Ballots tallied in Tucson’s election this week amounted to a historic victory for Regina Romero. As the city’s first Latina mayor, she will also preside over an all-Democratic City Council. Democrats won their races for City Council by wide margins. Voters also overwhelmingly rejected the so-called sanctuary city initiative and another measure that would have raised the mayor and council’s pay.
Arizona 360 took a deeper dive into the results with a roundtable that included Arizona Public Media news director Andrea Kelly, Tucson Local Media executive editor Jim Nintzel, Arizona Daily Star editorial page editor Sarah Garrecht Gassen and Tucson Sentinel editor Dylan Smith.
Tucson Mayor-elect Regina Romero sat down with Arizona Public Media’s Duncan Moon to discuss her agenda and immediate priorities after she takes her oath of office in December.
During her first 180 days as mayor, Romero said she plans to create advisory councils that can help her develop policies around the issues she campaigned on such as climate change, economic development and infrastructure investments. She also wants to meet with leaders of the Pasqua Yaqui Tribe and the Tohono O’odham Nation to put together a memorandum of understanding that would include raising their flags in the City Council’s chambers.
“I want to work in solidarity, for the benefit of our communities, with those nations,” Romero said.
While Romero did not support Proposition 205, better known as the sanctuary city initiative, she said she is open to working with organizers of the failed ballot measure to address their concerns.
“I want to continue working for the betterment of every single one of our residents, including our undocumented residents of Tucson,” Romero said. “If all of the stakeholders sit together ... and write ordinances and laws in the city of Tucson that can continue advancing that agenda, I think that is the best way to go about it.”
Romero also discussed the historical significance of her election as the city’s first Latina mayor and the example it sets for others.
“I’ve understood the past 12 years that I am, to many young women and girls, a model that they have not seen before,” Romero said. “I would hope that young women across Tucson and across Arizona understand that there is a seat at the table for our voices.”
This week, the newest member of the Tucson Unified School District’s Governing Board took his oath of office. Pima County School Superintendent Dustin Williams selected Bruce Burke out of 15 applicants to replace former board member Mark Stegeman after he resigned in early October. Burke previously served on the board from 2003 to 2010. He discussed his approach this time around with Duncan Moon.
“First of all, you have to appreciate that you’re just one of five. You cannot lead alone,” Burke said. “You need to listen to the community, take that into account, and then with the assistance of the superintendent and staff, come up with good sound policies. Hopefully by consensus.”
Burke will fill the remainder of Stegeman’s term through the end of 2020. Burke said he does not plan to run for another term.
“It is a short term. But I’m really in a position not to have to worry about being re-elected,” Burke said. “I’ll be able to devote my full energy to my board membership and working with the superintendent. I think it’s a plus for me.”