A New Entrant in the Race for the Scottsdale City Council

While we are still in 2023 and Scottsdale’s municipal elections will be held in 2024, now is the time for candidates to begin to announce their candidacies and build up their campaign apparatus. We already have had a few interesting announcements from potentially formidable candidates, and recently we came across the announcement of another.

Justin Laos recently announced that he is tossing his hat into the ring and is having his campaign kick-off event this week. So who is Justin?

First, on the professional side, Laos is “a product driven software engineer with experience in high-growth startups and building out production-ready personal projects” as per his LinkedIn profile. So in other words, he’s an intelligent person. Also from his profile, it is notable that he is a member of the Scottsdale Board of Adjustment, implying that he is not a stranger to the workings of the city.

As for what his priorities would be if elected, he begins by saying that Scottsdale is suffering from “a status quo of passive complacency, allowing out-of-control budgets, rising homelessness, at-risk core services, and a declining business climate.” A fairly bold set of statements that could be debated, but further details are sparse on his campaign website.

For those who prefer bullet points of priorities (as other software engineers would undoubtedly appreciate), he lists those as 1) Ensure quality and availability of core services, 2) Prioritize fiscal responsibility and sustainability, 3) Focus on a high livability standard for all citizens, 4) Promote business and tourism growth, and 5) Preserve the character of Scottsdale as we grow.

It would seem as though he is attempting to carve a path that parallels with that of Barry Graham, of being a bit of a wonky fiscal conservative. Likely not the worst approach to take in a city like Scottsdale.

But saying the words is one thing, and building a campaign that is appealing to both donors and voters alike is something else. Software engineers are often great at appealing to the logical side of voters, but people vote with emotions much of the time. Can someone with that sort of mind break through the noise and have a message that connects (and has enough connections to raise an adequate amount of money)? Time will tell.

It might be a crowded race, with several incumbents (if not all) considering re-election and new entrants such as Jan Dubauskas looking formidable and looking to unseat one. If Laos is able to translate his book smarts into political street smarts may be one of the stories worth watching in this election.