Kate Gallego declares mayoral candidacy

Councilwoman Kate Gallego poses for a portrait with council aide Dominic Braham in her office at the Phoenix City Council Sept. 7, 2017. (Katelyn Finegan/DD)

Phoenix District 8 City Councilwoman Kate Gallego announced her candidacy for mayor of Phoenix Monday.

Gallego marks the second council member to join the race since Mayor Stanton announced his run for Congress last Thursday.

If elected, she would be Phoenix’s second female mayor. Margaret T. Hance was the first woman mayor in 1976.

So far Councilman Daniel Valenzuela is the only other candidate running for mayor. Valenzuela announced his candidacy just hours after Stanton publicized his campaign for Congress on October 5. If elected he would be the first Hispanic mayor in the city’s history.

“I think it has the potential to be a very historic election, and I think that’s good for Phoenix,” Gallego said.

Gallego believes that she has a “proven track-record” and the experience needed to lead a city. Gallego has been in City Council for four years, and has worked with the Arizona Democratic Party in the past.

Gallego said she wants to “focus on developing a city that works for everyone.”

“It’s an exciting time for our city right now,” Gallego said regarding Phoenix’s rapid population growth in recent years.

“We need to grow as a city sustainably and in a way that benefits all of our residents,” Gallego said.

Gallego was born in New Mexico where she lived until she attended Harvard to pursue an environmental studies degree.

Before working in City Council, Gallego worked with the Arizona Democratic Party promoting tourism. She then worked on economic development with the Salt River Project which sparked her interest in government. Gallego was sworn into City Council in 2014.

Gallego’s district includes a portion of downtown Phoenix as well as south Phoenix. Her priorities during her time as a council member included expansion of public transportation, equal pay for women, and increased development in downtown Phoenix.

She said she hopes to expand public access to innovative healthcare through the city’s partnership with public universities, particularly the schools affiliated with the Phoenix Biomedical Campus.

Gallego said there is a lot of innovation coming out of downtown, and she would like to see more space for research and startup companies.

Gallego is still championing for more development in downtown Phoenix, mentioning a planned Latino Cultural Center. However, Gallego also said she wants to continue to work to preserve historic buildings.

“It’s also important that we preserve the great spaces that we already have,” Gallego said.

Gallego said she wants to see “more residential opportunities downtown at all price points, including affordable housing for working professionals,” such as teachers.

The election for mayor can happen anytime from March to November, depending on when Stanton resigns from office.

Contact the reporter at Devan.Sauer@asu.edu.