Phoenix Councilman Tom Simplot announces he will not seek re-election in August

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District 4 Councilman Tom Simplot said he will not seek re-election, but will continue to work with the city. Simplot has not ruled out the possibility of running for mayor in the future. (Aubree Abril/DD)

Phoenix City Councilman Tom Simplot announced Tuesday he will not run again for office after 10 years of service in District 4.

Simplot said the step will be “a break from city hall, not from community engagement.” He was involved in the community before he was elected to the City Council in 2003 and plans to remain involved.

“Eight to 10 years in any one elected office is enough to accomplish what you set out to accomplish,” Simplot said.

Simplot served as president of the Maricopa County Board of Health and the Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority. He is currently a member of the city’s Finance, Efficiency, Innovation and Sustainability subcommittee and the Neighborhoods, Planning and Development, Housing and Homeless subcommittee.

Now he will focus on his job as president of the Arizona Multihousing Association, the trade association for the apartment industry in Arizona, but he looks forward to possibly running for mayor in the future.

Simplot said his goals for this year are continuing his position as co-chair of the campaign for pension reform with the City of Phoenix, working with the mayor to update the city’s human rights ordinances and partnering with businesses to finish neighborhood projects.

Another reason Simplot made the decision to not run again is that he did not feel he could commit to another four-year term.

“I don’t believe in resigning once you are elected,” Simplot said.

During his ten years as a councilman, Simplot said he brought millions of dollars in resources to the west side of District 4.

The Isaac area at 35th Avenue and McDowell Road received millions in funding for infrastructure development and a new learning center.

His office was the first to bring movies in the park to his community. The first event brought 1,500 community members to Steele Indian School Park.

Simplot has been engaged not only in his district, but throughout the city, as well.

Andrea Katsenes lives in the Willo district and serves on the City of Phoenix Planning Commission. The Willo neighborhood only became part of District 4 after the recent redistricting.

“He might not have been our official councilman but he was always a friend to our neighborhood,” Katsenes said.

Katesenes said Simplot always attended the Willo Historic Home Tour.

“He always had a fondness for historic neighborhoods,” she said.

Simplot championed housing for homeless veterans at Indian School Road and Eighth Avenue, Katsenes said.

“He will be very much missed,” Katsenes said. “Our neighborhood was really excited to have him for this year.”

Voters in council Districts 2, 4, 6 and 8 will elect council members Aug. 27.

Former state Senator David Lujan filed to run for City Council in District 4 last week.

Lujan said he had been thinking about running for the City Council for some time, and filed after Simplot announced he was not running.

Lujan said his priorities will include improving the quality of life in Phoenix, bringing quality jobs to the city and working as a partner with Phoenix schools.

Contact the reporter at alabril@asu.edu