By Chelsea Flood
Tempe’s March 13 special election is on the horizon, and campaign signs are popping up all over town as six candidates jockey for three positions.
Among those hoping to serve on the Tempe City Council are two incumbents, Vice Mayor Robin Arredondo-Savage and Councilwoman Lauren Kuby.
Councilman David Schapira will not seek re-election as he will run for superintendent of public instruction. The election will be conducted by mail-in ballot only, which are set to be
mailed Feb. 14. Every registered voter will automatically receive a ballot.
Certified candidates for City Council are Jennifer Adams, Robin Arredondo-Savage, Sarah Kader, Lauren Kuby, Justin Stewart and Genevieve Vega. Those elected will be sworn in to four-year terms in July.
So, who are these six candidates? Here’s a quick introduction to each:
Jennifer Adams: The former Tempe employee worked with the city for nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions and aims to channel her experiences as a tool for understanding the needs of the community and the operations of the city. She says her main focus revolves around empowering neighborhood participation in decision-making processes, promoting small businesses to enhance a sense of community, and supporting much-needed infrastructure improvements in a sustainable and fiscally-responsible manner. She says her main values are: family first, inclusion, and service above self.
Robin Arredondo-Savage: The vice mayor was raised in Tempe, graduated from McClintock
High School and received her bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. Arredondo-Savage is also a U.S. Army veteran and an advocate for veteran services. She was elected
to the council in 2010 and has led efforts to bring STEM programs to youth and helped develop the Tempe Veteran’s Commission and a veteran family housing project. Key issues in her agenda include jobs, the economy, public safety, education, parks, sustainability, transportation and housing.
Sarah Kader: The Tempe native attended the University of Arizona and then Syracuse University for law school before returning to Tempe to start her career. Kader has worked as an attorney for the Arizona Center for Disability Law the past seven years. She teaches an online disabilities studies course as an adjunct professor at Northern Arizona University. Kader claims that she wants “to be confident that our city government is committed
day in and day out to the safety, success and opportunity for families” in Tempe.
Lauren Kuby: The councilwoman was first elected in 2014 and has been a resident of Tempe for the past 29 years. She manages community engagement for Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability. On the council, Kuby has supported equal pay,
environmental protection, earned sick days and campaign finance reform. Kuby says her focus is that she “advocates for vulnerable populations, worker protections and climate-change action.”
Justin Stewart: The neighborhood advocate is chairman of the Mitchell Park Neighborhood
Association and a member of the Tempe Neighbors Together. Justin says he has worked very hard with city staff on a variety of issues including: Homeless initiatives aimed at their
safety and well-being; how to make residential zoning laws work for the neighborhood and neighbors; and a continuing expansion of various arts programs within Tempe. His proposed focus on key issues is “preserving neighborhoods, improving parks, and altering how Tempe uses GPLET (Government Property Lease Excise Tax), and incentives for historic
Genevieve Vega: The longtime Tempe resident is a business consultant and owns and operates GVega Consulting, and is starting a second term on the Tempe Community
Council Board of Directors. With a background in local and global business and an MBA, as well as a long-standing history of community service in Tempe, Vega says she hopes to provide a compassionate yet progressive perspective for Tempe. Vega’s key issues are entirely community-oriented, focusing on strong neighborhoods, openness, cooperation and education.
At press time, Lori DeLuca was attempting to launch a write-in candidacy. Tempe voters will also weigh in on three ballot measures, including Prop. 402, a proposed charter amendment for Papago Preserve; Prop. 403, a proposed charter amendment for contribution source disclosure in city elections; and Prop. 404, a proposed permanent expenditure base adjustment.
Prop 402 would amend the Tempe City Charter to declare the city’s 300-acre portion of Papago Park a preserve, meaning it would regulate park hours and activities and halt any future development.
Prop 403 would amend the charter to require the disclosure of the origins of major contributions used to influence local city elections. Any person or entity making an independent expenditure over $1,000 must disclose the source of their funding.
Prop 404 would raise a state-imposed spending ceiling for cities that was enacted in 1980 so the city can spend the revenue it brings in. A “yes” vote wouldn’t affect taxes, the city says, and spending would go through a public process and require City Council approval.
Register to vote by Feb. 12. Ballots will be mailed after that deadline. Voters can drop off their voted ballots or get replacement ballots at either of the two ballot centers in Tempe, Tempe City Hall, Tempe Public Library or the Maricopa County Recorder’s
Office. The ballot centers will be open March 3-13.
Information about the elections can be found at tempe.gov/election. Voters can also call Tempe 311 at 480-350-4311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.