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Mesa's mayor gives last State of the City before term limits force him out

Mesa Mayor John Giles, who will face term limits at the end of 2024, gave what could be his final State of the City at the Mesa Convention Center Tuesday.

The hourlong presentation, featuring large screens and animations, started with a comedic sci-fi inspired video starring Giles and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Alice Cooper, with a cameo from Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly. 

Giles went on to highlight some of the city’s major projects, such as a 10.5-mile long pipeline for reclaimed water and millions of dollars in investments for electric vehicle chargers. He also highlighted higher-education growth, partnering with NAU and ASU, and expanding the Mesa College Promise, which provides two free years of community college education. The expansion includes adults returning to school or continuing their education in the program.

ASU President Michael Crow spoke about ASU's expansion into downtown Mesa, and the success of the MIX Center. NAU will be building a new Hospitality Workforce Development Center.

Giles also took a look back at the past decade since his tenure as mayor began. A Mesa native, Giles was first elected in a special election in 2014. Over the next decade, Mesa saw significant investments by tech companies, including Meta and Apple, as well as new factories from Google and Amazon on the horizon.

Giles prioritized transportation and higher education issues, which both helped revitalize the city’s downtown. The Valley Metro light rail has expanded, and the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport has grown significantly. 

The Mesa Charter only allows for two consecutive terms of a mayor. Giles has served for almost a full decade as a result of winning the special election in 2014, giving him an extra two years in the role. Giles will have the opportunity to run again in 2028. 

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Spencer West was an intern for KJZZ in 2024.