Name: Shane Edward Benzley
Birthdate: May 30, 1972
Birthplace: Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada
Place of residence: Fountain Hills, Arizona, USA
Spouse: Traci Louise Benzley (née Parks, b. 1974)
Children: Danica Eryn Benzley (b. 2008)
Shane Benzley was born in Chilliwack, British Columbia, into a family active in local real estate and construction businesses. On his father’s side of the family, Shane had English ancestors who emigrated to Canada to settle in Upper Canada (now southern Ontario); his mother’s side of the family is a mixture of British and Cree descent. Shane attended public schooling and ultimately graduated high school in 1990.
Education and early sports career
A keen ice hockey player since he was a child, Shane began his hockey career in the junior-level British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), playing for the Merritt Centennials for three seasons. In 1991, after seeking interest from numerous colleges, he signed on to play collegiate ice hockey for Boston University; that same year, he was drafted into the National Hockey League, being selected by the Washington Capitals. He had been tempted to drop out of college early to begin his professional career, but ultimately decided to finish his college education, telling an interviewer years later, “I was amazed I could still play hockey at age 20; obviously I can’t do this at 40. I needed a fallback.” Shane received a bachelor’s in pre-law from Boston University in 1995.
Professional hockey career
Shane began his professional hockey career in Portland, Maine, with the Portland Pirates; despite being in their system for two years, he never played professionally for the Washington Capitals. In 1997, the Capitals traded him out of their system to the Phoenix Coyotes, who had just recently moved to Arizona from Winnipeg. Upon signing with the Coyotes, Shane was provisionally bumped up to the big leagues, and proved himself worthy to stay there for the remainder of his career. He remained with the Coyotes until he elected to retire from professional hockey in 2001. Over the whole of his ice hockey career (including amateur, collegiate, and professional teams), Shane had scored 396 points.
Marriage and post-hockey life
In 1999, Shane began attending law school classes during his downtime with the Coyotes. He received his Juris Doctor from Arizona State University College of Law in Tempe in 2002. Although he has never worked in private practice, he maintains active law licenses with the Four Corner states, the District of Columbia, and the Federal court system.
Although Shane had dated throughout the years, he claims that his first and only true romantic relationship was with his current wife, the former Traci Parks, whom he met in a bar in Phoenix when he was still new to the area. Traci “knew nothing about ice hockey; I taught her everything she knows about the sport.” On the night they met, Traci was playing bass guitar for a band performing in the bar; she later become a trained accountant. The couple married in the summer of 2001. With her encouragement, Shane became a United States citizen in 2003.
Shane worked as a corporate attorney for USAA for three years, working out of their Phoenix office. He left USAA to help cofound Del Cero Brewing Company, a microbrewery that takes its name from a Spanish term roughly translating to “From scratch.” Shane and his wife cofounded the company alongside two friends of Traci’s family who helped develop the brewery’s main formula. In 2016, KPNX, Phoenix’s NBC affiliate, ranked Del Cero as one of the state’s top craft beers, and claimed it was sold in “virtually every supermarket, convenience store, and bar in the American Southwest.”
Although he had a life-long interest in politics, Shane did not become particularly active politically until the onset of the recession in 2008; in the expansion of government that followed, Shane felt he could not remain uninvolved in political matters. He briefly took part in Tea Party functions, but soon found himself disenchanted, saying that he felt the movement was “disingenuous” (he couldn’t help but note how many people he met at Tea Party events who claimed to be for small government, but opposed cuts to entitlements and the military). He thus began seeking out other political venues.
In 2010, following the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United v. FEC, Shane and Traci founded FrelsunPAC, a political action committee with ties to Del Cero; the PAC had a libertarian orientation and took it’s name from an Icelandic word meaning “salvation” or “liberation.” That year, the PAC supported a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana; in 2014, the PAC was instrumental in helping to defeat a bill that would increase legislators’ salaries.
Shane’s first bid for public office came in 2012, when he was a dark horse candidate to become mayor of Fountain Hills. Despite having no public office experience, Shane’s grassroots attempts to appeal to voters paid off well. He was re-elected in 2014 and 2016. As mayor, he was noted for his promotion of sustainable growth practices, a concern in a community caught in the rapid growth of the metropolitan Phoenix area.
In 2017, U.S. Representative David Schweikert announced his intention to leave Congress at the following year’s election. Again running as a dark horse, Shane decided to run for the now-open seat. In his campaign, he spent roughly $100,000 of his own money trying to achieve name recognition, and ultimately had to rely on grassroots tactics to secure the Republican nomination. Ultimately, he was successful, and won both the primary and the general election in 2018.
Shane espouses a libertarian political philosophy. He cites his personal opposition to Keynesian economics, Congressional bailouts, military waste, the “security-industrial complex,” public-sector unions and corporate welfare as his main motivators for becoming politically active. He supports replacing the current US tax code with a flat tax, and simplifying the corporate tax code, which he says benefits large corporations.
During his first Congressional run in 2018, Shane attracted controversy for his stated support of legal marijuana and abortion rights.
When asked on the issue by libertarian magazine Reason, Shane cited Ron Paul, Barry Goldwater, Preston Manning, and Margaret Thatcher as political idols, while noting that he does not necessarily agree with all of their positions.
Shane and Traci Benzley reside in Fountain Hills. They have one daughter, Danica, born in 2008. The Benzleys also have two German Shepherds, Foxtrot and Sierra.
During an interview with local Phoenix media, Shane–––then mayor of Fountain Hills–––revealed himself to be a pinball enthusiast; he said, “There’s an entire room in my house devoted to my pinball machines.” In 2018, he was named an honorary board member for the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda, California.