As a first-time political candidate, Scott Smith was elected Mayor of Mesa, Arizona in May of 2008.
The Mayor's private sector experience as a business consultant and homebuilder allowed him to usher in a new era of decisive leadership and civic engagement. Within weeks of taking office in 2008, Mesa found itself in an unprecedented budget crisis. Smith restructured city departments and operations and cut more than $65 million from Mesa's operating budget. While these cuts were deep, swift action enabled Mesa to handle the fiscal downturn early with fewer disruptions than many neighboring cities.
After stabilizing the City's financial situation, Smith lead a successful effort to keep Chicago Cubs spring training in Mesa - securing the future of a 50-year baseball tradition in the Cactus League and a powerful tourism driver in the region.
Mayor Smith negotiated some of the biggest economic development deals in Mesa's history. Smith helped seal the deal for First Solar to build a solar module manufacturing plant in Mesa. At full build out, First Solar will bring nearly 5,000 high-wage jobs ranging from accounting and manufacturing to engineering and information technology.
Most recently, Mayor Smith played a key role in securing the Mesa Arts Center for the February 22 GOP Presidential Debate by giving CNN producers a personal tour of the state-of-the-art facility.
In January 2010, Mayor Smith unveiled iMesa, an exciting initiative designed to invigorate Mesa through transformative community projects. Leveraging technology for civic engagement, iMesa is a grassroots improvement effort where residents submit, vote and comment on ideas that will transform the community.
As a strong proponent of regional solutions, Mayor Smith serves in key roles on many local, state and national boards and committees. Most recently, Smith was elected as the Second Vice President of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM). He will become the organization's president in 2013 and the first Arizona mayor to serve as president of the organization.
The Wall Street Journal, Politico and the Arizona Republic have run op ed pieces about the national debt crisis co-authored by Smith, USCM President Antonio Villaraigosa (Los Angeles) and Vice President Michael Nutter (Philadelphia). Smith has also been featured on Bloomberg TV, MSNBC with Andrea Mitchell, CNBC's Kudlow Report and in the Washington Post.
Mayor Smith also serves on the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Council Executive Committee and Transportation Policy Committee, League of Cities and Towns Executive Board, and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Board.
The Arizona Republic named Mayor Smith the city's MVP, stating that, "Smith is restoring Mesa to its rightful place as a regional leader. He has strengthened ties with several cities and has gained the confidence of many skeptical residents. The change is so marked that we shudder to think what shape the city would be in without him at the helm."
Mayor Smith earned a degree in Accounting from BYU, and MBA and JD degrees from Arizona State. He and his wife Kim have been married for more than 30 years and have three children and three grandchildren.
[Information courtesy www.scottsmithformayor.com]
Guest Commentary by Danny Tyree
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