Gary Zak says opponent Holly Irwin should have been at event, Irwin responds

La Paz County District 3 Supervisor candidate Gary “Zak” Zakrajsek thinks his opponent, incumbent Holly Irwin, should have been at last week’s Meet the Candidates event in Parker to debate him. Irwin says she was in Wenden, AZ at the time representing the County on an issue of vital importance – the water table – so she sent her daughter Berlynn to represent her on stage in Parker.

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The Meet the Candidates event was held on Wednesday, October 5th at 6:15pm (and was covered HERE live – scroll to 7:32pm for District 3). The Arizona Department of Water Resources meeting in Wenden began at 4pm and was over at 6pm, according to Zak, who says he was at the same meeting and left at 4:30pm to get to Parker.

“Since we did not start making our speeches until 7:30pm she would have had enough time to make it to Parker as it is only an hour away,” he wrote on his campaign page on Facebook. “I am sure she could’ve left the meeting and questions would have been answered without her being there,” he said, saying that other County representatives were at the same meeting and could have answered questions for her.

Irwin sent a response to Parker Live today, saying that she believes the ADWR meeting was of prime importance, and adding that she wanted to be there afterwards to listen to the thoughts and concerns of taxpayers in the County.

“A year ago I brought attention to our water issues not only to my District but to our entire County,” Irwin said. “Arizona Department of Water Resources responded by making La Paz County the First priority planning area for the Governor’s Water Initiative for Strategic Planning when our County was not being considered at all.”

Irwin said she had seen Zak’s criticisms of her nonattendance at Meet the Candidates, but did not want to respond with negative remarks about him.

In her absence last Wednesday, with one daughter already on stage opposite Zak, Irwin’s second daughter Sherrie approached the microphone to reprimand Zak for his platform, saying it was “just a slam against my parents”.

Zak replied, “I’m sorry that I had to say these things about your parents but I’ve had to work with them and I’m frustrated.”

The full statements of both District 3 candidates on this issue are included below.

ZAK:

“I want to let everyone know I was at the same meeting in Wenden as was Ms. Irwin. I left the meeting at 4:30pm to make it to Parker to set up for the Meet the Candidates as I did not have anyone there ahead of time to set up like Ms. Irwin did. The meeting in Wenden started at 4pm and was over at 6pm. Since we did not start making our speeches until 7:30 she would have had enough time to make it to Parker as it is only an hour away. I am sure she could’ve left the meeting and questions would have been answered without her being there since representing County at the meeting was District 2 Supervisor King Clapperton, County Administrator Dan Field, Nora Yackley from Community Development and our State Representative Sonny Borrelli were all there to help answer questions from our residents. So with all these people there to answer questions and well enough time for Ms. Irwin to get to the Meet the Candidates night in Parker, you wonder why she left her daughters there alone to have them take on the responsibility to make a speech and campaign for her. Hmmm…”

IRWIN:

“I would like to thank both of my daughters, Berlynn and Sherrie Irwin, for representing me at the Meet the Candidates held in Parker last Wednesday. I would also like to thank all of those who have called, emailed and texted me on what a wonderful job they both did.

A year ago I brought attention to our water issues not only to my District but to our entire County. Arizona Department of Water Resources responded by making La Paz County the First priority planning area for the Governor’s Water Initiative for Strategic Planning when our County was not being considered at all.

My responsibility and priority first and and foremost is to not only represent my constituency but the taxpayers of the entire County as this issue is critical to our future. I refuse to deviate from that when a job as a County Supervisor is to represent my District along with State and Legislative Representatives on tough issues such as this one.

Seven and a half years ago, the taxpayers entrusted me with the very important job of representing them as their County Supervisor for District 3. It was my responsibility to them to not only attend, but be available after the meeting Wednesday to hear their thoughts and concerns; that’s what being a Supervisor is all about.

I have seen the negative comments being put out by my opponent. I take pride in the fact that I have not posted one negative remark about any of the opponents I have faced, and I’m not about to start now.

I believe the people of La Paz deserve to be represented in a professional manner. I will continue to work with passion and dedication not only for the taxpayers of District 3 but for the entire County.

