With popular conservative Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio term-limited, local activist and professor Moses Sanchez, a Republican, announced he is running for the District 6 slot based in Ahwatukee. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Phoenix in 2018, a difficult race for Republicans since Phoenix has more Democrats, but District 6 leans Republican.
“I’m proud to call Ahwatukee home,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “I’ve raised my family in Phoenix, served on our local school board, run for Mayor, and worked to grow a small business. I’m running for Phoenix City Council to provide the same opportunities this city has given me and stand up for the most overlooked community in Phoenix.”
Sanchez is referring to the homeless. He said there is “a lack of leadership from City Hall when it comes to partnering with charitable organizations and increasing efficiencies when it comes to caring for those most in need.”
He added the city needs to get out of the way; red tape should not stop some “amazing organizations” in the Valley that can help. When he previously ran for mayor, he said he was the only candidate who brought up concerns about the homeless. Now the problem has gotten worse. He would create a “First Step Phoenix” program and Social Impact Partnerships to address it.
Public safety is his number one priority. He said, “Things like public safety, our police officers, our firefighters, they’re currently understaffed and undersupported.” When asked about the Biden Justice Department’s recently launched investigation into the Phoenix Police Department, he said there have been a few “bad apples” in the past, including some officers who threatened officials, but people don’t realize that PPD has been getting rid of them. Relying on his Navy experience to compare, he said, “Every unit in the military, they know who the dirtbag is.” However, he says there is room for improvement still. “The police need more funding, not less. More police officers, not fewer. And more training.”
Another area Sanchez said he intends to focus on is infrastructure. This means fixing potholes and sidewalks, completing unfinished parks that are just dirt lots, and providing shade for people waiting for public transportation. “We’re one of the fastest growing cities, but if you drive by any bus stop you’ll see two to three people standing by a tree somewhere.” And just as advertisers pay for buses, they can pay for bus stops. He also wants to work to keep water rates down, something DiCiccio frequently was forced to champion due to Democrats in the city government trying to raise the cost in order to pay for pet programs.
Sanchez does not want Ahwatukee split into two districts, which is a possibility since the new Census figures require a redistricting in Arizona; first federal and state districts, then cities. He says people in Ahwatukee, which makes up most of District 6, do not want to end up with mixed representation. Other rumored candidates jumping into the race are located north of Ahwatukee and may not treat that as a priority. District 6 also includes Arcadia, the Biltmore area, Dreamy Draw, and much of central Phoenix.
Sanchez has a long history of involvement in the community. Born in Panama, he moved to the U.S., where he served in the Navy, including a stint in Afghanistan, and obtained a business degree and MBA. He has lived in Ahwatukee since 2004, where he continues serving in the Navy, sitting on various boards, running a social media marketing company, and teaching economics at South Mountain Community College.
While running for mayor, Sanchez expressed his opposition to the city subsidizing professional sports teams, in contrast to Democrat Kate Gallego, who ultimately won the race. He also criticized politicians prioritizing special interests over the average person. “They feel like they’ve been forgotten,” he said during a debate. “They feel like, you know what? City Hall isn’t worried about me. They’re only worried about what’s happening to downtown and what’s happening to their big developer friends.”
He criticized the level of spending by the city government. “All Phoenix has done, city hall has done is pay for one bill with a credit card, then pay for that with another credit card, and another credit card and you end up with the mess we are in now,” he said.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at the Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].