By Vice Mayor Thelda Williams,
City of Phoenix Council District 1
Phoenix voters gave me the great honor to serve them as their elected representative from 1989 to 1996 and again from 2008 to 2021. Following each election and three times being appointed interim mayor, I swore an oath to faithfully and impartially discharge the duties of the office according to the best of my ability; an oath I took seriously. I am proud to say that I have done my best to serve you well.
While in office I’ve had the opportunity to hear from residents through phone calls, emails, letters, council meetings, budget hearings, community town halls, monthly breakfasts, meetings in my office, block watch meetings, in the grocery store, when I walked down street and knocked on doors, during ribbon cuttings, at community events, and much more. During those countless contacts, I got to know our residents and came to appreciate the hopes and frustrations in our community. These personal contacts are treasured and one of the things I will miss most.
Representing our residents has been exciting, rewarding and sometimes even heartbreaking, but together we have been able to achieve great accomplishments:
• Strengthened animal cruelty laws to prevent animal abuse including animal hoarding, horse tipping, tethering and keeping dogs off hiking trails when it reaches 100 degrees.
• Ensured that our police and fire departments have the tools and resources they need to protect our neighborhoods including more police officers and public safety personnel, body cameras, added fire stations, and improved benefits.
• Created, attracted and retained more jobs; we’ve earned the nickname ‘Wall Street West’ due to high number of financial and insurance service jobs along the I-17 corridor. The Deer Valley business corridor is booming and soon, the world’s second largest semiconductor manufacturing company will break ground on a multi-billion dollar site in this council district, creating thousands of jobs over the next five years.
• Transportation expanded with late night bus and Dial-a-Ride service while we added bus routes and light rail tracks, we worked aggressively to pave over crumbling streets and improve maintenance. Light rail will soon cross over the I-17 into Metrocenter, pumping access and jobs into the heart of the city.
• We planned for Phoenix’s critical water needs including added resources for renovation and replacement of pipes, treatment plants, pumps, reservoirs and wells with a financing plan that moves water to needed areas in north Phoenix.
Everything that was difficult prior to the pandemic is magnified now and there are new priorities and tasks ahead for our community. Working together with Councilmember Elect O’Brien and our talented city employees, this community can accomplish much.
Later this month my term will end, and I will turn off the lights in my office at City Hall and close the door for the last time. I’ll have more time to spend with my family and even though my elected time in office is complete, as a private citizen I will continue to find ways to serve residents in this great city. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.