WHO’S IN THE RUNNING? Chandler’s primary election for mayor, 3 City Council seats Aug. 2

Chandler will elect a mayor, three City Council members and decide the fate of a home-rule measure in the Aug. 2 primary election.

Here is a look at the candidates and their platforms.

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Information on where and when to vote: chandleraz.gov/elections.

Angel Encinas
City Council

My name is Angel Encinas and I am your hometown candidate for Chandler City Council. Raised in the heart of downtown, where I live to this day, I am uniquely suited to know the issues our city faces. I am an owner of an immigration consulting firm as well as a realtor. Both give me a reach into our community on several levels. I am a product of Chandler public schools and hold a degree in Business from ASU with a minor in sustainability.

Reinvesting in our traditional neighborhoods, increasing public safety, and small‐business protection and support are my top issues. I am also adamant about greater transparency and community involvement in the decision‐making process, particularly as we reach build out.

It is critical our city involves the citizens in development decisions that will invariably affect their quality of life. Decisions about density and how spaces in Chandler are unutilized must be done through consensus.

Further, providing our public‐safety departments with the resources to protect that quality of life is critical. And I am proud to have the full endorsement of both Fire and Police.

Removing superfluous and outdated regulations and ordinances on our small businesses will also be a priority. Incentivizing growth through low tax rates and increased opportunity zones focused on repurposing and revitalizing underperforming and blighted areas will spark economic growth and our tax base.

I bring new ideas and greater representation to our city. As a true Son of Chandler, where I have spent my entire life, my top priority is Chandler and our citizens!

Campaign website: www.angelforchandler.com.

Darla Gonzalez
City Council

I was told 18 years ago Chandler would be a great place to raise my family. That was 100 percent correct. We moved here sight unseen, from Oregon, and we still live in the same house. We became rooted and we learned to love the downtown area, the parks, the swimming pools and all the things offered by Chandler.

We had many opportunities to move. We looked at other areas in Maricopa County, but the crime rates were too high, or the schools were poorly rated, or the taxes were too high.
According to the FBI crime stats, Chandler is one of the safest cities in the nation. I love that our city council is aggressively recruiting new police officers to replace retirees and adding new divisions, such as a mental‐health unit. If crime is low, people will move here. If schools are performing, people will move here. If we have a lively downtown area and places to shop locally, people will move here. We have so many great opportunities for work in Chandler, both big and small companies. People thrive in Chandler.

As I talked to thousands of residents, I learned that, like me, they love the city. They love the parks, they want to enjoy their lives with their families and create long‐lasting memories. They want to feel safe. They want to connect with their neighbors. Chandler residents are very diverse coming from all parts of the world. I love that people are friendly and work together to make Chandler the great city it is.

Campaign website: darlaforchandler.com.

Cody Hannah
City Council write-in candidate

My name is Cody Hannah, I’m 24 years old and I’m a working class, LGBT+ student and political activist affiliated with the Arizona Green Party, but running as an official write‐in candidate in the nonpartisan City Council election.

We need a new generation of leadership in government with fresh ideas and perspectives. We cannot afford more of the same. Status‐quo politics that are owned by corporations, lobbyists and the ultra‐wealthy are causing severe harm to people, planet and peace. If we want radical change in our government that puts our interests ahead of corporate profits, we need to vote for it.

I am an advocate for bold climate action, expansive and reliable public transit with complete streets, social justice and human rights, as well as universal access to the necessities of a decent life such as housing, education, health care, employment and basic income.

I am running to give a political voice to a younger, more diverse, and more progressive generation of Chandler residents. I believe that Chandler belongs to all of us; and as such, we should all feel represented ‐‐ both in identity and in policy goals ‐‐ in our city’s government.

As the youngest candidate running and one of the only two openly LGBT+ candidates, I believe that I can provide a fresh, unique and historically underrepresented perspective if elected.

This campaign is about building the beginnings of a localized, grassroots movement of Chandler residents to organize and reclaim their power, and to demand the policies that working families, our economy and our environment needs to survive and thrive for future generations.

Campaign website: codyforchandler.wordpress.com.

Kevin Hartke
Mayor

I have served as Chandler’s Mayor since 2019. Previous service includes nine years on City Council, seven years on boards and commissions and 37 years serving as a pastor and community leader.

Currently, I serve on seven regional boards focusing on good governance, transportation and economic development. I have been married to Lynne for 40 years, have four kids, four grandkids and a rescue dog named Mollie.

Important issues facing Chandler over the next two years include:

1. Hiring across the city including police.
2. Water.
3. Transportation.

Hiring: Recently we completed a classification and compensation study. This will help us be competitive in hiring across the city that will help us continue to serve our community. For police, we have hired about 30 officers this past year and will continue to hire more because of anticipated retirements. I recently approved our 2022‐23 budget that adds a mental‐health unit that will help with calls where this specialty is essential.

Water: We have been preparing for a drought for the past three decades. I will be leading messaging for water conservation and pushing out our advanced metering water‐conservation program that will allow residents to monitor their own water use in real time. I continue to watch drought conditions and will make appropriate decisions necessary.

Transportation: With the Governor’s veto of a Maricopa County regional transportation plan that I have been working on since 2017, I will be increasing my efforts to get this plan to voters before the current Prop. 400 expires in a few years. Regional transportation and infrastructure are critical to Chandler and the Valley.

