As short sales and foreclosures plagued Maricopa, he stayed. When folks lost hope in their once-promising small city, he dreamed big. And when the city needed critical infrastructure, but lacked the sales tax revenue to fund it, he championed other efforts to bring it in. Outgoing, optimistic and passionate about his city, Mayor Christian Price is excited about all he has accomplished in his six years in office, but acknowledges there is still a long way to go. We sat down with the married father of four (who recently lost 35 pounds!) to talk about his commitment to his city, the importance of transportation and why he wishes civility would return to politics.
GC LIVING: Let’s start at the beginning – where did you grow up?
Mayor Price: I grew up in Tucson. My family moved there when I was one, so I’m about as close to a native Arizonan as you get without actually being born here. As a little boy, I loved to play sports. I was always a big proponent of being outdoors, and I was an Eagle Scout.
GC LIVING: Any siblings?
Mayor Price: I’m the oldest of four. My father was a pharmaceutical rep for many years, and then he went back to school when I was in college and became a physician’s assistant. My mother was a speech pathologist in the Amphi School District and passed several years ago from cancer.
GC LIVING: So, you went to University of Arizona?
Mayor Price: I love U of A, but in the end, I needed to get out of Dodge, and so I went to Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff.
GC LIVING: And you are an English Literature major?
Mayor Price: Yes, I am. [Laughs] It’s funny, truth be told I greatly disliked math and I was mildly interested in reading, writing and speaking publicly, and I was terrible at spelling. So I told her that I was going to be an English major in college. However, my mom was an expert in the subject and she knew the English major requirements backwards and forwards, after all she had gotten straight “A’s” in the subject throughout her high school career. So as I announced my intent to major in it, she felt compelled to tell me this story about how when she had gone to college, and in her very first English class, she was so excited to get a superior grade. Yet upon completion of this first college English course, it turns out it was far harder than she thought, and she got a “D”. She was so shocked that it caused her to change her major and her career choice. Thus, I should probably think about doing the “same thing.” She went on to say that, “I simply don’t have what it takes to be an English major.” I said, “OK. It’s on.” So, I became an English lit major just to prove that I could do it. Now, I have found a love for writing. I love public speaking. I love reading and poetry, and my spelling has even gotten little bit better.
GC LIVING: And then you minored in Spanish and ended up living in Northern Argentina?
Mayor Price: I served a mission for my church, and I was called to serve in Argentina. I learned Spanish on the fly. I loved the language. I loved the people. And when I got back to college, it just made sense to partner English literature with another language.
GC LIVING: After NAU?
Mayor Price: I went to law school. Part of reason why I became an English lit person is because the writing is such an important part, too, of being an attorney. I went to law school in Houston, and I thoroughly enjoyed my classes. And, interestingly enough, I went to a historically black law school.
GC LIVING: Thurgood Marshall.
Mayor Price: That’s right. I loved being a part of that. I loved the cultural diversity. In the end, when my mom was sick with cancer, I had to make some decisions. And so, I decided to come back and help my family.
GC LIVING: Now you’ve transitioned from a goal of becoming an attorney to becoming a financial advisor?
Mayor Price: Correct. I was looking for a job while trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I also ended up becoming a jeweler, so I was working at a jewelry store while I was studying to become a financial advisor. Having grown up in Tucson, they had the largest gem show in the world there each year. I had learned a lot about diamonds, gemstones and gold. So it was just a natural progression to make, and I still dabble in it today.
GC LIVING: So when did you meet your wife, Cindy?
Mayor Price: She and I met at one of my best friend’s weddings. It was her cousin. She lived in Florida. And at the time, we were just at different stages in life. She was a little bit younger than me. She was a photographer. She was taking pictures of the wedding, and we ended up dancing once or twice. My best friend kept saying, “Oh, you’ve got to date her.” That day, I’m thinking, “Ah, she lives in Florida. I’m not dating her.” You know, I’m at NAU. She’s just entering the college realm. I’m not into that long-distance thing. Several years later, it turns out her family moved here. We found ourselves together here in the Phoenix metro area. And the rest is history.
GC LIVING: So how did you end up founding Pantheon?
Mayor Price: I got my first job in financial advising, and I was taken on by a company based out of California that had a branch office here. And like most financial advisors who kind of start out in the industry, you learn two things. You either want to be with a bigger firm or you truly want to be “Independent”. So after about four years, the branch manager Brad Ullrich, who was then my boss, became my business partner and we started Pantheon Investments, Financial Services & Insurance. We really wanted to have the ability for us to service our clients in a way we felt was the most appropriate. You know, we weren’t there to push anything on them. I love being a business owner, and recently I merged my firm with another, to form Sierra Wealth Group, which can do even more to service clients in the financial services world.
