AZ Central, the online presence of the Arizona Republic, the largest daily newspaper in the state, published an interview with Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark on his run for mayor of Phoenix. From the Jan. 23 article by Jessica Boehm:
Sarwark filed paperwork to run for the city’s top office in December, joining a growing pool of candidates competing to succeed Mayor Greg Stanton.
The Phoenix native spent nearly 20 years in Washington, D.C. and Denver, where he studied law and practiced as a public defender. In 2014, he moved back to the Valley to take over the family business, Sarwark Consolidated Auto Sales — the oldest independent auto dealership in Phoenix.
Sarwark said he’s seen a lack of leadership on the Phoenix City Council and an unwillingness to make tough decisions necessary to repair the city’s fragile financial state, which led to his decision to run for mayor.
“I saw…a need to have somebody with some business experience, in addition to public service, to kind of take a fresh look at it and say, ‘Is there a way that the city can meet the obligations it has by balancing the checkbook, making the kind of hard decisions and bringing people to the table for discussion that you have to do…in business if you have payroll to make?’” Sarwark said.
He criticized some of the council’s recent votes, including the sale of the Sheraton Grand Phoenix downtown hotel [at] a $50 million loss, and the decision to spread the city’s pension debt over time, which could add billions to the debt.
Sarwark also said council members spend too much time accusing one another of causing Phoenix’s issues, instead of fixing them. Although he’s deeply involved in the Libertarian Party, he said he’s focused on getting the city back to its basic functions, like keeping the “streets safe and clean water” — not partisan “pet projects.”
“I’m trying to take the partisanship out of it, and I feel like there’s no better way…than to point out that I’m not part of either of those teams that spent all of the council meetings throwing rocks at each other,” he said. “I don’t play for either of those teams, so everybody’s going to be treated fairly.”
Sarwark joins Republican Moses Sanchez and council members Daniel Valenzuela and Kate Gallego, both Democrats, in the race to replace Stanton, also a Democrat. City elections are nonpartisan, but politics often play a role in Phoenix.
Stanton, who is running for Congress, has not yet resigned or said when he intends to do so. He must resign by May 30, but he could resign before then.
If he resigns prior to April 20, the election to replace him will be held in August. If he resigns after that, the election would be in November.
Visit Sarwark’s campaign website at SarwarkForPhoenix.com.