Las Vegas, Nevada , United States
|| September 29, 1955
Mar 13, 2010 03:55pm
|Info||Don Chairez is a common man of uncommon courage who has a genuine way of identifying with the struggles of others because of his own modest beginnings. He was born on September 29, 1955, in Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. His father was a Korean War veteran who rose to the rank of Master Sergeant, and his mother was an immigrant from Chihuahua, Mexico. He spent his childhood on army bases throughout the United States and the Panama Canal Zone. |
Despite the fact that neither of Don’s parents graduated from high school, they instilled in their four children the value of education. When Don was a teenager, his father died of cancer. But against those odds, Don Chairez went on to graduate summa cum laude from high school in Sacramento, California, and magna cum laude from Loma Linda University. He earned a scholarship to attend the University of Southern California School of Law, graduating in 1980.
On February 12, 1984, Don married Maria Vasquez, an educator with the California Department of Education. Today, Dr. Maria Chairez works for the Clark County School District, where she is the Principal at Quannah McCall Elementary School. Don and Maria live in Henderson, Nevada with Don’s widowed mother, Cleo. Don & Maria have two daughters, Monica, age 22, who is a Journalist student at UNLV; and Marina, age 17 who is a student at Green Valley High School.
Serving the Public
In 1990, Don accepted a position as a Deputy District Attorney in Nevada’s Clark County. He spent the next three and a half years prosecuting murderers, rapists, drug dealers and other accused criminals. In 1994, Gov. Bob Miller appointed Don a District Court Judge. When his term expired, Don faced his first political campaign, triumphing over a respected local attorney, who was the nephew of Don’s predecessor and a member of a prominent Nevada family. Don received 102,543 votes, or 57 percent of all votes cast, winning election to the judgeship on his own.
In 1995, Judge Chairez stopped the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency from seizing the property of a small business owner simply to turn it over to a large, politically connected casino, ruling this land grab was an abuse of the city’s powers of eminent domain. The Las Vegas Review-Journal hailed Judge Chairez as the “Hero of Private Property” for this courageous ruling. Other judges soon followed Don’s lead in protecting private property and preventing the City of Las Vegas from abusing its authority.
Judge Chairez also presided over a number of very important criminal prosecutions. His refusal to allow criminals to go free on minor technicalities, and his willingness to make himself available to law enforcement 24 hours a day, whenever a search warrant was requested, earned Judge Chairez the honor of “Judge of the Year” in 1996 from the Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs.
On May 18, 1998, Judge Chairez made the difficult decision to resign his judgeship in order to run for the United States House of Representatives. Although outspent by a better than two-to-one margin, Don, a Republican, lost by just three points to Democrat Shelley Berkley in a heavily Democratic district.
A Job That’s Never Finished
In his 27 years as a lawyer and a judge, Don Chairez has handled more than 90 jury trials and has presided over 25 murder trials. Along the way, he’s earned the respect of Nevadans of all backgrounds. He’s been praised by his peers, honored by law enforcement agencies, and elected to public office by the voters of our state.
But Don Chairez believes that making Nevada better and stronger is a job that’s never finished. That’s why he’s continuing his fight on behalf of Nevadans in his run for Clark County District Attorney.
Nevadans deserve not only someone who has a vast and diverse legal background, but also someone with the courage and ability to stand up for their rights. Leadership is about trust. He can be trusted to keep Nevadans safe and defend our freedoms.
Most important, Don can be trusted to fight against the Federal Government or abusive local governments when they are not giving the little guy a fair shake. Don Chairez can be trusted to fight for you.