Phoenix’s eighth council district is a diverse one. It goes as far east as 48th street, as far north as Osborn road, as far west as 19th avenue, and includes the southern suburban area known as Ahwatukee. It has been held for the past eleven years by Vice Mayor Michael Johnson.
Johnson, who is retiring, is leaving some big shoes to be filled.
His community involvement has gained him respect with votes over the past decade. His policies have been fair, just, and noteworthy.
Currently, the candidates vying to replace Johnston are: Kate Widland Gallego, Warren Stewart and Lawrence Robinson. And though it’s still early in the political race, it’s obvious to us who will fill those shoes best.
Gallego is a longtime Democrat. Elected by the party to serve as the Party Chair, it’s clear that her alliances lie within the Democratic Party, and if that’s what you’re looking for, then you already know who to vote for. Stewart is a longtime pastor. His sermons are uplifting, and he has shown many the path to Christ. If that’s what you seek in a candidate, then you also know who to vote for.
But we want more out of our elected officials. We want folks we can, and will bring communities together, not divide them.
And that’s what we fear with Gallego. She will most certainly lead the Democratic Party to good things; however, her party politics are not a reflection of the truly diverse district she is hoping to represent. It’s the same thing with Stewart. His religious background most certainly has its place in church, and we respect him for the work he has done as a pastor, but already his stand against same-sex marriage has caused rifts within the community. An organization titled “No Hate in CD8” was started because of his anti-gay stands.
Meanwhile there is Lawrence Robinson.
Robinson has proved that he will continue to work to bring people together. He was elected to the Roosevelt School Board in 2012, and continues to host meetings, and organize folks to better the education of our youngsters. He built a large coalition during his school board race, one that was so big and so diverse, it was unnecessary to win his race as far as we’re concerned. But it was needed, he believes, to get the Roosevelt School District on track to educating the future of tomorrow. Simply, Robinson brings people together.
His resume is as diverse as he. He grew up here, and remembers marching in honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday parade. On National Service Day, he stayed in the valley, and visited One N Ten, an organization he contributes to with both his time (as he did on National Service Day) and his money.
Meanwhile, his opponents went to D.C. and stayed in. His family and his community have molded him and have always guided his passion for the city, he says.
Additionally, there are the things you cannot see on paper. The warmness that exudes Robinson, the personalization and time he takes each time he meets a member of his community, the care he takes in remembering your name, your profession, and where you want to see the community go.
It’s because of this that we strongly recommend Lawrence Robinson for the eighth district in the Phoenix City Council.