Arizona Advocacy Network

Government of, by and for the People


thumb_michaeljvalderMike was born in South Dakota and grew up on family farms in Minnesota and Iowa and while attending Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. Mike was a student leader serving as National President of the National Federation of Catholic College Students.

Mike worked to organize support on catholic campuses for the southern student movement, especially civil rights activists.

He received his law degree from Georgetown University, served as a law clerk to US District Judge John J. Sirica, worked as an associate at Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn for several years, and then joined the founding faculty at the Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., where he taught and helped develop a curriculum for training public interest and legal services attorneys.

In 1973, Mike moved to Phoenix and established his expertise in plaintiffs’ medical malpractice cases.  He was one of the first Arizona lawyers certified as a specialist in personal injury and wrongful death litigation, he has been active in professional activities,he served for a decade on the Board of Directors of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest where he was also the board president for two years.  He also served for several years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Phoenix Youth at Risk Foundation, and before that he served for ten years on the Board of Directors at CODAMA (Community Organization for Drug Abuse, Mental Health and Alcoholism Services, Inc.) where he was President of the Board and was twice presented with CODAMA's most prestigious community service award.

In 1998, Mike became a leader in the campaign finance reform movement when Arizona voters enacted the Citizens’ Clean Elections Act which inaugurated public funding for candidates for state office, a system now operating in several parts of the country.  Mike was one of the founders and the first President of the Clean Elections Institute, a non-profit organization created to implement the Clean Elections Act, he has become involved nationally in the movement for campaign finance reform, and he has also been a principal organizer and is the President emeritus of the Arizona Advocacy Network, a broad-based coalition working to coordinate advocacy efforts in all domains of democracy and social justice within the state of Arizona.