Phoenix Could Elect First Latinx Mayor Today
Phoenix voters head to the polls today and could make history by electing the first Latinx Mayor. Two Democrats, Daniel Valenzuela and Kate Gallego, are in a runoff after neither candidate received 50% of the vote in November. Though both candidates have Hispanic surnames, only Valenzuela is Latinx. The 43-year-old Phoenix native is currently a professional firefighter, a position he has held for more than 16 years. “I’m running for Mayor for the same reasons I decided to get on a fire truck. It’s to serve, it’s to mitigate the emergency, it’s to move our community forward. It’s not to run away from the issues. It’s to run toward the issues,” Valenzuela said. He has served as a Phoenix City Councilmember for over six years and was also elected by his peers as Vice-Mayor of the City of Phoenix. While both candidates have similar ideologies, Valenzuela has been a vocal advocate of increasing public safety, showcasing his involvement in hiring more police officers and helping develop community policing. He also has focused on increasing private development. Phoenix is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., which has been key to helping the red state slowly morph purple -- recent estimates have the Latinx population almost equal to the non-Hispanic white population at 42.5% to 43.3%, respectively. Still, Valenzuela faces an uphill climb today. Gallego, who was previously married to Congressman Rubén Gallego, led Valenzuela 44.6% to 23.2% in November’s election. Stay tuned to The Beat tomorrow for the results. More here.