Nancy Smith, elected to the Maricopa City Council in 2014, and the wife of former Mayor Tony Smith, was selected as the city’s new mayor on Tuesday and was sworn in to her new role.
She becomes the city’s first female mayor.
The vote was unanimous among her Council peers, who each praised Smith as a tenacious fighter for the city and for her strong leadership.
Smith said she plans no major changes initially and that her agenda will be familiar, but with a new twist.
“My priorities are the same as the City Council in the past, so definitely transportation, economic development, bringing in new companies, high-paying jobs,” Smith said. “Really it doesn’t change just because I am the mayor, but I do have some new ideas that are part of my 100-day plan that I will bring forward.”
She takes the baton from Interim Mayor Vincent Manfredi, who reverts to vice mayor, the position he held prior to the resignation of then-mayor Christian Price.
“She’s tenacious, especially when she wants something from the state and county and federal, when we go to D.C. to beg for money,” said Councilmember Rich Vitiello, who placed Smith’s name in nomination. “I have to tell you, this is a choice that’s well deserved.”
Councilmember Henry Wade said Maricopa needs “strong, positive leadership,” and is getting it in its new mayor.
Smith acknowledged remarks about her tenacity in achieving goals with a smile.
“My greatest strength is fighting the hard battles,” she said.
Smith moved to Maricopa before it was incorporated and became one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities, with a population now pushing 70,000.
She holds a degree in Electronic Technology and landed a job at Motorola early in her career. She has spent the majority of her career in military technology and project management for major government programs.
“I have a lot of respect for this lady,” Councilmember Bob Marsh said. “Her success in her professional career, her track record in industry and her track record in local government here – she’s a charismatic leader.”
Smith is among the co-founders and a previous board member of food bank F.O.R. Maricopa. She served as co-chair of the American Cancer Society – Maricopa Relay for Life. She has a passion for nonprofits and enjoys serving at church, in various school committees and city events.
“She’s been an incredible mentor to me and a lot of other people up here as well,” Councilmember Amber Liermann said.
Smith is a graduate of the first Maricopa Citizen Leadership Academy.
She was asked to serve on the Maricopa Association of Governments Economic Development Committee. In this role, Smith brought new information back to Maricopa quickly.
Maricopa resident Ron Smith added “not only is she well prepared, but she’s very good about educating the public by providing insight to residents who do not have access to all the support documents that a councilmember receives. That’s important.”
Perhaps Manfredi paid her the ultimate compliment.
“I trust her, and I don’t trust many people,” Manfredi said.
Against Smith’s background as a battler, resident Rachel Leffall shed light on Smith’s softer side.
“She’s compassionate. She makes everyone feel welcome,” Leffall said. “She takes time to understand the issues.
“There have been some issues with racial discrimination. I’ve experienced it. I’ve been able to talk to Nancy about it and she listened. A lot of times when you’re not a person of color you don’t understand what a person of color experiences. That’s strong leadership with compassion and without bias.”
Smith is the mother of two children and mentors to a large extended family.
Editor’s note: Vincent Manfredi is an owner of InMaricopa.