Corey Woods believes change is essential for democracy’s success.
That is partially why he is running to succeed incumbent (and running for a third term) Mark Mitchell as Mayor of Tempe.
Mr. Woods feels that new voices in leadership are “good for democracy.”
He is also convinced that he has the background, experience, skills, and personality to be an effective Mayor to the city that is home to Arizona State University and is a bridge for Phoenix to the East Valley.
Sitting down at Press Café across from the Tempe Center for the Arts (try the Egg Breakfast Sandwich), Mr. Woods conveyed why he feels that he is the strongest candidate with a fresh voice and new perspective to lead Tempe after City elections take place on March 10, 2020.
The questions and Mr. Woods’ responses are below.
- Please tell the reader what are at least two qualifications that make you ideal to become Tempe’s Mayor.
“First, I served as a Tempe City Councilmember from 2008 to 2016. So, I believe that I have the requisite knowledge of the city and experience to step in and lead on day one.”
“I am also committed to public service outside of elected life.”
As well as currently being the Community Outreach Director for ASU Preparatory Academy, Mr. Woods has also served as the “Vice-Chair of the Landings (formerly Tempe Schools) Credit Union Board, secretary of the Newtown Community Development Corporation Board, President of the Kiwanis Club of Tempe, and a two-term President of the Tempe Boys and Girls Club.” Woods notes that he “chaired the 2016 city bond election (all five bond questions passed with over 60 percent support from Tempe voters), the 2012 capital override for the Tempe Elementary School District, and more recently served as the co-chair of the 2017 Tempe Union High School District maintenance and operations override. (These positions have) given me a good perspective on all parts of our city that need to be fused together to move Tempe forward.”
- What are at least two reasons you are the best person to be Mayor of Tempe?
“Affordable housing is a major issue that we need to continue to proactively address. It’s a pivotal issue because our diversity is one of the things that makes Tempe such an incredible place to live. In 2009, Councilmember Shana Ellis and I worked diligently to create a housing trust fund to provide a vehicle for funds to assist Tempe residents with purchasing a home. Market-rate product is good and essential to our mix of housing stock. However, we also need balance. Affordable housing has been a top priority for me since I won my first Council race back in 2008. In order to make sure we fulfill our promise on this issue, we need to have a persistent focus on this issue each and every day at City Hall. During my service as the chair or vice-chair of the Council’s Affordable Housing Subcommittee, we saw the building of projects such as Apache ASL (American Sign Language) Trails, Gracie’s Village, Encore on Farmer, and Valor on 8th. Valor on 8th is a project that really holds special meaning for me. I was fortunate to be able to work alongside Councilmember Robin Arredondo-Savage (a U.S. Army veteran) and Gorman and Company to create 50 new units of housing for women veterans. Given those experiences, I feel that I have the knowledge and background pertaining to this issue to really take us to the next level.”
“Human services is another area where I feel like I can make a positive difference. Tempe is a progressive city that prides itself on finding innovative solutions. Residents want us to help our homeless population in a humane fashion. I was proud to have worked with Councilmember Ellis to partner with Valley of the Sun United Way to create the valley’s first Permanent Supportive Housing Program. I believe it’s imperative that we work to create more transitional housing opportunities. Also, we need to continue to support the Tempe Community Action Agency and our faith community that started and continues to run the Interfaith Housing and Emergency Lodging Program (I-HELP). Lastly, we need to recognize that this a challenge that everyone in our region must rise up to meet. I’m committed to working with other mayors, councilmembers, human services professionals, and members of the public to make this a reality.”
“On another note, I really want to focus on continuing to improve the public involvement process by looking at how we conduct public meetings, how residents can provide feedback to city hall, and also taking a hard look at revamping how our boards and commissions are set up.”
- In your opinion, what are three strengths of the City of Tempe?
- “Hands down, the people. The residents of Tempe are truly exceptional. If you want to work hard and get involved, you absolutely ”
- “Tempe’s location: We are pretty central in the Valley, with close proximity to Sky Harbor Airport and Phoenix. Tempe is a great location for homes and businesses.”
- “The multitude of environments that coexist within our city limits. There is a neighborhood for everyone in Tempe that has the amenities and quality of life that make this a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”
- In your opinion, what are three areas that warrant improvement in the City of Tempe?
- “Affordable housing because residents consistently tell us how much it is needed.”
- “Human services with a continuous focus on evidence-based, innovative and humane”
- “Economic development: we need to actively work with and recruit both people and companies that will be good community partners. Tempe residents are not against change but they are looking for a kind of progress that is visionary but also fits within Tempe’s neighborhood character, not just merely profit-seeking investors.”
- As Mayor, what are the three most important issues that you would want the Tempe City Council and Mayoral staff to address?
“same as above (response to question four) plus more opportunities for citizen involvement.”
- What are at least three (one each) plans you would like to implement to make Tempe a better place for:
- Tempe’s Residents:
“We need to try to revamp the way we do boards and commissions and how we handle the feedback that our residents provide to the mayor, council, and staff. The people need to know that their comments are being received and listened to.”
2. Tempe’s Commercial Interests:
“We need more adaptive reuse projects. The ordinance that I originally worked on in 2015 with resident input to rehabilitate old buildings and find new uses for them needs to be utilized more vigorously. It is also wonderful from a historic preservation standpoint. It is good for the environment since you’re not knocking down a bunch of buildings. Adaptive reuse projects are also an exceptional way to tell a story about what Tempe has been and what it is becoming. The developers who do adaptive reuse are many times local builders and operators. This can directly benefit our local economy. “
3. Tempe’s Cultural and Educational Centers
“We need to continue to work alongside our local school board members and superintendents to improve educational outcomes for all of our young people. These partnerships and collaborations are essential. Tempe has some great programs such as College Connect program that Councilmember Arredondo-Savage brought to the city. I would love to talk about ways to continue enhancing these programs and potentially create others. I also support expanding the free Pre-K initiative that was championed by Councilmember David Schapira. I would like to explore both traditional and other creative ways to fund the expansion, such as non-profit/foundation grants and private giving.”
- Is there anything you would like the voter to know about you that was not addressed in the first SIX questions.
“I spent my prior Council tenure championing affordable housing, working with neighborhoods, promoting responsible economic development, and working on key issues such as an anti-discrimination ordinance to provide protections to the LGBTQ+ community and military veterans. I was proud to work with Equality Arizona, the Human Rights Campaign, One Community, and Lambda Legal to craft the language that eventually became law. When working on that ordinance and subsequent charter amendment, we also worked with the Tempe Tourism Office, Downtown Tempe Authority, and Tempe Chamber of Commerce.”
“I do believe that change is good. I think that at some point it is always good to get new voices with a fresh perspective, operating style, and a different set of issues.”
Mr. Woods has the background and experience Tempe voters should review when considering who to support for Mayor on March 10, 2020.
He is a committed Progressive that, if elected, will endeavor to move Tempe forward.