Thank you for your continued support.”

18 comments

  1. La Paz County District 3 resident

    Irwin is a staunch supporter of Dan Fields. The Fields need to go, they are hurting the county. Irwin also needs to go. Even if you win Holly, Duce is going to win, as is D.L. Wilson, Dan Fields is OUT!

  2. It would be nice if candidates tried to be respectful of each other. To be honest Mr. Zak’s comments sickened me even more because Ms. Irwin’s daughters had to listen to them. He knew she wasn’t there to respond and just went off on her. No class. I walked out before he finished. If I had been an undecided voter in the District 3 election, his behavior would have turned me toward Ms. Irwin automatically. Kudos to the Irwin girls for their poise and class. That says a lot about their mother, doesn’t it?

  3. Lorrie,
    Problem is, that is how bad things are currently. You do not see mud being thrown towards all candidates, certain ones are doing wrong, not all of them. Good luck everyone, some will need it.

  4. Lorrie- What specifically did Zak say that you felt was disrespectful for a political candidate running for office against an incumbent?

  5. I have to agree, Dan Fields needs to go. Funny how Sheriff Lowery never got the support he needed from the board members when he was in office. But as soon as Drum (who was on the board when Lowery was sheriff) became the Sheriff the board began kissing butt. Maybe it wasn’t a great idea for Zack to say what he said the way he said it. But he did speak the truth. I remember when that opening for county ranger was invented and yep it was invented for one person. It’s high time for a new county administrator. We all wanted new board members four years ago as the last board put our county in big debt. I think it’s time for a couple new members to be brought in. D.L. for sure has far more experience in dealing with millions of dollars that will effect the lives of hundreds of people. D.L., Duce, Zack would be the better choice for La Paz County for the next four years.

  6. Thank You for your comment. If I was pleased with Ms. Irwin’s performance over the past 7+ years I would just be voting for her and would have not resigned my job with the County as I had to do to run against her. The speech I gave at the Meet the CANDIDATES Night in Parker was prepared a couple of days before the event. I did not know till I got to the event in Parker at 5:30 that evening that Ms. Irwin would not be attending the event and chose to stay at the meeting I had attended earlier. I do have to say I felt awkward that her children filled in for her, gave a speech and asked me questions. I certainly was not prepared for that. Maybe a better choice to have represented Ms. Irwin on stage and could have taken questions would have been her husband Larry. The people who traveled from the Salome/Wenden area to ask Ms. Irwin and I questions were disappointed she was not in attendance. Again, Thank You to all of you who have reached out to me and giving me your support. For me the whole matter just makes me go Hmmm!

    Gary “ZAK” Zakrajsek

    P.S. Please Vote, This election is about YOU and the Future of La Paz County!

  7. If Ms. Irwin really wanted to represent her constituents she should have been at the event to answer for herself and the voters. Her daughter was quite rude in using the question period to attack and demand things form the speaker. My question was where was the useless moderator when Irwin went on her rant? The rules were stated before hand. Changing the format the morning of the event was an insult to all candidates and the voters who attended. Next year we need to have a neutral organization host the event.

  8. John,
    There is no reason to be mean spirited. Regardless whether a person is running for office or not. Mr. Zak’s explanation, however does make sense and I thank him for taking the time to answer. The whole spirit of the current elections is mean spirited and it makes me dreadfully sad to see what people have resorted to to get their points across. And we wonder why there is bullying in our schools. What a great example we are for kids!

  9. I agree Mrs Irwin had plenty of time to leave the water meeting and leave her business card with her email address for those who had questions which also has her business number that those who don’t email could of called her with questions. If people that are filling in for candidates can’t understand they may hear things about the candidate they may not like or want to hear or want the public to hear, that’s no reason to snap back with attitude. I feel bad that voters had traveled from Wenden and Salome to be able to attend and ask questions that no one was able to answer.

  10. Anna Camacho

    I have to agree with Gary Zak on this one.

