Richard Elías, a Democrat, has represented District Five on the Pima County Board of Supervisors since February 2002. He works for and is a vocal advocate for the Sonoran Desert, for affordable housing, for eliminating health-care disparities, for nurturing the development of our youth, for quality education.

Richard and Emily Elías.

Richard is married to Emily Velde Elías and they have a daughter, Luz

A Lifelong Commitment to Public Service

Richard entered public office after a lengthy career in the government and non-profit development of affordable housing. He earned a degree in History, with a minor in Mexican-American Studies, from the University of Arizona.

A fifth-generation Tucsonan, Richard is the son of a longtime local union printer, and was a union shop steward with Retail Clerk’s Union Local 727 (now United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99) when he worked in the grocery industry before completing college.

Fighting for a Stronger Pima County

Richard works to protect our precious water supplies and the shrinking wildlife habitat of our desert region; he works to diversify and improve our housing stock while repairing and reinvesting in our aging urban infrastructure; he works to make Pima County more hospitable and prosperous, a better place for people to work and play; he seeks to bring everyone together in a spirit of community cooperation to enhance our quality of life.

Emily, Richard, and Luz Elías in 2016.

Emily, Richard, and Luz Elías in 2016


Richard has numerous honors in recent years, including the Public Service Award of the University of Arizona Alumni Association; Arizona Minority Bar Association Community Service Award; Job Path’s Jim Haag Award for Vision, Initiative and Perseverance; Sky Island Alliance Public Service Award; National Latino AIDS Awareness Day Special Recognition Award; and the Salpointe Catholic High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame Award.

Strong Community Engagement

Other boards Richard serves on include the Pima County Board of Health, the Little Chapel of All Nations Board of Directors, the Salpointe Catholic High School Board of Directors, the Diabetes Association Board of Directors, Tucson Unified School District Mexican-American Studies Advisory Board, the Juvenile Justice Executive Board and the UA Healthcare Hospital at Kino Advisory Board.