for a candidate, as opposed to against their opponent.

Jon Ralston

Social Media
Outreach
Speakers
Jon was born and raised in Southern California. He attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA obtaining a Bachelor’s of Arts in Sports Medicine. Jon then moved to Tucson in 2000 and has lived in the Old Pueblo to this day. He worked for several years in education at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind, then worked for 16 years as a Licensed Massage Therapist, before returning to school to become an Acupuncturist. Jon has served on and been President of several Homeowner’s Associations. Jon is a member of the Arizona Green Party as well as the Pima County Green Party.
Why RCV?
Jon wants a multi-party democracy that can bring diverse people with diverse ideas to the table to discuss the problems that face our communities, state, country, and world. Our current plurality voting system effectively prevents this from happening because it is structurally coercive and limits voters choices as well as incentivizing a “race to the bottom” in terms of behavior and discourse. Ranked Choice Voting is one step in the process of citizen’s reasserting their control over their democracy and their lives.

Chris Rudkowski

Local Adoption
Chris is originally from Massachusetts, moved to North Carolina, received a Bachelors in Business Management and Masters in Public Administration from East Carolina University. He works in local government and the U.S. Army and looks to contribute to public service both professionally and in his free time. He enjoys everything outdoors, but especially biking and paddleboarding.
Why RCV?
Chris believes in the power of momentum, and that given the state of American politics, momentum from the ground up is what’s needed to create a more democratic government. RCV is one large reform to the way we conduct elections, one that can and will spread across the country with enough momentum. The more candidates we elect through RCV the more truly representative our representative democracy will be. Government works best when the people who truly represent our views and concerns are elected into office.

Blake Sacha

Executive Team
Endorsements
Blake retired in 2013 after 28 years with Intel Corporation. He holds a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a master of education from Central Michigan University. He has been an active member of the Gilbert community for many years, where he served as a member of the Gilbert Public Schools board, president of the Gilbert Education Foundation and co-chair of Unite for Education AZ. He ran for the Arizona legislature in 2018. Blake and his wife Cindy have two grown children and have been Gilbert residents for more than 30 years. He enjoys running, gardening, and spending time with his family.
Why RCV?
Blake believes that good people run for office and get corrupted by a bad system. The only way to ensure that our government works for everyone is to improve the system. Ranked Choice Voting is a small change that will have a powerful impact by ensuring that the people of Arizona have more choice and more voice in our elections.

Topher Speth

Technology
I am a product manager at Carvana, specializing in API platforms. I also have a professional history in the logistics industry, and have been involved with valley startups to get their product teams off the ground. I have volunteered with the AZ Libertarian Party in the past, helping gain ballot access for county elections. I am the father of a toddler that takes a lot of my free time in the evenings, but I like to help where I can!
Why RCV?
Ranked Choice voting is important to me because it is the best way I know to improve the quality of candidates and electoral outcomes available to us. I would like to encourage those running for political office to campaign on solving real needs, not on being less bad than their opponent.

David Tinow

Executive Team
Founding Member
David has lived in Tempe since 1997, where he worked for Consulting Engineering firms, applying green building principles to design HVAC, plumbing and fire sprinkler systems, before moving on to multinational semiconductor fabrication plant design. After living in five countries, he became fluent regarding the study of our existing macroeconomic system, known as modern monetary theory (MMT,) which vastly differs from the fallacious predominant understanding. David is a former co-lead of the water resources management team at Arizona Sustainability Alliance, and is Smartscape certified by the University of Arizona to design xeriscapes (desert landscapes.) As a Represent.Us AZ state chapter organizer from 2017, then chapter leader 2020-22, he became deeply passionate about enacting election reforms to stop political bribery, to end secret money & to fix our broken elections.
Why RCV?
Our representative government are not our peers. The average American is 38 and diverse, with a net worth of $121K, while the average Senator is a 63-year-old white male with a net worth of $3.2 million. These are representatives of corporations, not of Americans, and this is maintained by design. The existing “first past the post” election system has several major flaws that prevent voters from selecting the candidate whose platform best represents them. Instead, they are forced to select the candidate most likely to beat the opposition. In a contest between three dominant candidates, the most extreme one wins with fewer supporters, due to the spoiler effect. (The two candidates with similar platforms will vote-split.) This results in general elections that force Americans to select the lesser of two evils, between duopoly candidates. In elections having three or more candidates, Ranked Choice Voting addresses these flaws. As a result, independent and third-party candidates become viable, giving the people more choice. Voters can focus on what is important to them in a candidate, instead of distressing over how the election might play out.

Eric Varela

Executive Team
Messaging
Marketing
Social Media
Eric is a Tucson native who has previously worked for TUSD teaching FLES to elementary school students, owned a local commercial landscape company, and currently works as a marketing manager in the financial technology vertical. He’s studied at Pima Community College, Northern Arizona University, and the Edinburgh College of Art. He is currently attending the University of Arizona pursuing a degree in Organizational Management. Eric’s experience as an educator and a business owner in Arizona has given him a first-hand perspective into the downstream effects of our current electoral system; he is passionate about improving the way we choose our elected officials as a result.
Why RCV?
I believe in ranked choice voting as a process and in how it will foster positive outcomes for our state. Our current system has caused deep division, vitriolic rhetoric, and extreme distrust in our elected officials and with one another. After countless arguments with friends, coworkers, and perfect strangers both in-person and online, I realized that partisan discourse did not provide the solutions I was looking for. When the concept of RCV was introduced to me it was clear to me that it embodied inclusion, action, and more choice for everyone involved. I made the decision to focus my talents on making this a reality for Arizona, found VCAZ and I haven’t looked back.

Jeff Wattier

Policy and Research
Jeff is a native of Omaha, Nebraska and grew up in the area around Omaha and Lincoln. In 2008, he graduated from the University of Nebraska - Omaha with a BS in Political Science and a BA in International Studies. In 2013 he earned an MS in Political Science. Shortly after finishing graduate school, he got married and then moved to Chandler, Arizona where he has lived since late 2013. Jeff owns two energetic dogs, who are no longer puppies but think they still are. Jeff works at State Farm Insurance in Tempe and supports positive voting/political reform.
Why RCV?
RCV is an important aspect of reforming a political system which is too often controlled by the extreme wings of both major parties, Republican and Democrat. The current system does not lead to elected officials that represent everyone, only those who elected them. The partisan nature of the primaries, where incumbents are rarely voted out, leaves few good choices in the general election. Candidates are forced by the current system to try to appeal only to the base of the party. Implementing RCV will help push politicians back towards appealing to all voters instead of just the most extreme members of their own party.