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Phoenix City Council picks Carlos Galindo-Elvira to fill vacancy

The Phoenix City Council selected Carlos Galindo-Elvira to fill the vacancy created when Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari resigned last month to run for Congress.

Galindo-Elvira beat out three other candidates: former Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski; Phoenix Planning Commission member Lisa Perez; and Valley of the Sun United Way executive Gilbert Arvizu. 

“We have worked together for 15 years, whether it be you helping set up leadership programs for the Latino and African American community, your fight against hate, or your work building coalitions … and it's good to be able to vote in your favor,” Mayor Kate Gallego said.

Galindo-Elvira says he wants to hit the ground running to address issues important to residents in Phoenix’s District 7.

He says those issues include public safety, homelessness and ensuring in-need residents can access resources to deal with the heat as summer approaches.

“Summer is coming; the hottest time of the year,” Galindo-Elvira said. “Sixty-five percent of this term will take place during that time, so heat resiliency is an important issue. I want to be out there on the forefront, ensuring that individuals who are unhoused, people who may not have amenities to cool their house, the elderly, and children are aware of all of the resources that are available within District 7.” 

He won’t have long to work on those priorities.

Galindo-Elvira will represent District 7 until November, when the city will hold a special election for City Council, unless no candidate receives over 50 percent of the vote. If that happens, he will serve until a special runoff election is held in March 2025. 

The city will also hold a separate regular election for the seat in November to pick a candidate to begin a new four-year term in April 2025.

Galindo-Elvira filed to run in the special election, but told the City Council he will not run in the regular election to seek a full four-year term. 

Councilman Kevin Robinson said that decision factored into his vote.

“I like the fact that he has stated that he is not interested in running for the position permanently,” Robinson said. “And I think that is a question to be decided by the residents in District 7.”

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Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.