I moved to Tempe in 2003 and as soon as I arrived, I was impressed. My old brother, a native Tempean, picked me up from Sky Harbor and took the 202 Freeway to his apartment. When we passed Sun Devil Stadium (which at the time stood alone), I decided Tempe was going to be my new home.
Though I was only supposed to be visiting, I quickly began looking for a job and applied to Arizona State University. My brother lived near Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe, which to a young man from a small town, seemed like the center of the universe. I knew that Tempe was a very special city. I found a job in a matter of days at a cyber café on Seventh Street and Mill Ave, and was accepted to ASU.
In late 2009, after I saw what I believed were too many injustices in the world, I decided to be the change I wanted to see in the world. Once I started, I found real satisfaction in helping others, and it quickly became a lifestyle. I didn’t know it at the time, but my life was about to take an immense turn.
I devoted countless hours as a community volunteer on top of the time I spent running his own small business. Through this work, I began meeting community leaders and developing professional relationships that inspired me, and would eventually lead to my candidacy for Tempe City Council in 2015. I was recognized for my work in the community when I was awarded the City of Tempe’s MLK Diversity Award in January 2016.
With your help, I was elected to the City Council in March of 2016. Serving the people of Tempe has been the honor of my life. Representing you at city hall has left me as happy and fulfilled as I’ve ever been.
During my first term, I’ve been laser-focused on improving the quality of life for all Tempeans. I’ve served on 26 working groups, which is over 2.5x as many as any other councilmember during this time. This was a very deliberate decision on my part, as there is no onboarding process or training for a new councilmember, and it can be very much like drinking from a fire hose. I wanted to take on as much as I could, so I could learn as quickly as possible how to be the most effective councilmember I could be for my city. It was a baptism by fire, and it worked.
I’ve worked on issues that matter to Tempeans (see full list below), and done so in a way that prioritized compromise and consensus over conflict. My approach has proven to be very effective, and I’ve made a difference in everything from traffic, homelessness, revitalizing our parks, repairing our roads, protecting our neighborhoods, public safety, economic development, animal welfare, and maintaining the highest quality city services.
We’ve accomplished a lot in only one term, but there is still more work to do. Tempe is still heading in such a positive direction and I believe we need pragmatic, inclusive, and thoughtful leadership to continue our upward trajectory. I believe Tempe’s future is bright, and we need the kind of leaders who can take us there, together.
I ask you, Tempe, to give me the honor of a second term. There is still a lot of work to be done, and with your help, I know we can make our city even better.
Here is a full list of working groups I’ve either lead, or served on. In addition to these, I’ve been a forceful advocate for accelerated investment in our parks, accelerated repairs on our roads, and public safety.
Adaptive Parks - To provide Tempe children with and without disabilities park accessibility and inclusive, fun, and safe playground experiences.
Affordable Housing Opportunities - To provide housing opportunities for individuals and families who do not qualify for subsidized housing programs, but do not earn enough to attain market-rate housing.
Animal Welfare – To protect our furry family members and encourage responsible pet ownership.
Annexing County Islands - To annex the remaining county islands in the city of Tempe for greater control over which businesses build there.
Art on Commercial Property – To focus on streamlining the process that the City of Tempe uses to allow for art murals on private commercial property.
Arts in the Parks - To explore how the city might facilitate a program of free arts programming within neighborhood parks by utilizing partnerships with education partners, the business community, and local nonprofit organizations.
Bike Safety - To examine Tempe’s rules of the road for bicycles to see how we compare to best practices and other neighboring cities and see if any changes should be made to Tempe City Code to make the roads in Tempe safer for bicyclists.
Broadway Corridor Revitalization - To identify urban mixed-use redevelopment opportunities along Broadway Road connecting Innovation Hubs and creating a sense of identity as one enters Tempe from the I-10 and Loop 101
Council Committee Transparency – To evaluate the current City Manager Working Group system while looking at new improvements or hybridizations that could better fit the Council’s needs and expectations of the public.
Desert Conservation Board – To explore the creation of a desert conservation board to oversee plans and proposed changes to Tempe’s desert parks which include Tempe’s portion of the Papago Park Preserve and the Hayden Butte Preserve.
Encouraging Live Music in Tempe – To work with Downtown Tempe Authority to explore opportunities to expand live music on Mill Ave and enhance Tempe’s reputation as Arizona’s music capital.
Gentrificiation – To perform a survey of peer-reviewed literature regarding tools to limit gentrification and return with potential options for Council review.
Housing First Approach to Homelessness - To explore national best practices in a Housing First model as well as identify potential grants and other funding opportunities.
Human and Sex Trafficking Prevention - To explore and assess local and regional resources for combatting human trafficking and sex trafficking. Evaluate and recommend any best practices or innovative approaches to mitigating human trafficking. Educate at-risk populations in Tempe.
My Brother’s Keeper – To work with the City of Tempe and its surrounding partners to join the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative.
Opioid Awareness and Abusive Prevention – To develop a comprehensive local response to the growing opioid epidemic through education and awareness, treatment and community wellness, and public safety and law enforcement.
Public Art at Danielle Plaza – To create a public wall/space for graffiti artists to practice and express their art form.
Renewable Energy Goals - To examine the City of Tempe’s current renewable energy target, and look at the potential for a new target for municipal energy.
Scooter Regulation - To provide license requirements and regulations for scooter sharing in Tempe.
Strategies to Retain and Grow Tempe Business – To explore strategies to retain and grow businesses in Tempe.
Tempe Works Homeless Work Program – To create a day worker program for those who are experiencing homelessness in our community and seeking employment.
Tempe Pre-School Resource Expansion - To examine data from the first year of Tempe PRE and, if the data is positive, begin exploring potential revenue sources for permanently funding the Tempe PRE program. This working group would look at all possible revenue sources and seek stakeholder and community input as to the best way to proceed.
Unlawful Keeping of Pigeons – To prevent the unlawful keeping and feeding of pigeons will further strengthen community connections with their government and enhance the quality of life for residents.
Vacant Buildings – To determine what, if any, tools can be used to encourage building owners to keep businesses in their property while PAD, financing, and pre-construction for redevelopment is happening.
Workforce Opportunities for People with Disabilities - To provide young adults and adults with disabilities the opportunity to intern, volunteer, or potentially work for the City of Tempe and to raise awareness among the community of the benefits of hiring people with disabilities.
Youth Suicide Prevention – To develop or implement a plan or program targeting suicide prevention in Tempe schools, ultimately reducing the rate of attempted or completed suicides among Tempe youth.