GC LIVING: Let’s fast forward to when you and your wife are looking for your first home.
Mayor Price: We were like most young couples trying to find what we can afford. It’s funny because at the time – this is 2003-2004, the lead up to the boom – houses were getting more and more expensive. And like most couples, you have to look to the outskirts, right? We looked in what is now known as San Tan, a few miles north of Florence. We looked in the revitalized area of downtown Phoenix, north of the South Mountain area and then a little place we’d never heard of that was just starting called Maricopa. And I’m telling you, we came to Maricopa and there was something about it. And to this day, I can’t explain it. It’s just a draw. It was a picture that hadn’t yet been painted. I felt like my family, as we grew there, would be a part of its creation or its history. We just took that bull by the horns and said, “We’re excited about this opportunity. Let’s see what we can paint on this blank slate and make it something great.”
GC LIVING: So you became pretty active within the community right as you arrived?
Mayor Price: One of the things important to understand about me is that in my junior year in college, I had an internship in the state House of Representatives. Both of my professional philosophies have kind of come from my grandfathers. I have a grandfather, Clifford Marsh, who was a colonel in the U.S. Air Force and flew B-17s over Germany and B-29s over Korea, and then he ended up retiring in El Paso as an audiologist.
Then my other grandfather, Dix W. Price, was an attorney, a very renowned attorney, to the extent he did a lot of pro bono work. He did a lot of things that he felt were for the common good. And you know, before the days that lobbying was considered a bad word, he did a lot of work on the lobbying here with the state legislature on behalf of education in Arizona, because he had served under three different presidents as the Secretary to the Board of Education at the U.S. level. He was very renowned as a statesman here, and I’ve always admired and wanted to emulate that.
So for the entire ‘98 legislative session, my job was to summarize these massive bills and put them into one or two paragraphs and be able to present to the committee and tell them everything about what this bill was supposed to be. I was assigned to the human services committee and specifically the committee chair, Representative Freddy Hershberger, and I learned a lot from her. She was out of north Tucson, out of the Oro Valley area, and I was taught a ton about how the government process of ‘making sausage’ works. [Laughs]
When I got to Maricopa, I got involved right away. I got involved in my HOA, as Maricopa is built on a kind of a backbone of HOAs. It’s also part of the reason was I dislike HOAs. [Laughs] Some people have said, “Well, wait a second, why would you become an HOA president if you dislike them?” And I said, “Well, it’s because I want to learn the ins and outs, and I want to teach people how to navigate them, and teach them what they can and can’t do with them.”
And so when I decided that it was time to get involved more with the city, I attended all the city council meetings. There wasn’t a meeting or issue that I didn’t know about from sitting in the audience. One day I just kind of woke up and rolled over to my wife and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but I think I’m supposed to run for mayor.” [Laughs]
GC LIVING: Why Mayor, versus City Councilman?
Mayor Price: First off, I found out that my mayor would be leaving. But that really wasn’t the reason. The reason was, in my discussions, Maricopa had been terribly hit by the recession. Maricopa didn’t have a lot of business to fall back on. What we had was homes. Well, this was a housing crisis, so we were the poster child for foreclosures in the state of Arizona and in the Southwest.
I remember talking to a gal and saying, “I would like you to come and be my campaign manager if I decide to do this.” And she said to me something that was so profound that I’ll never forget. She said, “Why do I want to help you be elected mayor to a place that everyone I know wants to leave?” And I thought, “How depressing is this?” You know? I mean, this is a brand new city out of the dust. This is a burgeoning city. This is a blank slate with opportunity written all over it. How can we say this? And for me I thought, “We have to change the tone. We have to change the narrative.”
And so what I understood about city councils is that no one comes to town and says, “I want to meet with council member six.” What they say is, “I want to meet with the mayor.” You’re the face of the city. You’re the person who has to be out there. You have to network. You have to sell yourself. You have to sell the city and the story, and you have to get people to believe in something, in a future they can’t yet see, feel or touch. That’s hard to do, and I felt like it needed to start from the top.
I love having conversations, I love learning from people. I love educating people on why we make decisions the way that we do, and that these decisions aren’t made in a vacuum.