    I have worked for the County for almost 11 years.
    What many of you don’t realize is that both Gary I have a different opinion about the county because, we have or still work for the county.
    On many occasions throughout my years with the county I have been very disappointed by some of the decisions that have been made, by some of our elected officials and department heads.

    Like Gary, I too have witnessed the mastered behavior of bullying and intimidation that goes on within the county walls. It is no surprise to me why some county employees are still very afraid to speak out for fear of getting a write up or even losing their job. This behavior is a very well known practice, just ask someone who works for the county. (on the down low.)
    On more than one occasion throughout my years with the county, I have witnessed or have personally experienced this horrible behavior.
    I clearly understand the overwheming frastration that is carried by some of our past and current county employees.
    I feel obligated as a citizen of La Paz County, as a concerned taxpayer, as a mother and as a public servant to make you aware of what happens behind closed doors.

    A good friend of mine once told me, “Anna, you have to stand for something, if you don’t, you will stand for anythimg.”
    I stand for ALL the citizens of La Paz County.
    Please stand with me, on November 8th and vote for change.
    Make your vote count!
    I challenge my Le Pera Rebels, my Parker High Alumni and my friends from all over the county, to join me in making La Paz County financially healthy again!
    We need the experience Now!
    For all the folks who have continued to ask me,
    Who are you supporting for Supervisors?
    Here it is….

    County Supervisors
    #1 DL Wilson
    #2 Duce Minor
    #3 Gary Zak
    The supervisor position carries the financial stability of OUR county.

    Do your research, we as a county are not very healthy now.

    I trust these three to make it happen.

    My intention is not to hurt anyone, I just call it like I see it.

  11. Gary Zac and Anna don’t forget Wed night 6pm meeting with LPCDA which is every 3rd Wed of the month.

  12. Holly Irwin’s listed accomplishments are superflous in several cases. It was La Paz County’s turn to apply for the $170,000 she takes credit for $14,000 was for the McMullen Valley Fire District for a command vehicle. Despite a written agreement signed by both parties, the money disappeared. No one at County wants to tell how, why, or where it went. The $100,000 secured, supposedly, for rain and flow gages, leaves a question. Where are the gages? No one seems to know. I participated in a meeting to help place the gages, if funding was secured. No expert I consulted knows if the money was secured or where the gages might be. Tributary B funding was approved. Many experts consider it a band aid approach and would flood parts of Wenden more efficiently. The Centennial Wash project has been a disaster from the beginning. Another set of funding was sought for cleaning the wash, which would have flooded the town more efficiently from another direction, in the opinion of experts consulted. Holly cites Corps of Engineers intransigence for no progress. Yet, Buckeye could get Corps help to clean 18 miles of salt cedar in the Gila River. What did they do that Holly could not find a way to do? There are plenty more questions about here accomplishments, but you get the point.

  13. Carolyn Glenn

    I’m sorry but I agree with Zac. How could her daughters answer questions from those attending. The water issue has been on going in this County as long as I can remember. With Sonny Borrelli in attendance, the matter was well taken care of. He is the most capable of all to handle this situation. As far as how the citizens feel about it, we’ll there have been previous meetings addressing this issue recently where they let you know their comments. I feel the meet the candidates is an important time for people to ask what you are going to do for this County to bring it back together. Guess matters of importance differ.

  14. I also agree with Zak!! Larry Irwin would have definitely been the best person to represent his wife since he loves being involved in county politics!! Unfortunately the world of politics has no borders on how nasty it can get and Holly is well aware of that so for her to send her daughter to represent her was totally wrong.. This county needs to conduct a professional search for a new COUNTY MANAGER that will not play politics and do what’s best for the county and not just his family and friends.

  15. Anna Camacho, Thank you may God bless yo9u fro standing up and speaking the truth.

  16. David Spurlock

    The Irwin’s need to go. Both of them. Along with the Fields.

  17. The Irwins are a joke. They take advantage of their positions. I recall Holly driving her girls to school in county car, I always thought that was a No No but from what I’ve seen it doesn’t matter to them. Rules don’t apply to them I guess. I’ve learned that RULES don’t apply to everyone…right Lorrie.

  18. John Taggy

    No, Holly can stay away if she wants.

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