OUR “DIFFERENT” TOMORROW – Mark Mitchell for Mayor

By:  Mark Mitchell for Mayor . 
Editor Note:  Please follow this link to vote for your favorite candidate for Mayor of Tempe..

Tempe is different. And we are proud to be different. We welcome people of all ages, from all walks of life. We protect our neighborhoods. We celebrate our diversity. We cherish our schools and we generate thousands of jobs.

Our difference has allowed us to make a positive difference locally, nationally and even internationally. In order to continue attracting families and businesses of all size, we must continue to be a city of choice that distinguishes itself as one of the best cities in the nation.

Leading this great city isn’t going to be easy and our successes didn’t happen overnight. Arizona’s economy was the hardest hit by the economic downturn and these economic challenges have impacted all people still quietly struggling to get by.

I’m running for Mayor because I believe we need a bold vision for our future and strong leaders committed to invigorating our economy, giving our local businesses the opportunities to grow and getting our families back to work.

I work for a local Tempe small business and I know that bringing in business and other economic opportunities will take hard work, require the ability to listen and learn and work in partnership with many. The same goes for leadership at City Hall.

If we are going to attract businesses and entrepreneurs, we have to work in partnership to create the environment to thrive economically and so we can continue to invest in our neighborhoods, parks, and services that keeps opportunity in Tempe. As leaders, we also need to continue listening to our residents’ forward-thinking wishes to preserving our distinct neighborhoods that make Tempe different — one of the most desirable cities in which to live.


For too many other Arizona cities, the smallness of their politics has overtaken their ability to successfully govern their community. Their vision fails to extend beyond partisan talking points focused on the next election. We cannot stand by and allow the very things that make Tempe unique be threatened because of a lack of vision, a lack of leadership or a lack of cooperation.

Tempeans are different. From non-profits boards, volunteer and civic organizations to city boards and commissions, residents from all points in Tempe have always been involved in defining the direction and character of our city. Our residents plan today to build a stronger tomorrow.

The decisions we make today affect future generations. During my service on the city council, I have always strived to do what is best for our community and believe elected officials have an obligation to gather as much information from as wide a variety of sources as possible before making any decision that affects a community. Making decisions when you only expose yourself to one point of view is a disservice I have always taken the time to listen from friends, neighbors, and community members to hear what is on their mind and what issues are important to them. I’m a proven consensus builder and I believe that communication is the key to finding solutions to every issue.

As Mayor, I will strive to unite Tempe in our shared belief that we can be better, we can work together, and we can build upon a community that honors the principles of respect, dignity and civility.

I live in south Tempe and know that many residents are greatly involved in the happenings that affect the entire city. From non-profits boards, volunteer and civic organizations to city boards and commissions, residents from all points in Tempe are very involved in defining the direction and character of our city.


What is different about Tempe is its diversity. Tempe’s geography allows for a well-balanced city that allows for a vibrant downtown and distinct neighborhoods. As Mayor, I’m committed to ensuring that Tempe remains a forward-thinking community that we are proud to call home. We can retain our All-American city character by not only investing in new infrastructure, but by maintaining and improving current services such as public safety, neighborhood preservation, and parks and recreation. Our families deserve to send our children to great schools, to live in safe neighborhoods, and maintain one of the lowest cost for services.

Our challenge is to preserve the unique character and neighborhood pride that defines our community. The decisions to build the Tempe Center for the Arts, work with our business community to attract and retain businesses, invest in our parks, neighborhoods and public safety have helped our city tremendously. Tempe been voted as one of the top 100 communities to raise youth two years in a row, twice been named an All-American City and was recently ranked Tempe #3 by Business Week as “America’s Most Fun, Affordable Cities.


I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to serve our community and I’ve had the great fortune of meeting so many great people and getting to know their families along the way. I know that our community and the environment we raise our children is why we engage each other. I’m running for Mayor of Tempe because I want to continue to give back to the community that has given me so much.

The only way we are going to be able to keep our city strong is if we are fair, work together and invest in a future that is brighter for our kids. I’m proud to be a part of our forward-thinking community. I’m also proud to belong to a family who’ve dedicated their lives to public service in our community.

My dad taught me that you should always care more about the outcome of than getting credit for something. He has also told me many times over that a person cannot be successful unless a whole lot of other people want them to be.