One of our city managers used to say, you know, “If you ever want to be revered or respected like a big city, you need to act like one.” And I thought, “That’s exactly right. We have to act like bigger cities act, not because we are a bigger city, but rather because someday we will be there.”
The reality is if you can get people to buy in to the knowledge, the hope and the vision, that things will get brighter and this is just a cycle, then people’s attitudes and efforts change, you know? And it was a nasty cycle, and it was a detrimental cycle, but it’s just a cycle and our day would come again. We needed to be ready for that, and we needed to be part of that change.
GC LIVING: Have things stabilized?
Mayor Price: Things have stabilized a lot. When you’re only 15 years old as a city, you really have to overlay hosts of challenges, like staff growth, newness and city immaturity and those types of things, when comparing it to a city that’s over 100 years old. Even though it might be relatively the same in size, those ways of acting and knowing what to do just have never been established – those policies, those procedures, those ways of doing things. When you’re created as a suburb and you’re the majority of your income comes from property taxes and not from sales taxes, which is what most cities try to rely on, right? When you’re 15 years old, and it was nothing but farmland and then eight of the 15 years was in one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression, things change dramatically, so you have to rely on the citizenry to both have the vision of where you’re going, as well as how are we going to pay for it.
We are in the exact same position where Casa Grande was 100 years ago, where Chandler was 60-65 years ago and where Gilbert was 50 years ago. But now what we are being called to do is far more challenging because the rules have changed. Laws, policies and regulations have changed that have made things far more difficult. We are in a position where if we want to get things done, we have to pay for it ourselves. So, we pay more than the average city does for our amenities, like a new city police force, but we have incredible police force. We pay more than the average city for our fire force, but we have an amazing fire force.
I think it’s really important to note that our premier gym, which I think is one of the best facilities in the state, if not certainly in the region, is Copper Sky Recreation Sports Complex. It has acres of parks, fishing lakes, dog parks, a multigenerational facility with an aquatic component and so much more.
And yet that was voted on by a bond of secondary property tax on the residents, by themselves. They voted on that to approve it in 2008 – the start/height of the recession. But let me tell you, for us to be able to take people there, and tour them around and with our partnership with Ak-Chin, show them what Ak-Chin has created and what we are creating, such as a new City Hall and all of these new things, it creates a whole different vision and a different outlook for people. It gives them hope and gives them an incredible quality of life. Remember, it wasn’t so long ago that when we wanted to tour economic development prospects around our city, they’d first come to our “City Hall,” which was 24 old ADOT trailers (leftover from the construction of the 101 freeway) linked together with a donkey living out front. [Laughs] So much for that prospect!
GC LIVING: There was a recent voter approved legislation – Proposition 416/417 – where Maricopa stands win-win on the improvements.
Mayor Price: Absolutely.
GC LIVING: State route 347, and Maricopa/Casa Grande highway or the East/West Corridor.
Mayor Price: Indeed.
GC LIVING: How will that impact the residents and the future of bringing industry to Maricopa?
Mayor Price: Look, I am the biggest proponent of transportation and economic development. Those are my two favorite things to talk about, and they’re some of the most difficult things to do, because they’re abstract, right?
We can talk transportation. Transportation can mean 30 years from now. Not that anybody wants to wait that long, but sometimes that’s what it takes. Let’s look at the 303, the 202 the 101 and the 60. All of those roads happened because somebody had the vision to say, “We need to keep this area dedicated for a freeway, because someday it’s going to be so grown out here that you’re going to need this as an arterial pathway to move goods and services and to move people.” And that’s really hard for a city council that’s, you know, 30 years ago, saying, “Well, I got a developer that wants to buy this land right now, and put a strip mall in it.” And, I’m thinking “sales tax revenue, that’d be great.”
It’s really hard to say “no” to that developer, and in turn say “yes” to the future, because the future can be so much greater if you can move those people. You can move those goods and services. So, when you look at Casa Grande, one of the things Casa Grande has going for it that the City of Maricopa does not, is it has the I8, and the I10 right there within its city limits. That is huge, so when we talk about transportation and talk about 347 and its potential increases, or improvements, we talked about the East/West Corridor, which is the Maricopa Casa Grande Highway, linking out two cities together.
If you can improve something that is now an old two-lane, and you can make it a high-speed, 65-miles-an-hour, three-lane in each direction with entry and exit points off of that and create a secondary bypass that’s north of Casa Grande, but south of Gila River – that gives Maricopa another way to exit to the 10 – you are creating pathways for future growth and large-scale economic development.
