October 7, 2022

Mesa voters will decide between incumbent Councilmember Jenn Duff and political newcomer Trista Guzman Glover in a runoff election on Nov. 8.  
The pair are competing to represent District 4, which covers downtown and central Mesa.
City voters settled two other council races in August’s primary election, giving outright wins to Scott Somers in District 6 and to Alicia Goforth in District 5. Goforth faced no competition in her bid to replace term-limited David Luna. 
Duff finished 1,385 votes ahead of Guzman Glover in August, but just short of the threshold to secure an outright win. Both candidates are hopeful as they square off in November. 
Duff is a business owner who was first elected to council in 2018 and serves as vice mayor. Guzman Glover formerly served as director of the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions.
Mesa voters must be registered to vote by Oct. 11 to participate in the Nov. 8 election. Residents can register or check their status at the Maricopa County Election Department’s website.  
Early ballots will be mailed starting Oct. 12 for those who choose to vote by mail. Early voters should return their ballot in the mail by Nov. 1 or place it in a ballot drop-off location or voting location by 7 p.m. Nov. 8. 
The Arizona Republic asked candidates about key local issues ahead of the August election. The two runoff candidates responded to another round of questions. Some responses were edited to meet the 150 word limit.
Did the pandemic uncover any weaknesses in services to residents and what is or should the city do to address them?
Duff: “Food insecurity — Mesa used CARES funding for food distribution through United Food Bank and other partners to provide over 4 million meals from March-December 2020.
“Digital divide — Our kids were falling behind so the City Council allocated over $6.9 million in CARES funds to Mesa Public Schools for digital notebooks and internet and expanded our downtown free Wi-Fi network to 9 square miles. Earlier this year, we approved license agreements with Google Fiber and other partners to bring high-speed internet access to every part of the city.
“Improving small business support — We sent CARES funds to small businesses to assist with rent/mortgage and utilities, offered permits and grants for patios and a free technical assistance program. Next year, we will open a Small Business Resource Center to supplement our Business Builder Small Business Assistance Program, Mesa HUUB and MesaBusinessBuilder.com.
“Rent & utility assistance of over $51 million since July 2020.”
Guzman Glover: “Accessibility of city staff, services, and public meetings is a huge issue and has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Citizens need to have access to city services and public meetings. When citizens or businesses reach out to the city, they want to know that the city is there for them. Accessibility of elected officials, city staff and public meetings must be at the forefront; this is an important issue, and I will advocate for all residents, not just those in District 4.”
The federal government recently announced cuts to Arizona’s water supply from the Colorado River. What does Mesa need to do to manage the city’s water supply in the ongoing drought that could lead to steeper cuts?
Duff: “I am working hard to lead Mesa’s methods to conserve, reuse and recover water. Here are measures that we implemented and are expanding upon:
Guzman Glover: “Mesa has positioned itself well with the adopted Water Shortage Management Plan. It will be critical to stay up-to-date on water levels when determining mandatory conservation. Tough decisions will have to be made using experts’ and stakeholders’ advice and input. I stand ready to take all relevant information and make decisions that will best serve our city and state.” 
“Mesa should continue to work with other cities and the state through (Arizona Municipal Water Users Association)  when considering any additional steps or measures. Mesa must bind together with other stakeholders; solving our state’s water issues requires bipartisan collaboration. I am open to new, innovative, reimagined, or increased steps or measures in coordination with other municipalities and statewide stakeholders.”
What 3 things are going right in the ongoing transformation of downtown Mesa and what 3 areas need more work? What would you do to address the latter?
Duff: “We’ve made great strides over the past few years in bringing:
“Need more work: 
Guzman Glover: “There are great bars, restaurants and breweries … We have the beautiful Mesa Arts Center … and … museums that bring in young families …. We have Benedictine University … and now we have the newest ASU campus.
“… Downtown needs more market-rate housing, more (city) involvement … to help the homeless and more nightlife. 
“… I would work with the Economic Development Office and the Downtown Transformation Team to look at city-owned properties and what we can do to bring developers downtown. … We need to add … market-rate housing …With more residents living downtown, more businesses will grow.
“The city should continue coordinating with our nonprofit partners to provide wrap-around services to those experiencing homelessness.  … (and avoid) duplication of services …
“… The city can support existing businesses and restaurants and recruit new ones with incentives … (and) support festivals and other public events that draw people downtown.”
What perspective and voice will you bring to the City Council?
Duff: “I bring the perspective of being from Mesa — growing up right here in District 4.
“I was a corporate fashion buyer; a professional bass angler and own an international wholesale sport fishing business for over 32 years. I am an experienced leader, community organizer and grandmother. I have been deeply involved with the downtown community since 2009 and have been very active in working to shape a future for downtown that all of us can be proud of and will sustain for generations.
“I am the voice for a sustainable city — economically, environmentally and equitably. I believe this can be achieved with both strategic planning and visionary leadership.”
Guzman Glover: “I will take a community-centric approach to policy decisions. I will ensure Mesa’s first responders have the resources they need to protect, defend and serve our community.
“I will be a younger perspective on the City Council if elected. I will also be the first woman of color elected to the council and the first Hispanic to represent the majority-minority district.
“Mesa is a wonderfully diverse, thriving city, and I’m looking forward to expanding ongoing efforts to support our business community and welcome business, both big and small. Most of all, I will be the voice of all residents on the Mesa City Council.”
Reporter Maritza Dominguez covers Mesa and Gilbert and can be reached at maritza.dominguez@arizonarepublic.com or 480-271-0646. Follow her on Twitter @maritzacdom.
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