Candidates for three seats on the Maricopa City Council are (from right) Joshua Babb, Marvin Brown, Dan Frank, Julia Gusse, Bridger Kimball, Leon Porter (all photos by Tyler Loveall) and Nancy Smith (photo by William Lange).

Seven people are running for three seats on the Maricopa City Council. The Primary Election is Aug. 30. Early voting begins Aug. 3.

Joshua Babb

Joshua Babb. Photo by Tyler Loveall
Joshua Babb. Photo by Tyler Loveall

Age: 30
Hometown: Vancouver, Washington
Years in Maricopa: Four
Family: Wife (Charsty), four daughters (Akira, Aurora, Ariella, Abigail)
Education: I have a certification in retail sales management, project management and several information technology certifications.
Professional background: Strategic National Consultant for Verizon, responsible for project management on a national level from concept to implementation.
Service organizations: Maricopa Fire Department Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Maricopa Amateur Radio Association, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Boy Scouts of America
Like most about Maricopa: I like how close we are as a community, and how we come to each other’s aid in times of need. Unfortunately, this is rare in many communities today. I also enjoy our community events such as the Great American Fourth of July and the Salsa Festival, and the small-town feel that comes along with them – not to mention that Maricopa never loses a contest!
Like least about Maricopa: The 347 commute, high utility rates, lack of employment opportunity within the city.
Describe the current state of Maricopa in three words: Future is now
Favorite leisure-time activity in Maricopa: Fishing, community events and community volunteer work
Favorite sports team: I don’t have a favorite sports team. Live long and prosper!
Favorite quote: “There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism.” – Alexander Hamilton

Why are you running for city council?
I want to bring my ideas for ways we can lower the cost of living in our great city. I want to promote more jobs, and not just in retail sales. I would like to promote the growth of light industry so our residents have a choice not to commute elsewhere.

What two concerns does Maricopa face that could have a stronger approach, and how will you address them? The first concern I would have a strong approach on is economic development. Maricopa needs more jobs inside the city. I will focus on bringing companies into Maricopa that will provide good-paying, full time jobs. With more companies in Maricopa we will also alleviate the 347 congestion. Second, utilities. While most Maricopa households struggled to survive the current economic downturn, Global Water chose to increase rates and Electrical District 3 acted to suppress solar energy by limiting the number of solar installations in Maricopa. As a member of council I will challenge the utilities whenever there is a rate increase.

Explain your approach to government spending.
My approach is that of a fiscal conservative. I believe cities, just like citizens, should maintain a balanced budget and that means not spending more than they take in. Also, by maintaining city services in balance, saving and building to our 2040 vision, we can maintain low tax rates for years to come.

On what issues do you think you can be a voice of leadership on the council?
I will be a voice for the community on economic development, road improvements, flood planning and utilities.


Marvin L. Brown

Marvin Brown. Photo by Tyler Loveall
Marvin Brown. Photo by Tyler Loveall

Age: 81
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Years in Maricopa: 10
Family: Wife, three daughters
Education: Urban Studies, University of Wisconsin – Madison; American Institute of Banking, Wayne State University
Professional background: Management
Hobbies: Reading historical biographies
Service organizations: Kiwanis Club, Lafayette Park, Travelers Aide Society, Chairman of Detroit Non-Profit Housing Corp.
Like most about Maricopa: Warmth and friendliness of its people
Like least about Maricopa: One way in and one way out
Describe the current state of Maricopa in three words: On upward trajectory
Favorite leisure-time activity in Maricopa: Cards and games; shooting pool with friends.
Favorite sports team: Spurs and Steelers
Favorite quote: “It’s possible that people will overlook outright brutality sooner than they forgive undisguised contempt.” – Christopher Hitchens

Why are you running for city council?
I have been involved with a number of organizations and projects, which positively impact Maricopa. I would like to see the completion of the grade separation, which I have been involved with for eight years.

