Mayor Stanton declares congressional candidacy

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton speaks at a city council meeting in Feb. 2017. (Nicole Neri/DD)
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Mayor Greg Stanton announced his candidacy for the House of Representatives to replace Kyrsten Sinema of Congressional District 9 Thursday.

Stanton broke the news via a 1 1/2-minute long campaign video, confirming reports that he was considering a run for higher office. Stanton is running to replace Sinema following her announcement as a challenger for Jeff Flake’s senate seat.

Mayor Stanton lamented the current state of Congress.

“Washington, it’s a mess. Politicians sell themselves to the highest bidder, doing everything they can to protect a rigged system that works against the rest of us.”

Several hours after Stanton’s announcement, Councilman Daniel Valenzuela announced he would be running for the Mayor’s Office.

Stanton has seen his share of success in the five years since he was first elected mayor in 2011. Over the course of his first term and successful re-election, Stanton has made changes on topics ranging from LGBT issues to downtown technology development.

Stanton firmly planted his position on LGBT rights by fast-tracking the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance in 2013. He has continued to defend the ordinance, citing it as one of the policies which helped downtown development in his State of the City Address earlier this year.

Another notable achievement would be the expansion of downtown Phoenix’s tech. industry, located primarily in the Warehouse District. The rehabilitation of the Warehouse District has lead to the quadrupling of tech companies in Phoenix with the number rising from 67 to 260.

Some of Stanton’s focuses in the development of downtown have been the bike sharing program, light rail expansion, expansion of the biomedical campus, and the creation of Downtown Phoenix Inc., a multi-faceted organization designed to attract development.

Phoenix was also lauded as the first major city in the United States to end chronic homelessness of veterans under Stanton’s leadership. Stanton was cautiously optimistic in 2016 saying that more work still needed to be done.

Not all reviews of Stanton’s tenure are positive. Immigration rights activists criticized Stanton for not pushing to make Phoenix a sanctuary city. Stanton recently donated $10,000 to DACA recipients who couldn’t afford the legal fees to renew their status.

Stanton has recently taken flak for the police handling of the protests following President Donald Trump’s speech in late August. The subsequent city council meeting following that was taken over by protesters, who successfully protested against the proposed outside review of the Phoenix Police Department.

President of the Urban Phoenix Project Sean Sweat gave his thoughts on the Mayor’s work mostly approved of Stanton’s nearly-completed two terms.

“So far I’ve been very happy with [Mayor Stanton’s] work,” Sweat said. “[Mayor Stanton] was the only person on the council to vote with neighborhoods on a contentious Circle K case… That’s one example of how he stood up for neighborhoods when it wasn’t actually what everyone else was doing.”

Mayor Stanton’s Communications Director Robbie Sherwood explained Stanton’s immediate future.

“The law doesn’t require a candidate to resign right away,” Sherwood said. “[Stanton] can stay in office until the end of May, but we’re not sure what his plan is right now.”

Primaries for the congressional elections will be Aug. 28 of next year with the general election happening Nov. 6, giving Stanton ten months to prepare.

Contact the reporter at jspevace@asu.edu.

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