‘I learned so much’ in 5 years, says departing Mesa council member Higgins - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

‘I learned so much’ in 5 years, says departing Mesa council member Higgins

Cites full-time work commitments as reason for resignation from Mesa City Council

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Posted: Saturday, July 13, 2013 4:58 am | Updated: 12:19 am, Tue Jul 16, 2013.

Due in large part to the large amount of travel required for her full-time position, Mesa City Council member Dina Higgins said she’ll resign from her seat as the District 5 representative.

Higgins, who announced her decision to step down from her seat in a press release on July 9, was first elected in 2008, when she beat out opponent Phil Austin in a special election to replace Rex Griswold, who left the position to run for mayor that same year. Griswold ended up losing the race to current mayor Scott Smith in a runoff election.

After finishing the two-year term, Higgins ran again for the District 5 seat in 2010 and won that election unopposed.

Over the last five years, Higgins said the perception of Mesa has changed exponentially, as she said people she talks to from out of town comment positively on the steps the city has taken in the last few years. Among the changes Mesa has undergone since Higgins came on the council is the Riverview/Wrigleyville West project, the recruitment of the Oakland A’s back to Mesa, the extension of the light rail project into the downtown area and a slew of educational institutions, for example Benedictine University, to the city. Another change she mentioned comes from the Mesa residents, who she said have developed a level of pride in their community that wasn’t there before the changes started to come.

As a council member, Higgins said she’s come to understand the roles a multitude of employees play in the city’s day-to-day operation.

“I learned so much about so many things,” she said.

The decision to leave her seat came from two major factors, the most prominent being her position as a business development manager for Severn Trent Services. The position, which she acquired during her time in office, keeps her “on the road a lot” and makes it difficult to manage those duties with her role as a council member and at home.

Higgins will remain a council member until Aug. 15, when the council will reconvene after its current vacation.

“It’s a natural end,” she said.

Per the Mesa charter, the council has 30 days to appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of her term — the seat is up for re-election in 20014 — after the vacancy occurs, or can call a special election within 120 days of the vacancy.

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