What two concerns does Maricopa face that could have a stronger approach, and how will you address them?  Maricopa needs a much greater footprint in major retail and light industry.  I supported the expansion of our Economic Development Department, which will allow greater outreach to those industries.   Maricopa also has a major flood plain issue, which will stymie development.  I serve on the lower Santa Cruz River Alliance along with 30 other stake holders, including three tribal communities, to deal with that issue.  We need to prevent the kind of flooding which occurred in 1983 and 1993 which devastated Maricopa.

Explain your approach to government spending.
I think any government, federal, state or local, should be prudent in the expenditure of public money. I do believe, however, that you should never be so frugal as to prevent proper services being provided.

On what issues do you think you can be a voice of leadership on the council?
Every issue.


Dan Frank

Dan Frank. Photo by Tyler Loveall
Dan Frank. Photo by Tyler Loveall

Age: 49
Hometown: San Bernardino, California
Years in Maricopa: 11
Family: Wife Tina, daughters Andrea, Sabra, Chantelle and Sharlee
Education: B.S. Civil Engineering, Arizona State University
Professional background: 20-plus years as civil engineer; 16 years working in the corporate world, vice president 2008-12; works as consultant of own company (DCF Consulting) providing a range of civil engineering solutions.
Hobbies: Mountain biking, hiking, gardening
Service organizations: Central Arizona Mountain Rescue Association (since 2001, past president), Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Mountain Rescue Posse (since 2001, inactive during campaign), Habitat for Humanity
Like most about Maricopa: The small-town feel, camaraderie and sense of pride!
Like least about Maricopa: The lack of adequate bike and pedestrian routes within the city
Describe the current state of Maricopa in three words: Steadily moving forward
Favorite leisure-time activity in Maricopa: Playing softball or pickleball at Copper Sky
Favorite sports team: I am too busy to have a favorite team, but I do enjoy going to a Suns or Cardinals game from time-to-time.
Favorite quote: “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Why are you running for city council?
I have a heart for serving the community and I want to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that we are not only doing things right but we are doing the right things. My experience, background and qualifications are well suited for this time in our community’s growth.

What two concerns does Maricopa face that could have a stronger approach, and how will you address them?  As a civil engineer, my focus is finding solutions, and the floodplains are areas of concern.  Not just the major watercourses, like the Santa Cruz, but neighborhoods like Desert Cedars, Maricopa Meadows, Tortosa and the Heritage District need affordable, viable solutions to completely removed them from the floodplain. I have already identified possible solutions.

Improving and expanding transportation linkages to the valley is also a chief concern.  This was identified as a goal of the City’s 2040 Vision (which I was chairman of). I believe my background and relationships as a civil engineer will help bring about implementable solutions.

Explain your approach to government spending.
In regards to budgeting, I am conservative. I believe in a balanced budget, not only in my personal life but in business and government as well. We should strive to avoid debt whenever possible, not incur additional debt without thorough research and justifications on the project purpose, cost and benefits.

On what issues do you think you can be a voice of leadership on the council?
As president of the Flood Control District, I can help facilitate rapid improvements to the floodplains that impact Maricopa.