He’s right. That is why I’m running for Mayor and I hope you will join with me. Together I know we can keep Tempe different and build the Tempe of tomorrow we are still proud to call home.

Councilman Mark Mitchell to run for Tempe mayor

by Dianna M. Náñez – Sept. 7, 2011 01:34 PM

The Arizona Republic

Longtime councilman Mark Mitchell told The Arizona Republic today that he will run for mayor next year.

Mitchell’s father, Democratic political icon Harry Mitchell, will stand by his side when he makes a formal announcement Wednesday night at a Tempe gathering.

Rather than shy away from the shadow that his father’s extensive political career will cast on his run, Mitchell said he is embracing the values, worth ethic and love of Tempe he shares with his dad.

“He’s my best friend,” Mitchell said. “I’m lucky to have many mentors. My dad’s a huge mentor.”

He is the first candidate to confirm plans to run for mayor in 2012. The primary election is March 13. The general election is May 15.

Harry Mitchell served as a councilman from 1970-78 before being elected Tempe mayor, an office he held for 16 years before being elected to state and congressional seats.

Mark was first elected to the council in 2000. His third term expires next year.

He said he had hoped to run for mayor in the future, but he only considered a 2012 bid when Mayor Hugh Hallman made a surprise announcement this summer that he would not seek re-election. Hallman’s stepping aside left the race wide open.

Mitchell said his decision was based on wanting to ensure that his hometown continues to prosper.

“This is going to give me the opportunity to give back even more to the community I grew up in and love,” he said. “I want to work to preserve our neighborhoods, help grow our economy, continue to create jobs, usher in a positive change. We’re a forward-thinking community that has been nationally recognized for our innovation. I want to keep Tempe different.”

Harry said he warned his son that a mayor’s role compared with a councilman’s requires an extensive time commitment, which can be especially difficult for candidates with young families and full-time jobs. Mark is vice president of Arizona Flooring and Interiors in Tempe. His wife, Debra, is a teacher and they have two school-age children.

Mark thinks that he is no different than the many Tempe residents struggling in today’s economy to handle increasing work and family responsibilities. Sharing that experience will make him a stronger, more honest candidate, he said.

Harry recalled worrying about balancing family life and his work as a Tempe high school government and economics teacher when he first considered running for the City Council.

“A friend of mine . . . said I should run. I told him I don’t think this is the right time,” he said. “He drove me down to City Hall. I learned there is never going to be a perfect time. You just have to do it if you feel it’s the right thing to do, regardless of what the circumstances are.”

Mark said a priority of his campaign will be to remain fiscally conservative, while securing resources to invest in Tempe’s economy.

“We’ve had to cut our budget by 20 percent, and there’s more (cuts) that have to be done,” he said. “We have to be prepared for what the state Legislature is doing to cities, (and) we have to wean ourselves off the temporary sales tax increase (that expires in 2014). But even in this economy, without factoring in the increase, we are growing our sales taxes.”

Although some conservative residents are encouraging limited spending, Mitchell said that Tempe is a landlocked city that will only survive if it invests in economic development.

“If we continue to invest responsibly, we’re going to be better off for it. Just like with light rail and the (Tempe Town) lake,” he said. “I will tell you this; we cannot get out of the issues we’re in today alone. It’s going to be about partnership with the private sector.”

But explaining public investments to a community where Tea Party members are lobbying for slashing spending will be difficult, Harry said.

“He’s got to be able to communicate these investments. They’re not just willy-nilly spending,” he said. “People expect a certain level of services. He’s got to be able to explain that we have one library in Tempe. It’s very busy. If we cut hours it will be felt by many, many people.”

The main piece of advice Harry had for his son is to be “honest.”

“Don’t get caught up with the title,” he said. “You’re still the same kid who went to Meyer (Elementary) School, to McClintock High School to ASU. Your parents still live in the same house you grew up in. Just be straightforward with people . . . (and) don’t forget how you got here and what matters.”

The Mitchells are already looking forward to continuing a family tradition. When Harry was a kid he hung political signs with his grandfather, W.W. Mitchell, who served as a state legislator. Years later, Mark did the same with his dad.

Harry said he will “absolutely, be out there hanging signs for Mark.”