On March 10, 2020, former City Council Member Corey Woods (a Democrat) defeated two-term Democratic incumbent Mayor Mark Mitchell to become the next leader of Tempe.
With his inauguration on July 2, 2020, Mayor-Elect Woods graciously took time from his schedule to discuss his transition to take over from Mayor Mitchell this summer and his goals to govern as an inclusive and progressive steward of Tempe.
The questions and his responses are below.
- What is the message, as you prepare to become Tempe’s new Mayor, you want to communicate to all the city’s residents, including those who supported Mayor Mitchell?
“I first want to say a sincere thank you to Mayor Mitchell for his 20 years of public service. He has been a friend and leader who has steered our city through challenging times, especially now during the international pandemic of COVID-19 (the Coronavirus.) I am confident that I will lean on him for his wealth of expertise and knowledge and that we will continue to work together on behalf of our great city. Moving forward, we are going to have to take a hard look at what we are doing in the area of human services. There is likely going to be a need to increase these services to our residents due to the effects of COVID-19. We will have to place a strong focus on creating and preserving affordable housing so current and future Tempe residents can continue to afford to call our city home. We also have to work with and support our local businesses to make sure they come through this challenging time and continue to thrive in the future. I am looking forward to working with the City Council to address these concerns.”
- Please describe the transition outreach you have conducted with the Vice Mayor and the current and incoming members of the Tempe City Council.
“I have had conversations with every member of the City Council as well as Councilmember-Elect Doreen Garlid about the transition process and how we can collectively move forward from a public policy perspective. The agenda that I want to pursue in July is one that I hope will provide a unified vision of what we as a City Council would like to accomplish.”
- When you come into office, to what extent will you continue Mayor Mitchell’s policies with regards to the Coronavirus? Please explain.
“Mayor Mitchell has done a great job leading the city as we deal with the global challenges associated with COVID-19. When it comes to public policy, I am largely looking for continuity but I am mindful that some changes may occur after I assume office and look at things through my own eyes.”
- When you come into the Mayor’s office, are there any policies of Mayor Mitchell’s you will leave in place?
“Most definitely. One program that immediately comes to mind is the exceptional Dementia Friendly City Initiative that Mayor Mitchell championed. I also strongly support the Affordable Housing Impact Statement and Housing First plans that Mayor Mitchell and the Council put forward.”
5) When you come into office, what are two or three goals you would like to immediately pursue based on the election campaign you waged?
- “Traffic in our city is a real issue and our residents want us to do something about it. Tempe is advertised as a 20-minute city and we have to take decisive action to improve flow and ensure that gridlock and detours are reduced.”
- “Homelessness and Human Services need to be addressed further starting on day one with increased coordination with our nonprofit community (Tempe Community Action Agency, Vitalyst Health Foundation, Valley of the Sun United Way, etc) as well as local, county, and state entities to assist our residents who are facing challenges.”
- “Affordable Housing. The Arizona Republic has published a few articles over the past couple of years noting that the average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Tempe is upwards of $1,400 a month. That coupled with the overall rising cost of housing is unsustainable for many of our residents. We have to find a way to increase homeownership and rental opportunities in the area of affordable housing so people from all different demographics can afford to live here.”
- “We will have to take a hard look at our city budget to proactively address the likely economic downturn due to the Coronavirus. We are likely to see a significant decrease in revenue in the areas of sales and bed taxes. We need to continue to provide a high level of essential city services while keeping a keen eye on our budget. I remember what it was like when I came onto the Tempe City Council in 2008 during the Great Recession. I believe that the experience I gained during that time will be very helpful in working to guide us through this as a city.”
6) Is there anything not covered in the first five questions that you would like to tell the people of Tempe.
“Public service is a passion and having the opportunity to serve in this capacity is a dream come true. I look forward to starting as the new Mayor in July and taking the city to new heights.”
For more information on Mayor-Elect Corey Woods and his transition to becoming the Mayor in July, please click on this City of Tempe website here.