Scottsdale City Council candidates talk election qualifications

Scottsdale Elections BallotScottsdale voters Tuesday, Nov. 8 will elect a mayor and three members to Scottsdale City Council as two candidates have emerged in pursuit of the mayor’s seat while there are four candidates for three city council seats.

Scottsdale mayoral candidate Bill Crawford Wednesday, June 1 abandoned his campaign giving the city of Scottsdale the option to push the mayoral and city council elections to the general election, a move officials say could save the municipality about $150,000.

Voters in March 2010 approved a Charter amendment — the city of Scottsdale’s constitution — allowing the city to forgo the primary election process if no more than two candidates exist for each open seat, according to Scottsdale City Clerk Carolyn Jagger.

Scottsdale City Council is expected to approve on consent Resolution No. 10498 that will dispense of the city’s planned Aug. 30 primary election and will call a special election to run concurrently with the November general election, according to the Tuesday, June 7 city council meeting agenda.

Scottsdale mayoral candidates are Mayor Jim Lane and challenger Bob Littlefield while council candidates are Suzanne Klapp, Virginia Korte, Guy Phillips and Dan Schweiker. Ms. Klapp, Ms. Korte and Mr. Phillips are seeking re-election.

The Scottsdale Independent and the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting two debates leading up to the November general election. In addition, the newspaper will offer a weekly question-and-answer column with candidates from both the mayoral and council races.

To kick-off the series, read below to learn a little bit about the four individuals seeking a seat on Scottsdale City Council.

Suzanne Klapp

Councilwoman Klapp, an incumbent candidate, says she has been focused on government, business and leadership since her 20s.

Suzanne Klapp

Suzanne Klapp

Her vast business experience includes 14 years with the Whirlpool Corp. and the ownership of a plastics manufacturing plant in Indiana and was general manager of a logistics center in Los Angeles.
Throughout her over 40-year business career, Councilwoman Klapp has been involved in improving the cities where she has lived.

In Scottsdale for the last 18 years, Councilwoman Klapp has been serving on city council since January 2009, and owning and operating two FASTFRAME retail franchise stores in the city. She is a graduate of Valley Leadership and serves on the Advisory Board for Scottsdale Leadership.

She was instrumental in forming the Scottsdale Gateway Alliance to encourage development and reinvestment in the McDowell Road Corridor and has been a member of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, several Rotary clubs, and is an elected Republican precinct committeeman.

Councilwoman Klapp was recently elected Treasurer of Valley Metro’s RPTA Board of Directors that provides transportation leadership in Maricopa County.

•Why are you running for Scottsdale City Council?
I continue to be motivated to serve in Scottsdale government and to set the policy direction provided by the Council. Councilwoman is an ideal job for my skills and experience. The council is similar to a board of directors, where we help set the mission and goals and allow the professional staff to manage the city operations. I chair the council’s audit subcommittee, helping to oversee many efficiencies and cost-saving operational changes. The council job is always challenging, and I find it particularly rewarding.

•What do you think separates you from the pack of candidates?

Throughout my long business career and my recent nearly eight years as a councilwoman, I have always been focused on economic development and strategic planning as well as conservative taxation and regulatory policies. My business background has been lengthy and varied, both as a top manager working within a business and as an entrepreneur in several industries. I champion the small business community and improved economic measures in the city, including assuring that sales and property tax rates are held down and supporting elimination of a city tax on food consumed in the home. I encouraged the council’s strategic plan for goals and strategies in the city over the last several years. I spend all my time on running my own business every day and serving residents as their councilwoman. Citizens regularly walk right into my retail store to seek help and advice from me on city matters. My energy and enthusiasm for the council responsibilities is constant and concentrated on improving life and city services in Scottsdale.

Virginia Korte

Councilwoman Korte, an incumbent candidate, says she has been contributing to the Scottsdale community for decades.

Virginia Korte

Virginia Korte

In 1981 Councilwoman Korte joined her family business — Ray Korte Chevrolet — where she served in various roles until becoming general manager and dealer in 1991. When the dealership was sold in 1998, Councilwoman Korte became a professor of biology at Scottsdale Community College.

As chair of the 1993 McDowell Mountain Task Force Councilwoman Korte was a part of the effort to recommend creation of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve where she was involved in the public advocacy of ballot measures to further expand the Preserve, increase funding and trail access amenities.

In 1996, Councilwoman Korte was named to the board of directors of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, and in 2002, she was hired as president and CEO. Councilwoman Korte left the Chamber in 2008 to take on the role of president and CEO of Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services. She served as STARS CEO through 2014.

In addition, Councilwoman Korte spent 10 years on the Board of the Maricopa County Community Colleges Foundation, including one term as president.

Councilwoman Korte began serving her first term on Scottsdale City Council on Jan. 8, 2013.

•Why are you running for Scottsdale City Council?