GC LIVING: Maricopa just had a groundbreaking of extreme significance, and that was the groundbreaking for the overpass on 347 that goes over the Union Pacific Railroad.
Mayor Price: Right.
GC LIVING: The short-term pain will be the construction. What will be the long-term gain?
Mayor Price: Huge. One of the former mayors of Maricopa is a longtime resident, Kelly Anderson. He was appointed to the Arizona State Transportation Board, and without getting into too much detail, there are transportation organizations called Metropolitan Planning Organizations and they help deal with the federal monies, and they are how you plan all this stuff. Kelly and I sat down in 2012 and said, “One of the first things we need to do in this city is we need to time the lights all the way up and down our major artery that goes all the way through the city, the 347.” So I had ADOT do that, and ADOT did that in coordination with our Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and it’s sitting there ready to go.
But, we can’t do it until the bridge is in place … you can coordinate all the lights before the tracks and after the tracks, but you can’t coordinate it through, which seems silly, because that’s the choke point, right? That’s what you need to fix, and so when the bridge happens, the first thing it will do is it will create a flow. It will take out stoplights. It will stop the public safety hazard. And it will stop dividing my city in half.
There was a school bus that was hit on those tracks about a year-and-a-half ago. Fifteen minutes before that accident, it was full of children. That’s the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.
GC LIVING: I know you work many hours, but you still manage to find time to participate in community events.
Mayor Price: Absolutely.
GC LIVING: Such as the mud run.
Mayor Price: I do, yes.
GC LIVING: And, there’s a new one – the Maricopa Weight-Loss Challenge?
Mayor Price: One of city’s major costs every year is health care, right? But one of the things we know is that if we have an unhealthy employee – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually – if they are not healthy, then they’re going to the doctor a lot more. They’re raising the health-care cost for everybody else. Productivity is reduced, and you get less output, and that’s just a bad thing for the taxpayer. So, one of the things we decided to do is figure out how to reduce those costs?
We thought this needs to be voluntary, so we created this program inside the city where we kind of created a test run, and we said, “We want all of our city employees, because of the HSA accounts they have, we want to kind of give them a carrot, right? Whether it be an extra contribution to their HSA, it might be some other little perk along the way, and we started a program called The Whole30. The Whole30 is basically a diet that’s a hormonal reset.
I lost 25 pounds on it and continue to this day on a Keto-based diet. I learned I could control my sugar addictions. I learned what affected my body specifically, because everybody’s body is different. I’ve seen my blood pressure come down; I was happier, more patient; I had more energy; my aches and pains went away and many, many more “non-scale victories.” I saw all these different things happen among our city employees, too.
So, this year during my State of the City address I announced what we called the 2018 City of Maricopa Weight Loss Challenge, and it has been really fun. In the first two weeks, we had over 500 participants, all completely voluntary. Now, we have some little prizes and things in there that we’ve thrown in but that hasn’t been the motivator. Getting healthy with your friends and neighbors has been. It’s not just about how much weight you lose, but the story you tell. You have to submit a story as to what your journey’s been like. And there have been some amazing stories.
We have a Facebook page where people post pictures of food, recipes, exercise routines and generally what they’re doing, also what the different fitness businesses are teaching. And it has become a tight-knit, united group of folks who are like “We’re in this together. I don’t feel like I’m trying to lose weight or get healthy by myself.”
GC LIVING: So, you’re in office to 2020. What happens after that?
Mayor Price: I always tell people, “It’s whatever my wife says.” [Laughs] You know, for me, it’s really interesting, because while I try to look at everything, and I think, “Where am I best suited? Where am I best used? What will the voting public have me do, if they even want me?” It’s up to them.
But I can say this, I’m a guy who likes to roll up my sleeves and do the work. I like to get stuff done, and that’s probably what I love most about local government, 365 days a year it’s about trying to get stuff done.
GC LIVING: Let’s shift over and talk about family.
Mayor Price: I have four kids. I have an 11-year-old boy, 6-year-old girl, 5-year-old girl and a 3-year-old girl. And two of them have birthdays on holidays or pseudo-holidays. One is an April Fool’s baby, and believe me, she matches that very well, and the other is a Christmas day baby.
GC LIVING: I have heard from reliable sources…
Mayor Price: Uh-oh.
GC LIVING: That a significant portion of your salary as Mayor is given back to the community in various ways.
