By Cecilia Chan
GSN Managing Editor

A Gilbert man is one of 11 candidates vying for a seat on the Arizona Court of Appeals.

State Assistant Attorney General Rusty Crandell, 37, is hoping to replace Judge James Beene, who was appointed to the state Supreme Court in April. Beene also is a Gilbert resident.

The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will review and pick at the June 25 public meeting the applicants to be interviewed.

The chosen applicants will be interviewed on July 17 and at least three nominees will be forwarded to Gov. Doug Ducey for appointment to the court’s Division One, which hears cases from Apache, Coconino, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Yavapai and Yuma counties.

Residents can comment on the candidates at the meeting or forward their comments to the commission.

Crandell, a Republican, graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from Arizona State University and a law degree from ASU’s  Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. He graduated the first in his class at law school.

Coming from a law firm, he’s been with the state Attorney General’s Office since January 2016, currently with the its Federalism Unit where he has participated in multi-state litigation against the U.S. government for federal overreach.

In his application, Crandell said he has defended state laws and practices against challenges brought under federal law.

Notably, he oversaw Arizona’s efforts in a 21-state coalition that obtained a nationwide injunction against a labor rule that more than doubled the minimum-salary level for employees to be exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

He also defended Proposition 300, which allows only those in the country legally to receive state-funded services and benefits.

He successfully argued in the Arizona Court of Appeals and the Arizona Supreme Court against state tuition for students covered under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA. The program provides temporary protection for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before the age of 16.

Crandell is a fifth generation Arizonan on both sides of his family, growing up in the northeastern Arizona community of Heber. He is the oldest of nine children.

He worked in his family’s forest business until he moved to the Valley to attend ASU in August 2001. He still bears a scar on his left kneecap from his first attempt with a chainsaw that he saved all summer to buy at age 10.

He served eight years in the bishopric of two congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tempe and is an Eagle Scout. Some of his volunteer work, include helping at the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.

Crandell attributes hard work and perseverance for his successes in life.

“It was through perseverance that my wife and I pressed on after two failed adoptions to finally welcome our second daughter into our home through a safe-haven adoption,” Crandell wrote. “And these values have been essential as parents of five small children — three of which are only 14 months apart.”

His children are 10 and younger and include 3-year-old twins.

“I enjoy spending time outdoors with my kids, cooking breakfast for my family, and movie nights with popcorn,” said Crandell, who’s an avid runner and an aspiring backyard farmer.

The other applicants for the job include Cynthia J. Bailey,  Michael S. Catlett, Christopher A. Coury,  David B. Gass, Andrew M. Jacobs, Daniel J. Kiley, Joseph P. Mikitish, Jay M. Polk,  Kristina B. Reeves and  Joshua D. Rogers.