How much of an influence can Latino voters have this fall and what will it take to increase turnout?
Phoenix Voters Elect Gallego, Pastor
Cities around the Valley went to the polls Tuesday. Based on Tuesday night's results, Phoenix voters narrowly elected Laura Pastor to serve as Councilwoman for the city's District 4, and Kate Gallego cruised to victory in District 8.
Gallego, a planner with SRP, defeated Warren Stewart, a pastor, community leader — and a black man. The District 8 seat has long been held by African-Americans, and race has come up time and again during the campaign. Gallego, who is white, said she doesn't expect the issue to disappear immediately. But she hopes to diminish lingering doubts when she gets to work.
"I think every elected official needs to be conscious to make sure that he or she is including everyone and represents everyone well," Gallego said. "It’s an enormously diverse district and it will require constant attention to do a good job."
Gallego wants to work with city officials to map out vacant lots in the district and target them for redevelopment — especially empty land owned by the city.
"Some of [the vacant lots] are in residential neighborhoods, and we hope to have housing there," Gallego said. "Right now, there are many District 8 residents who have a bad neighbor, and it's the City of Phoenix. I want to make sure that we fix that, and we become the kind of neighbor everyone wants to have."
District 4 voters elected Laura Pastor, the daughter of Congressman Ed Pastor. She narrowly beat Justin Johnson, son of Phoenix's former mayor Paul Johnson. Pastor said she saw a lot of the issues facing her district firsthand during the campaign.
"Depending on where you live, there were no sidewalks and no lights. I want to work towards [fixing] that," Pastor said. "It's about...making sure that every neighborhood is safe. If it's sidewalks, or if it's lighting, or if it's neighborhood policing, it's a matter of engaging our neighbors."
Pastor also said she wants to focus on economic development and resources for education. District 4 covers parts of Central and West Phoenix.