Julia Romero Gusse

Julia Gusse. Photo by Tyler Loveall
Julia Gusse. Photo by Tyler Loveall

Age: 46
Hometown: East Los Angeles, California
Years in Maricopa: 12
Family: Married with three children, three siblings (two of which reside in Maricopa with their families), in-laws in Minnesota and parents/extended family in Southern California.
Education: BA (California State University), MA (University of Arizona) and applying for a Ph.D. program (Arizona State University).
Professional background: Veterans Upward Bound Program Coordinator at Arizona State University. Former employee of the City of Maricopa and a former councilmember (2010–2014). Licensed AZ Realtor since 2005 and currently with The Maricopa Real Estate Company. Former sixth grade teacher at MUSD.
Hobbies: Real estate; everything from buying and selling to maintaining and remodeling rental properties.
Service organizations: Founder/President of VetIT, Inc., a Maricopa based nonprofit veteran 501(c)3 organization. Former commander of Maricopa American Legion Post #133. Former president of Maricopa American Legion Auxiliary Unit 133. Volunteer with Girl Scouts of America for over 15 years, a Maricopa Ak-Chin STEAM Foundation Board Member and currently the State of Arizona Selective Service System Board Member (aka the Draft Board).
Like most about Maricopa: The peaceful small town feel and the people; the teachers, coaches, volunteers, PD/FD/City employees and all the many friends and family we have in Maricopa.
Like least about Maricopa: Arizona State Route 347; we need a better solution than the “one way in and one way out.”
Describe the current state of Maricopa in three words: Optimistically prosperous community
Favorite leisure-time activity in Maricopa: Spending time with my family and friends; I especially like the Ak-Chin Circle (movies, dinning, bowling) just down the road from my home.
Favorite sports team: American Legion Post #133 Baseball team and the Maricopa High School Baseball teams.
Favorite quote: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Why are you running for city council?
I am running for the privilege to continue where I left off. I say it is a privilege because the people of Maricopa elect seven individuals to represent over 47,000 residents. I am a resilient and resourceful veteran with the moxie to take on difficult issues and find reasonable solutions.

What two concerns does Maricopa face that could have a stronger approach, and how will you address them? Maricopa’s major concerns are utilities and lack of jobs.  This is a bedroom community, and unless our elected officials start working for us, this is all we will ever be.  In the last two years since I have been off council, our elected officials did not fight to reduce utilities.  On the contrary, they approved a trash service rate increase and allowed ED3 to take credits from future solar users. The strongest approach is to work with the utility companies in ways that our residents and new businesses will benefit in order to keep and attract future residents/employers.

Explain your approach to government spending.
Is anyone worried about the city’s $15 million (possibly more) contribution to the 347 overpass that is/will be owned by ADOT? Did you know that there was a $180K solution to the Amtrak passenger loading/unloading obstruction? I want to bring transparency and common sense to our city’s government spending.

On what issues do you think you can be a voice of leadership on the council?
All issues. I have been the voice of leadership when many remained silent on issues that mattered to the people.


 

Bridger Kimball

Bridger Kimball. Photo by Tyler Loveall
Bridger Kimball. Photo by Tyler Loveall

Age: 35
Hometown: Arizona Native
Years in Maricopa: 13
Family: Wife Mary Kimball, stepsons Liam and Keegan
Education: Mountain Pointe High School
Professional background: Co-owner of Caswells Shooting Range
Hobbies: Off-roading in my RZR, camping and fishing
Like most about Maricopa: Community camaraderie
Like least about Maricopa: That its 40 miles from my store
Describe the current state of Maricopa in three words: Progressing along nicely
Favorite leisure-time activity in Maricopa: Watching movies at UltraStar
Favorite sports team: AZ Cardinals
Favorite quote: Too many great ones to choose just one

Why are you running for city council?
I will continue to be a strong voice on council in helping to guide our future in a positive direction as I have been for the last four years – focusing on helping our veteran community, enhancing economic development, and providing the highest quality municipal services we can to the citizens.

What two concerns does Maricopa face that could have a stronger approach, and how will you address them?  I feel as though all concerns facing our city have been met with a very strong approach during my time on council and it seems as though many of those concerns have been not only addressed but either handled or are in the works of being handled.  Only one really sticks out in my mind at the present moment and that is of the 1% tax cap.  We, as a council, need to work with our state legislators to fix this issue in the very near future.

Explain your approach to government spending.
Government spending at a municipal level should be looked at just like a business. Setting a balanced budget every year for what the city needs to provide excellent services for the citizens. Not spending what we don’t take in and not using tax dollars in excess for unnecessary things.

