May you live in interesting times.
Are they done counting yet? (No!) Good to see that Arizona voters (and vote counters) continue to know how to weave a dramatic story full of twists and surprises. Arizona now has two Democratic US Senators, but kept the State Legislature Republican – with or without Senator McGee: still counting….
Here are the results as of Monday morning, November 9, along with some observations from Gammage & Burnham’s team of State and local lobbyists. We’ve been there to help you in 2020, and we will be there to help you in 2021.
Spark up, folks. After ten years of a highly regulated medical marijuana system – yes, we do a lot of that work – Arizonans decided they are ready for a highly regulated recreational marijuana system. Proposition 207 (Smart and Safe Arizona Act) passed with nearly 60% of the vote, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. On a night of close calls, this one wasn’t. And the very next day, the Phoenix City Council unanimously approved a Text Amendment brought by Gammage & Burnham to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to seek approval to increase their footprint from 2,000 square feet to 5,000 square feet.
Lindsay Schube heads our team of marijuana regulation professionals. If you are looking for guidance through this new thicket of rules and regs, please let Lindsay know how we can help.
Proposition 208 (Invest in Education Act) narrowly passed, resulting in a new 3.5% tax on incomes of more than $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for couples to fund K-12 schools.
Would they or wouldn’t they? After decades in the wilderness, would Democrats take control of at least one chamber of the State Legislature? No, they would not. Republicans maintained their narrow majorities in both chambers, although Democrats might still pick up a Senate seat (the aforementioned District 28), and did pick up another seat over at the Corporation Commission.
Camila Alarcon is our lead lobbyist at the Legislature. If you need help down at the Capitol, please contact Camila.
While most Arizonans were riveted to the Presidential race, insiders were hypnotized by the races for Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Alas, Arizona’s County Supervisors remain an anonymous bunch for many folks – you know, overseeing the fastest growing County in the country, the 4th largest County in the nation, 4 ½ million residents spread across more than 9,000 square miles, with a $3 billion budget – who cares? But we absolutely recognize and appreciate the vital work the Board handles.
And as of this morning, we still don’t know all the winners. In the Southeast Valley’s District 1, where more than 400,000 votes have been counted, incumbent Supervisor Jack Sellers and challenger Jevin Hodge are separated by less than two thousand votes. The clear winner here: democracy.
Incumbent Supervisor Bill Gates secured re-election in a very tight race. Incumbent Supervisors Clint Hickman and Steve Chucri were both handily re-elected, and we congratulate them on the ongoing endorsement of their constituents. Supervisor Gallardo does such an amazing job that no one was willing to run against him.
Manjula Vaz heads our Zoning group, and our entire team can assist with County matters. If you are looking for advice regarding Maricopa County, please reach out to Manjula.
If you kept going down, down, down on your ballot, you eventually reached your local city – or Town, Gilbert — elections.
Mayor Kate Gallego handily defeated her challengers. This is the fourth election Mayor Gallego has won in as many years. 2021 will be the first time since 2016 that Mayor Gallego has not had an election in which to handily defeat opponents (why do they even bother?). Congratulations, Mayor Gallego!
Council District 1: Deer Valley School Board and North Gateway Village Planning Committee member Ann O’Brien defeated former Councilmember Dave Siebert. Since both these folks have already ably served their community, the voters could not lose on this one. Congratulations, Councilmember-Elect O’Brien.
Council District 3: Councilmember Debra Stark received a lot of votes, but not quite enough to be elected outright. Councilmember Stark will face a run-off in March 2021.
Council District 5: Vice-Mayor Betty Guardado galloped to re-election, and will now enjoy her first full term on the Council. Congratulations, Vice-Mayor Guardado.
Council District 7: Yassamin Ansari and Cinthia Estela were the top two vote-getters, and will advance to that March 2021 runoff. Until then, we’ll continue to enjoy the service of Councilman Michael Nowakowski – five extra months for free!
And a huge thanks to outgoing Councilmember Thelda Williams – whenever we needed a temporary Mayor, she was always there to take the helm! Councilmember Williams has served the citizens, not just of District 1 but of all Phoenix, more than many of them will ever know.
Mayor: Former Councilmember David Ortega defeated former Councilmember Lisa Borowsky, and will replace outgoing Mayor Jim Lane. Congratulations, Mayor-Elect Ortega!
Council: Betty Janik, Tammy Caputi, and Tom Durham were the top three vote-getters in a crowded field, and will each take a seat on the Council. Congratulations to each of the new Councilmembers-Elect. This means that the Scottsdale City Council will have a majority of new faces.
Brigette Peterson easily won election as Gilbert’s new Mayor, replacing the recently retired Mayor Jenn Daniels. Mayor-Elect Peterson previously served on the Town Council, so congratulations on the promotion! She was also a member of the Planning Commission for many years and therefore is very familiar with land use and development issues that may arise in Gilbert.
Chip Wilson defeated Robin Barker in a battle among current Councilmembers to replace outgoing Mayor Jeff Serdy. Just like the Phoenix City Council District 1 race, here again, the voters could not lose. Congratulations to Mayor-Elect Wilson. AJ voters also approved the City’s General Plan update.
Paul Deasy, policy analyst at NAU defeated Councilman Charlie Odegaard in the race for Mayor. The Council race in Flagstaff was a real nail biter, with three seats open. Although the results are not yet final, Becky Daggett was the only clear winner early on. Miranda Sweet and Jim McCarthy won the second and third seats by a very narrow margin over Anthony Garcia. Congratulations to all the winners!
Our Zoning Group has run cases in each of these communities and many others across the Valley and State. Lindsay Schube leads the firm’s land use work in Flagstaff, while Stephen Anderson does work in Yavapai County and its municipalities If you would like representation across multiple jurisdictions, Gammage & Burnham would be happy to help.