Mayor Price: One of the things people don’t understand is that I think everybody thinks that Mayors and Councils make a lot of money. Nothing could be further from the truth. For my first five years as mayor, I made $15,000 a year. I figured out once, at 60, 70 hours a week, I make about $1.48 an hour. And I’m thinking, “Great! Arizona just had a minimum wage increase, do I get one?” Nope, but that’s the way it works, unfortunately. And so, you’re right. If you ask my wife, a lot of it goes back in a variety of different ways. It goes back in time. It goes back in dollars given to projects for charitable organizations. I try and do what I can. I’ve got to put food on my table. If I’m working 70 hours a week, you know, making $15,000 a year and not working my financial planning business, you can do the math on that one. It’s pretty hard. We eat a lot of Top Ramen at my house. [Laughs]
I do have the philosophy that a public servant should make a living wage, and certainly perhaps higher than what I make. But I also believe that, again, it’s public service. You should never be rich off public service, so I do my best to give back everything I possibly can.
GC LIVING: What haven’t we covered that you’d like to convey?
Mayor Price: I think the only thing I would say is I would like to see civility come back to politics. OK? Republicans and Democrats will always fundamentally disagree on the fringes – 10 or 20 percent on each side. But it’s the 60 to 80 percent in the middle, I think, that if we really were focused on working together and working with one another, we’d get a lot more done, and I’d love to see those days come back.
The Central Arizona Project, one of Arizona’s primary water sources and the reason that Arizona is able to grow today, would never have happened in today’s political climate. It never would have happened, because Republicans and Democrats cannot work together. Now it’s a bit of an oversimplification, I know. There’s lots of things in which they do work together on, but there are so many more things that they don’t.
One of the things I’ve always strived to do, when I came in as elected official in 2012, is there was some fracturing. Different council members with strong personalities, that’s who gets elected in politics, typically. They’re strong, type-A personalities and that’s great. The difference is, how do you treat them? And do you give them their chance and their say? Do you try and find a middle ground with them? Are you willing to compromise your position while still holding what you hold dear to yourself and to your constituency as well as your morals and your philosophies? Do you hold true to that while still simultaneously saying, “You know what? We can give a little bit more here.” After all don’t we do that in marriages? Don’t we do that in our relationships?
I think about this all the time – would we act the way we act in politics in our own home? You know, sometimes, I look at it the way I act with my wife. Sometimes I give up more than I ever wanted to and sometimes I get my way. But most times it’s a compromise between the two of us. We find some sort of happy middle-ground we both get something, or we both give something up. That’s what I’d like to see more in our political system today.
GC LIVING: Now, there’s one thing your constituents have a hate-hate relationship with – utility companies.
Mayor Price: I don’t think anybody likes paying their utility bill. Whenever you take 50,000 people and plop them down into a location that was nothing but farmland, how do you get all that infrastructure? And what does it cost? This is millions upon millions upon millions of dollars.
So, it’s like buying a house. Most people can’t buy a house outright, so they mortgage it. Utility companies are no different. They do the same thing. They put in $50 million of infrastructure, and they’ve got to divide the bill across how many people that live there so that they can pay off this capital infrastructure cost and so that they can continue to provide water or electricity or whatever. Otherwise, they go bankrupt and the state comes in and takes it over, then it’s worse than it ever was before.
So, in Maricopa, all of our utilities are privately held, so as elected officials, we have to know when to challenge and pressure them and when to work with them. However, one of the things that I think pressure does is it encourages the utilities to keep those costs under control as much as possible.
Let’s take ED3 (Electrical District 3) for example, they have done some great things with investments that are paying off. At one point they tried to lock in a power/commodity price of ‘X’, when commodities were going through the roof. That seemed smart, after all Southwest Airlines had done the same thing and it saved their bacon after 9-11. But right after doing so, open market commodity prices took a nose dive and they went underneath the price they had paid and locked in. And that became problematic for our ratepayers, so for a period of about five years we were paying a higher that market rate price. Look, they were trying to hedge their bets and protect their ratepayer from increasing costs, and I’m not sure we can blame them for that. Most of us probably would have done the same thing.
But yet, at the same time, they invested in a transmission line off the nuclear power plant, which is the cheapest power you can buy. That power line, once operational, will cover 80 percent of all the usage that ED3 utilizes. And so now we have seen our rates drop 15 percent over the last three-and-a-half years. And we are lower than APS.
The utility that is Global Water is a different story, right? They’re a for-profit company, and people don’t like that. But you have to look at what is the role of government again, so some cities have water companies that they run. There are pros and cons with both…but I’m going to tell you now – and I know that Dick Powell knows this very well as a council member in Casa Grande – but there is an old phrase in the West that says that, “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting.” Never is that more true than in Arizona.
