By Recker McDowell —
Phoenix is again the fastest growing city in the U.S. adding more than 25,000 new residents last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Warm weather, jobs and a less expensive cost of living offers lots of opportunities.
Phoenix’s growth is also an opportunity for Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego who took office in March.
Gallego has a chance to not only chart a national brand for Phoenix but for herself as the mayor of a big city and as a Democrat.
Arizona is still a red state, a Trump state. But Kyrsten Sinema’s U.S. Senate win last year and wins by Democrats for other state offices shows Arizona might be changing its hue.
Gallego has a chance to be at the forefront of a newer image for metro Phoenix and Arizona.
And it doesn’t have to be the escalating progressive stances taken by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or presidential candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Gallego can show a path for Phoenix (and her own brand) that is reasonable and balances her progressive side without chasing away jobs and economic development.
That has not been easy for other big U.S. cities with the Democratic or progressive mayors. Just ask New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago.
Gallego and Sinema also can balance out Arizona’s image to technology, creative and multinational businesses much like Austin is able to tout its more progressive side in low-tax Texas.
Like it or not, the types of companies with the types of jobs metro Phoenix wants to attract aren’t always as comfortable with Arizona’s more conservative and Trump sides.
Gallego has a chance to strike a balance that could be good for the regional economy and her own brand.