Campaign website: kevinhartke.com.

Ruth Jones
Mayor

As the mother of 6 children, I am no stranger to hard work. I also have the work experience that uniquely qualifies me for this job. My integrity and dedication to the citizens who live here has given me the focus to see the future of Chandler. Our city has serious challenges ahead and we need to face them together.

First is our police force. For years they have been neglected and forgotten. We have the financial resources to hire and increase wages and incentives that will ensure that we have a strong police force. We need more police in our schools with programs like DARE that will start relationships that keep our children safe. It will not happen overnight, but a strong hiring plan will begin on day one.

Next is the growing homeless population. Our numbers show this group grew by more than 76 percent this year, which is more than double Maricopa County’s increase. We need programs that require accountability from the people we help and metrics to ensure that we are on the right path. You give a man dignity when you give him a choice.

We need a mayor who is listening to our citizens, someone who can understand the needs of our families and find solutions. I will bring a vision for Chandler, not only seeing what we need right now, but planning for our future. I see us as a strong family‐oriented community, where our children are safe and business can thrive. There is work ahead but I am ready.

Campaign website: Ruthjones4chandler.com.

Matt Orlando
City Council

I would like to continue to utilize my experience, leadership and knowledge gained from 20 years’ service as your Councilmember, 30 years military service and 35 years working at high‐tech companies to ensure a better Chandler.

My goals are to continue to have top‐notch public safety; enhance our quality of life in neighborhoods and sound economic developments.

Last year, I led the effort to hire 29 police officers and fire fighters. This year, we will hire additional police personnel, five of whom will be assigned full time to a behavior‐heath unit to help those in need and attempt to de‐escalate situations. I will continue to work with our schools to hire public‐safety resources.

I will continue our strategy to encourage more diverse and affordable/workforce housing. I look forward to expanding our outreach to preserve and revitalize our neighborhoods and putting additional resources into our parks and recreational programs. We need to ensure that development projects align with our neighborhoods’ concerns; find lasting solutions for homelessness, drug addiction and mental‐health issues.

I look forward to continuing to diversify Chandler’s economic base, supporting local businesses in expansion efforts, continuing to partner with the business community to redevelop failed/vacant retail corners and continuing to have sound fiscal policies.

As your Councilmember, I have demonstrated and proved that I have the ability to ask challenging questions and make tough decisions. I have served when Chandler was the fastest‐growing city in the nation, during the recession and through the COVID pandemic. In all of those challenging times, we came out stronger and better.

Campaign website: mattorlando.com.

Jane Poston
City Council

Jane Poston owns J2 Media, a 22‐year video production and communications company, in partnership with her husband, Jason. Together, they have raised a family and built their business in Chandler, while devoting time to supporting their community through service.

As a small‐business owner, who grew up in the East Valley, Jane has experienced the enormous growth of Arizona, and managed and grown her successful small business through prosperity and national crisis.

The most critical issues facing the city are public‐safety hiring, quality jobs and maintaining the quality‐of‐life services that the city is known for (water, transportation, parks and recreation facilities).

While Chandler is a safe city, we must ensure that public safety has the staffing, training and resources they need. The staffing shortages didn’t happen overnight, and the solution won’t either. Chandler needs a well‐considered plan to attract qualified, professional staff. Recruitment and retention are a priority.

Chandler’s reputation as a premier community is closely tied to the well‐being of the business community and attracting high‐quality jobs for our families. This is foundational to maintaining the quality‐of‐life services that attract businesses and residents.

I believe in the value and power of partnerships, and that our community succeeds by leveraging each other’s strengths. This means diverse ideas, backgrounds and opinions contribute to our success. You’ll find that embodied in the diverse people supporting and contributing to the success of my campaign.

I will work closely with colleagues on the Council, our residents and city staff to address these issues.

Campaign website: janeposton.com.

Farhana Shifa
City Council

Farhana Shifa is a small‐business owner, project manager, artist and teacher. Most importantly, a mother of two daughters. Her husband served in the U.S. Navy. She loves Chandler because it represents the American values of faith, family and freedom.

Her top three priorities:

Keep Chandler safe: Support for law enforcement and school resource officers; maintain safe roads, continue Chandler’s standing among safest U.S. cities.

Keep Chandler affordable: Preserve Chandler’s low tax rates; maintain AAA Bond rating for lower interest rate; wise use of tax dollars.

Keep Chandler economically sound: Foster continued growth of technology companies; encourage small businesses – the heart and soul of our community.

Her working experiences in countries like Bangladesh, India and United Kingdom made her compassionate to understand diverse needs of the people.

She successfully advocated to the City Council for the Veteran’s Commission. Supported local artists through her work on the Arts Commission. Served on the organizing community for the Chandler Asian Festival. Promoted International Mother Language Day celebration and International Book Collection Initiative in our City Library. Initiated civic‐engagement workshops for students and organized Emancipation Proclamation Observation Day. Through the Lions Clubs International provided helps to the community. Most of her works were to empower the people and secure a better future for our children.

Any key issues, I intend to bring all stakeholders together and have an open dialog before proceeding with the decision‐making process. This city is beautiful and one of the best cities in the nation, because of you. I would like to be your voice and serve Chandler with a servant’s heart.

Campaign website: FarhanaShifaforChandler.com.

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