On what issues do you think you can be a voice of leadership on the council?
I have proven to have been on the following: Firearms Ordinances, Community Events, Economic Development, Public Safety, Budgeting, Veteran Services


Leon Potter

Leon Potter. Photo by Tyler Loveall
Leon Potter. Photo by Tyler Loveall

Age:45
Hometown: Ontario, California
Years in Maricopa: 11
Family: Wife of 25 years Gabriela Potter, three children Michelle (20), Alan (19), Leon (11), one granddaughter Aileen (almost 3)
Education: AA Business Administration, Central Arizona College
Professional background: U.S. Navy (11 years), tax accountant (17 years) with Enrolled Agent designation since 2008
Hobbies: Reading, youth sports coach
Service organizations: Past president of Maricopa Rotary Club
Like most about Maricopa: Close enough and far enough from Phoenix Metro at the same time
Like least about Maricopa: East side of town needs more commercial development
Describe the current state of Maricopa in three words: Strong family community
Favorite leisure-time activity in Maricopa: Movies at UltraStar
Favorite sports team: Arena Football Rattlers
Favorite quote: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)

Why are you running for city council?
For nearly two years, I enjoyed my experience and I took being an elected representative seriously. I resigned, or quit, in 2014. Although I stand by my decision, I have learned from the experience. I would do things differently and complete a full term if elected again.

What two concerns does Maricopa face that could have a stronger approach, and how will you address them?     1. Highway 347 is main thoroughfare to Phoenix Metro. Work with Gila River to negotiate an alternate route.

2. Although progress has been made in economic development, more can be done in the east part of Maricopa. More jobs and traffic relief away from 347/John Wayne Parkway. Focus attention to Tortosa area to find solutions available, and work with state Legislature for solutions that are used by other states that aren’t available in Arizona.

Explain your approach to government spending.  
Zero-based budget, determine priorities, determine cost of priorities, project revenues (conservative estimate), shift funding in line with priorities, have reserve funds in case of unforeseen challenges or opportunities.

On what issues do you think you can be a voice of leadership on the council?
As a board member of Maricopa Community Alliance Against Substance Abuse, I am driven to be a positive role model.


Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith. Submitted photo
Nancy Smith. Submitted photo

Age: Would not disclose
Hometown: Joliet, Illinois
Years in Maricopa: 13
Family: Husband, five children
Education: Associate’s degree in Electronic Technology, bachelor’s degree Business Management
Professional background: 30 years in program management at Motorola and General Dynamics
Hobbies: Crafts, sports, hanging out with family
Service organizations: Six years with American Cancer Society – Relay For Life, Co-founder F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank
Like most about Maricopa: Maricopa’s community spirit is the best that I have ever seen or experienced in any city that I have ever lived.
Like least about Maricopa: I travel SR347 almost every day. I’m so excited that if the voters approve Pinal County’s Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) that SR 347 will go from four lanes to six lanes.
Describe the current state of Maricopa in three words: City of changes
Favorite leisure-time activity in Maricopa: Attending community events and just being out in the community
Favorite sports team: Chicago Cubs
Favorite quote: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali

Why are you running for city council?
I am running for city council to continue the mission of bringing a fiscal conservative approach for our wonderful community with services at the lowest cost to residents. I enjoy meeting with residents over their concerns regarding issues in our city and helping them resolve these issues.

What two concerns does Maricopa face that could have a stronger approach, and how will you address them?   Global Water continues to be my biggest concern. I believe the city needs to own and operate our water/wastewater company. As promised in my previous campaign I have kept this issue alive by discussing it every time city council is budgeting and strategically planning. We have made progress! This project is now stated clearly in the Vision 2040 document and is part of the 2016/2017 Work Plan. The second concern is continuing to strengthen our Economic Development strategy. I will work to ensure we are providing our ED department with the tools, strategies and direction needed to succeed.

Explain your approach to government spending.
My approach is to provide great services at the least cost. Finding ways to lower our property tax rate will help residents and encourage new businesses to move to Maricopa. I was rated as “Hero of the Taxpayer” by Americans for Prosperity for voting conservatively on budget issues.

On what issues do you think you can be a voice of leadership on the council?
I will continue being a leader regarding Global Water buy-out, Transportation (SR347), Heritage District, Age-Friendly Senior Citizens and fiscal responsibility.


This story appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.

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