Exercising Your Rights Shouldn’t Produce Threats From Elected Officials

By Luke Jones

Below is what I received from Pete Rios’ office today, 4/4/18, in reply to my signing of the petition merely asking that Mr. Rios and Mr. House recuse themselves from the hearings for Johnson Utilities due to the well-documented campaign contributions from Johnson Utilities. What makes his email even more ridiculous is that they supposedly cc:d the Pinal County Attorney as if I had conducted an illegal or unconstitutional act. As a law-abiding, registered voter in the County of Pinal, State of Arizona, I merely exercised my right to sign a petition; and hopefully without retaliation from a rogue politician who seemingly has no regard for his constituents. I find it reprehensible that a representative of the government by the people, for the people would reply in such an accusatory tone.

I believe that asking an official presiding in a judicial or authoritative position to recuse themselves does not in any way constitute “inflammatory, malicious defamation of character allegations”. Hopefully the Pinal County Attorney can define what the definition of recusal actually means to Mr. Rios. Recusal is not an admission of guilt; only that it stands to reason that a politician might possibly be in the back pockets of a wealthy donor. Imagine that conflict of public interest? One can only gather by the offensive reply from Mr. Rios’ office is that no politician in their right mind would come within ten miles of George Johnson and his “organizations” with the heavy FBI involvement in their ongoing legal matters against the good people of Pinal County, Arizona.

Luke C. Jones, a concerned citizen of Pinal County

Lukas received this email on April 4: 


Dear Form Letter Signer: 

I read your computer-generated form letter with much interest. However most people that are sincerely concerned about an issue in their community will typically contact their elected official(s) by a personal email, phone call or letter. 

Secondly, I would challenge you or the author of this form letter to find anything in my voting record as Supervisor for District 1 (over the last nine years) that directly benefited Johnson Utilities. You’re missing the basic, logical research that is done before launching accusations & making demands. 

If after conducting your research you find any reason to support your inflammatory, malicious defamation of character allegations, I would encourage you to present your evidence to the County Attorney’s Office. In the meantime you all have a glorious day. 

Respectfully Yours, 

Pete Rios, Pinal County Supervisor Dist. 1 

cc Pinal County Attorney 


Luke isn’t the first to receive this email, but he is the first to write to us about it. We felt that it is important that residents aren’t alone when it comes to this. Residents shouldn’t feel threatened when it comes to fighting for basic services.