Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Guest opinion: Legislator’s races outpace elections

Residents of District 25 who visit my office often ask about the NASCAR racing pictures and memorabilia I have displayed on my walls and shelves.

When I am not voting on legislation in Phoenix or meeting with constituents in District 25, I am helping my son and grandson with the Alvarez family racecar.

Like many people who live in southern Arizona, racing is a favorite pastime that brings four generations of our family closer together. It also serves as an opportunity to relax after working hard as your state legislator.

Growing up in rural Arizona, I became interested in racing at an early age. I always enjoyed watching NASCAR on television.

The hobby became an official Alvarez affair when my son, Gary Lee Alvarez of Vail, started racing in NASCAR events. Now my 17-year-old grandson, Cody Lee Alvarez, races on modified dirt tracks.

My wife, Beverly, and I travel with our son and grandson to races in Eloy; Coolidge; Tucson; Phoenix; Peoria; Las Cruces, N.M.; and El Paso, Texas which are part of the Barnett Harley-Davidson Dirt Modified circuit. In addition, Beverly and I usually spend several days a year at Phoenix International Raceway enjoying the NASCAR events.

Beverly and I haul either the racecar or our travel trailer to the races. We also work as part of the pit crew. I change tires and work on the engine. Beverly, along with the other crewmembers, scrapes mud and keeps the car clean. Meanwhile family members, including my 2-year-old great grandson, cheer on Cody.

My grandson, who is a senior at Cienega High School in Vail, takes safety precautions by wearing all the necessary safety equipment. However, Beverly and I never stop worrying until he has finished his laps. The racecars put out power in excess of 600 horse power and the cars sometimes reach in excess of 80 mph during races.

Next time you attend a race, feel free to stop by the pit and say hello. I like to show constituents from my legislative district our family’s car and introduce them to the driver and other pit crewmembers.

In addition to race events, feel free to visit with Beverly and me when we attend various community events in District 25.

As someone who has a lot of experience raising cattle, I recently rode in a cattle drive in the Gila Bend Butterfield Stagecoach Days. I used to spend a lot of time at rodeos.

I truly enjoy attending community events in southern Arizona. Racing, which has become an important family event, is another way to keep in touch with constituents.

State Rep. Manny Alvarez, a Democrat from Elfrida, represents District 25. E-mail: malvarez@azleg.gov

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