Mayes immediately went to work as a general assignment reporter for the Phoenix Gazette, and later as a political reporter for the Arizona Republic, covering the Arizona State Legislature. Mayes left her post at the Republic to attend graduate school at Columbia University in New York, where she earned a Master of Public Administration. While at Columbia, Kris wrote her thesis on electric deregulation.
Following graduate school, Mayes returned to the Arizona Republic, where she was assigned to cover the 2000 presidential campaigns of Sen. John McCain, former Vice President Dan Quayle, publisher Steve Forbes and then-Governor George W. Bush. During this time Mayes co-authored a book entitled “Spin Priests: Campaign Advisors and the 2000 Race for the White House”. After the presidential campaign, Mayes attended ASU College of Law and graduated magna cum laude.
Commissioner Mayes was appointed to the Corporation Commission in October 2003. She has devoted much of her time since the appointment to pipeline safety, renewable energy and natural gas issues.
Mayes considers reading about politics and jogging her chief hobbies, and spends a considerable amount of time in Prescott, visiting her mother Karen Mayes, who still resides in the Mile High city. Mayes has a sister, Kimberly, who is a child life specialist in California, and a brother, Kirk, who is an accountant in Boston, Mass.