I just happened to have a two-hour conversation with a utility head talking about water scarcity here in Arizona and in Pinal County, and the day is coming where it is getting more and more difficult to grow and build. It is a commodity, folks. And every time we take agriculture out of the picture, which is not a good thing, because you have to be able to eat, right? But when you take out agriculture, they sell their water rights to somebody else and then they put in houses, and while those houses use overall less water than agriculture does, at the same time, we’re all pulling from the same aquifer. So the state has stepped in and said, “Wait, whoa, whoa, whoa! We have to be very careful about this.” Because otherwise what are all these homes going to be worth if one day, 50 years from now, you go to turn on the water spigot and nothing comes out? This whole state would be a ghost town. This problem affects and should concern, all of us.
We can complain about bills, and we can hold our utilities accountable. But at the same time, we have to do a better job of understanding the complexities of the regulatory world in which these utilities also have to operate in for us to have the luxury of doing something as simple as turning on a spigot and having the water that we all expect to just come out of it.
GC LIVING: So is there anything major announced from Maricopa or in the pipeline?
Mayor Price: Well, one of our biggest major announcements is APEX, which is a competitor with Attesa, and that one of the challenges to getting it out of the ground. But for us, APEX will be a game-changer. While it won’t be a thousands of direct jobs, we will have millionaires and billionaires now coming to the City of Maricopa – one of whom is very important in this area because his name is Mr. Jackson (of the famous Barrett-Jackson auction, which takes place every year in Scottsdale and draws thousands of people).
GC LIVING: Do you have convention space out in Maricopa to have something similar? That would be a great addition.
Mayor Price: Yes it would. But you know, WestWorld in Scottdale wasn’t built because Barrett-Jackson wasn’t there. It was built because Barrett-Jackson was happening.
GC LIVING: Yes, that’s right. And I assume you have other projects that are confidential in the pipeline?
Mayor Price: Yes, and you know, for us again…part of the low hanging development fruit is retail. That’s something we desperately need for the sales tax revenue that it can bring in. You see the more retail we have, the more we can lower or even eliminate the property tax. Maricopa suffers from at least $280 million in retail leakage. That is where people are buying things outside of the city, because in most cases, they are not offered in Maricopa. That means those tax dollars are going to other cities. As much as I want to support my neighboring cities in that fashion, I also want that money to stay local, to help pay for our needs, like police and fire. I do have to say that Ak-Chin has done a good job with the entertainment complex, which is an extension of Harrah’s, and their expanded resort and casino. They are doing more and more for the area. With APEX coming, folks can fly into Ak-Chin’s airport. They can come to Copper Sky; they can eat at our restaurants, play golf and so much more. So we have all these things working hand-in-hand. So, that’s what we’re trying to build in Maricopa…a synergy among basically two different countries or two different nations. But we’re all in it together for the region.
GC LIVING: What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment so far in office?
Mayor Price: I think people always point to things they can see, feel and touch. They point to Copper Sky, our city hall and newly built roads and retail establishments. But see, this is the problem. I think that politicians love to take credit for things they have seen go up during their time, but in great part you have to remember, you stand on other people’s shoulders to get there.
But, I think that my greatest accomplishment, aside from being able to see, feel and touch something, is to move something that is so complex and so difficult forward, something that so many people said would and could never be done, so for me, it’s the 347 overpass.
It’s about getting people to understand that this transportation necessity is a safety hazard. In fact, it’s a top priority, and a hugely difficult process to make happen. And while expansion of the I-10, and expansion of the Port of Mariposa and the expansion of the I-17are all priorities too…how do I get my place in that line for those precious resources? If you start networking, and doing all the things that we promoted and talked about, well, I networked the board. I networked the staff. I networked all these people. I became friends with them, and guess what? They understood the value that we were presenting. We invited them to come to us and view for themselves that challenges. We also went to them. We took our stories to them, and it’s that sort of relationship-building that is key to making funding follow.
However, it’s the reputation and the relationships we built across the county, across the state and even in Washington D.C. that are so critically important to our local issues here at home. In fact, I once had Senator Jeff Flake, after seeing me standing in his office for another meeting with him, tell me that he thought I was in Washington D.C. more than he was. In the end, all I can do during my tenure, during my time as a representative of the people of Maricopa, is to do the absolute best I can to elevate Maricopa’s status, reputation and position amongst our peer cities, our region and our state to ultimately improve our quality of life.