Shay's roots are in Southern Arizona, having grown up here with his parents, brother and two sisters since he was a child. His father, Daniel, taught English and coached basketball, baseball, and softball at Sahuarita High School. His mother, Nancy, was a beloved administrator at the University of Arizona. As a result, education became a top priority in the Stautz family. Shay attended public elementary and junior high schools and graduated from Palo Verde High School. When his parents passed away, he purchased the family home near Davis Monthan Air Force Base, where he grew up and lives in today.
While Shay was a sophomore at the University of Arizona, he got his first taste of working in Congress. He earned an internship in Washington, D.C. with Arizona Congressman Mo Udall and later, U.S. Senator Robert Kasten from Wisconsin (Senator Kasten is a UA alum) – working primarily on national security issues in both offices.
After getting a close-up view of Congress and working alongside those dedicated leaders, Shay enrolled at Georgetown University. With no family money for private school tuition, Shay worked full time while carrying a full academic load in order to qualify for reduced tuition and earn a bachelors degree in Government.
In 1993, he was accepted into Georgetown’s prestigious National Security Studies graduate program. Shortly thereafter Shay launched the Intelligence and Security Discussion Group, comprised of graduate students, military, and intelligence analysts from all over Washington. It was during this time that Shay became the legal guardian for his younger brother, Scott, who was having difficulties at Palo Verde High School in Tucson.
After earning his master’s degree in National Security, Shay advocated for educational, defense, and information technology organizations on Capitol Hill. However, Tucson called him back in 2006 to work at the University of Arizona as Associate Vice President for Federal Relations. He served Southern Arizona in this capacity from 2006 to 2017, during which time he also worked to engage the Arizona Congressional delegation and Pentagon in support of the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance (SADA). After 11 years of this service to his community, he was recruited to Arizona State University to serve as Associate Vice President for National Policy. He viewed this move as an opportunity to see how to elevate education issues statewide with the U.S. Congress.
During his time at both universities, Shay earned the reputation of knowing how Universities serve students, how to bring disparate points of view into consensus, of seeing opportunities where others see obstacles and working harder than anyone to produce results for the Universities who educate Arizona’s young persons. Known for innovation (especially for veterans, space and defense research) he increased federal funding to our Universities and left this career to which he dedicated himself to run full-time to represent AZ CD2.
Shay's close relationship with his brother, Scott,and his sister, Michel, offered him a personal and tragic education about the struggles faced by those with addiction and mental health issues. Scott would pass away from an opioid overdose at the age of 38 and Michel later took her own life at the age of 44. Shay has watched with awe how his sister, Sharidan, has adopted and raised Scott’sson, Kaedan.
Without question the best decision Shay ever made was in 2008 when he married the love of his life, Shae (yes, you read that correctly, and it is pronounced exactly the same way). Shay and Shae married at the DeGrazia Chapel and held their reception at the Botanical Gardens in Tucson. They recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary with a vow renewal ceremony. They are deeply devoted to each other and to their two Chihuahua dogs (one a Chihuahua and one chiweenie, to be precise) that they adopted from Pima Animal Care Center and Arizona Chihuahua Rescue.