Dick Foreman answers the question “why are you running?”

By: Dick Foreman

I announced that I would be a candidate for city council on Friday, September 16. I thought both gentlemen above made some great points. And I will verify that Kolby’s comment about the most common question he gets is exactly the same question I get. “Why are you running?”

Isn’t it interesting that so many Tempeans are focused on the “why” someone is running and not a specific issue? But I do believe there are several good reasons for that.

I will answer the question first on the why I’m running.

Those of you who know me well know that I fill my day with service, work and family. But when you spend nearly 35 years serving in a city in numerous capacities, including school board, city commissions, service organizations and civic causes, it clearly signals your personal commitment to your town. I have decided to offer my candidacy not just because a lot of friends and colleagues urged me to, but because that same drive I’ve always had to lend some of my experience to help is my motor for life. I actually believe I can make a difference.

I can make a difference because I do empathize with the needs of our town and I’ve done something about it in our schools, our civic endeavors and throughout our community over decades of my personal service and commitment.

I can make a difference because I do have significant business experience, both large and small, and I can use that to help me serve. I’ve actually run a small business, too. I’ve made payroll. I’ve personally created jobs. I am now and always have been a taxpayer.

I can make a difference because like so many of you, I have stared into the jaws of a recession as it has affected my finances, my family, my work, my colleagues and town, and as I have rolled up my sleeves for the challenges it presents, I simply will not accept excuses for failure. I intend to exemplify that same attitude in service to all of Tempe.

I can make a difference because I know, I KNOW that the real engine for our community is jobs. I do not say that like a slogan. I say that with a commitment to the same ideals as in the work I do every day. For example, I work for a company that has NEVER had a layoff. Not one person. EVER. That’s a commitment to not just budgeting, but working together, management and labor, department to department, finding ways to serve customers better, less expensively and never accepting defeat. It’s leading by example and listening to new ideas. It’s never doing things as you have done them before on some sort of management autopilot, because more than likely, that’s what’s gotten you into the mess to begin with. Get fresh. Get real. Never, ever get in the way of small business and their ability to change lives every day. Government doesn’t create jobs. Business does. Government does not lead economic recoveries. It foils them. Leaders who trust the job creators will serve us better because they won’t foil real growth with political schemes.

People in Tempe cannot put their finger on a single issue in city leadership by some sort of consensus because there is no single issue. Our issues are pervasive, broad ranging and the bludgeoning Tempeans have taken over the last five years is an unrelenting club.

As much as I would like to promise a quick fix, I can tell you that determination, commitment and experience are always good starting points coupled with just enough patience to allow the real growth, business and economic growth, to prevail. My personal commitment is to demonstrate that I will do this in a civil, respectful election process. And I will always be listening, because I have yet to learn anything while I’m talking. With your permission, I’m ready to lead, ready to listen and ready to roll up my sleeves on your behalf.

My campaign is called “Foreman For Tempe.” My campaign team, website, media and outreach are just now getting organized, so we’ll be in touch soon!


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.”

Let’s hear from all of the potential candidates

Thinking about throwing your hat in the ring?    You know who you are, don’t be shy, let us know why your considering running, what are the community issues you feel deserve priority and most importantly tell us why you deserve our vote.