Making Phoenix great
By Wes Gullett
I believe I’m the candidate best suited to do that. Having never served on the city council, I’m not tied to past decisions. We need a clean break from the failed policies of the past that my opponent has voted for and endorsed.
One of the first things I will do as mayor, to provide relief to Phoenix residents, is immediately repeal the food tax. This tax is hurting those who are suffering most in our community. Our unemployment remains above 9 percent, and demand at our local food banks is at record highs.
Many are struggling to put food on the table, and this tax is just another barrier for them. It is also taking $50 million out of our economy. My Government Reform Plan would pay for the repeal, without affecting essential services or impacting police and fire.
By rolling back the double pensions we give to the city’s managers, moving to performance pay and finding efficiencies, balanced with modest cuts, we will have the money to provide Phoenix families relief. I fundamentally believe the food tax is wrong and that we must decrease the cost of government while providing the same level of service.
Next, as mayor, I will keep a laser focus on job creation and make sure that every action taken, law passed and policy adopted at the city of Phoenix has a positive impact on our economy. We need less government, not the 40 plus ways to grow government that my opponent has proposed.
I have outlined bold and aggressive pension reform, regulatory relief and a comprehensive Seven Point Jobs Plan, all aimed at getting our economy moving, reducing the costs of doing business in Phoenix and getting people back to work. For example, I will not continue the water rate increases that my opponent voted for. The rate increase has taken millions of dollars out of our economy and increased costs on small business and Phoenix families.
Third, we need a government we can afford. The city cannot keep doing the same things it has done in the past.
Every day I hear about the incredible economic disconnect between our city government and Phoenix families. The best part of this campaign has been knocking on the doors of Phoenix voters, asking for their support. At nearly every single door, I find someone who says, “Enough already, enough!” No more food taxes, no more water rate hikes, no more fees on small business, no more quarters in the downtown parking meters, no more city pay raises, no more pension scandals and no more double dipping. The bottom line is we need a government we can afford, and we will not get it with the “business as usual” approach of the entrenched interests at Phoenix City Hall.
My fourth priority is a safe city with strong neighborhoods. The most sacred responsibility of city government is public safety. If we do not feel safe in our homes, our places of work, our schools and our neighborhoods, we cannot succeed as a city in the long term. We need a police department we can count on, with leadership officers we have confidence in and we have faith in as a community. The former police chief resigned nearly a year ago, yet the search for his replacement has barely begun.
Arguably, the police chief is the single most important position in city government. Our economic recovery depends on using the best-trained, best-equipped, and best-led police force to target emerging criminal elements before they get a foothold in our neighborhoods. The connection between public safety and thriving neighborhoods cannot be over-emphasized. In fact, my budget will link a cutting edge public safety operation to our long-term economic recovery.
I started this campaign 10 months ago as the long-shot outsider up against the status quo of Phoenix, aiming to challenge the old way of doing business with new ideas and fresh eyes. The pundits and pollsters said I’d never get this far.
But if our success so far is any indication, tens of thousands of Phoenix voters agree with these priorities.
On November 8, the voters of Phoenix will have a very clear choice to make in this election between two extraordinarily different candidates with different backgrounds and approaches to government.
Together we can change the status quo and make Phoenix the greatest city in America.
Wes Gullett is a father, husband and businessman devoted to creating jobs and reforming Phoenix City Hall. Wes brings an outsider’s perspective – with the experience and knowledge to change the status quo. He is a founding partner in First Strategic, Communications and Public Affairs, where he has directed strategic communications planning efforts for businesses and job creators in fields ranging from energy and education to health care and professional sports. He and his wife Deb have three children, Kelly, Catie and Nikki, and reside in Phoenix.