I am seeking my second term on the city council to be a voice for Scottsdale’s future — which means continuing to move our city in the right direction with the right priorities while being prudent with tax dollars. During my first term on the council, I made decisions about policies that helped grow and diversify our economy as well as attract businesses with well-paying jobs. I intend to continue my commitment to revitalizing the McDowell Road Corridor and encouraging economic development in southern Scottsdale where my family has deep roots that go back decades. “Scottsdale First” is my campaign slogan. It is my moral compass when it comes to making the decisions I make for the city. I put the city first. As a member of the City Council, I believe it is my responsibility to make decisions based on what the next generation will need.

•What do you think separates you from the pack of candidates?

My diversity of experience in business and community involvement makes me a unique city council candidate and, I believe, an asset to citizens. That experience also provides me with an important perspective about how to balance our city’s rich history with our exceptional potential for the future. I have managed a car dealership with 175 employees, served as head of the Chamber of Commerce and the president and CEO of Scottsdale’s Training and Rehabilitation Services, our city’s premier nonprofit organization serving individuals with developmental disabilities. I have also been a college professor. I am proud to have served on committees that have successfully worked on behalf of local school capital bond and budget override elections. I have also been integrally involved from day one with establishing and growing our precious McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Guy Phillips

Councilman Phillips, an incumbent candidate, says he stands for property owner rights and is a defender against the encroachment of development.

Guy Phillips

Guy Phillips

Councilman Phillips was raised in Phoenix and a graduate of Camelback High in 1977. He moved to Scottsdale in 1992. Councilman Phillips has been married to Corazon for 20 years. The couple has five children all of whom have been educated through the Scottsdale Unified School District.

Councilman Phillips owns Budget Mechanical, an A/C and heating contracting business. He is a member of the Better Business Bureau, The Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association, The Arizona Small Business Association, Parada Del Sol and is CEO of A/C & Heating Help, a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Although Scottsdale is nonpartisan, Councilman Phillips is a registered Republican. Councilman Phillips says he has consistently voted against any tax or rate increases and has fought and defeated two bond elections to raise resident property taxes.

Councilman Phillips is serving his first term on Scottsdale City Council.

•Why are you running for Scottsdale City Council?
I am currently running for second term on the city council because I believe I have successfully represented the citizens these past 3.5 years, but there is more to do and more to defend. The residents of Scottsdale need someone on Council they can turn to and I would be proud to continue as that person.

•What do you think separates you from the pack of candidates?
I represent the people, not special interest big money backers, so I don’t have to vote for certain projects like the DDC and can focus my attention on fiscal responsibility and neighborhood issues.

Dan Schweiker

Mr. Schweiker, the challenger, has lived and worked in Scottsdale for nearly 30 years. He says he has prioritized public service and giving back to the community while growing his business as co-founder of China Mist.

Dan Schweiker

Dan Schweiker

“I knew the dynamic pro-business environment of Scottsdale would aid it but I had no idea it would experience the growth and reach it has today,” he said in a June 1 statement. “I don’t think China Mist would have been as successful without its headquarters being in Scottsdale, where many of our employees enjoy the city’s tremendous quality of life every day.”

Mr. Schweiker says he has been giving back to the community by leading on transportation issues, philanthropic efforts and working with people of diverse backgrounds to move Scottsdale forward.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to know the people who call Scottsdale home through groups like the Scottsdale Cultural Council and the Scottsdale Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and learning about what makes this city tick,” he said. “I’m proud to be a part of Scottsdale and I’m ready to serve its residents as a Scottsdale City Councilman.”

•Why are you running for Scottsdale City Council?

I’m running for Scottsdale City Council because we need leaders to continue to step forward and come up with solutions to problems instead of kicking the can down the road. My background as the co-founder of China Mist Tea gives me the perfect perspective to see how government can either aid or hinder the growth of small businesses and how Scottsdale can do better when it comes to economic development. As a councilman, I would make it a priority to work for and represent every part of Scottsdale, from the communities north of the Loop 101 to those in central (my home) and south Scottsdale. Every family, no matter their ZIP code, deserves a voice that will work to balance development with the desire to maintain our city’s quality of life. From leading on transportation issues to tourism initiatives and pro-business efforts, I’m proud to own a proven record of working with different groups of people and executing a strategy that benefits everyone.

•What do you think separates you from the pack of candidates?

I believe my background as a Scottsdale small businessman gives me a unique perspective into how government can either aid or hinder the future of a small business. I know first-hand what it’s like to deal with regulations that hurt economic development, as well as the importance of a high quality of life to keeping employees satisfied. As a councilman, I would be able to provide a strong voice for businesses who are looking to start and grow in Scottsdale and ensure our city has a nurturing environment. I also have a proven track record of working together and representing people from across different backgrounds and perspectives. In working with the Maricopa Association of Governments on transportation issues facing the Valley, it was imperative that we took into consideration how our actions will impact families from Goodyear to Gilbert. It is time the Scottsdale City Council had a representative that stood up for central and south Scottsdale and made sure their voices were heard when it comes to the big issues facing our community.

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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