By Joyce Coronel
Growing up in Tempe, Sarah Kader learned early in life about giving back to the community. Now, she’d like to represent her hometown by serving on the City Council.
“I’ve been involved in the community for a long time,” Kader said. “I loved growing up in Tempe and moved back to here after school.”
A 2008 graduate of Syracuse University’s College of Law, Kader now works for the Arizona Center for Disability Law, a non-profit law firm that assists Arizonans with disabilities.
“Helping people in need was always kind of instilled in me and so that led me to work for a non-profit organization after law school, which is fairly rare,” Kader said, recalling how her family was involved in the Anti-Defamation League.
These days, Kader is the mother of a 15-month-old daughter. She’s also a founding member of Arizona Jews for Justice, an advocacy group involved in social justice issues like immigration. The organization recently worked in collaboration with the NAACP on a petition to remove Confederate monuments in Arizona.
“We have been speaking out about the rise of anti-Semitism in Arizona in the past year. There was recently another swastika drawn on a home in Phoenix,” Kader said. “Basically, we’re trying to speak out on behalf of marginalized groups and be a Jewish voice in Arizona.”
Among the marginalized she mentioned were Muslims, Latinos and refugees. Arizona Jews for Justice has worked to help Syrian refugees who have relocated to Arizona.
Kader said she decided to run for the Tempe City Council because she wanted to find more ways to contribute to the local community.
“Right now, nationally, we are in a divisive time and it feels hard to find a way to make positive change. I think one of the best ways is to look right into your local community,” Kader said. “Tempe is my home, and given my skills and my advocacy experience, I thought it was a natural fit to run for local office.”
Her vision for Tempe, she said, is a safer, smarter community.
That includes embracing diversity.
“Nationally, there have been issues of racial profiling and issues of people of color being unfairly arrested and worse by police,” Kader said. “I know the Tempe police do great work but also have had issues, so I want to make sure that they continue to do the right thing and protect everyone in Tempe adequately.”
When it comes to making the city smarter, Kader said she’s focused on education. The free preschool program for underprivileged children who reside in the city is something she applauds.
“I think that’s an excellent program,” Kader said. “The evidence shows that the better educated kids are in the early years, the more successful they’ll be in life.” She’s also an advocate of helping Tempe residents pursue post-secondary education.
“I think that’s really crucial too because we now know that high school degree isn’t necessarily enough to be as successful in society in terms of the standard of living that people now seek.”
Kader said she’s interested in helping local businesses thrive and in making sure there is more affordable housing in the city.
“Arizona State University is amazing and a super-important part of Tempe, but there is a lot more to Tempe than just ASU. There are pockets of Tempe that are in poverty and a lot of low-income families and neighborhoods,” Kader said. “I want to, like, focus on those areas that don’t get a lot of attention.”
As far as Tempe’s ongoing McClintock bike lane debacle, Kader said she doesn’t have an etched-in-stone position—yet. She said she needs more information as well as an idea of what it would cost to come up with a compromise solution.
“My general idea is that bike lanes are important but you don’t want to make McClintock impossible.”