Tempe voters elect Woods, Navarro to council - East Valley Tribune: News

Tempe voters elect Woods, Navarro to council

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Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 8:48 pm | Updated: 9:53 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Two newcomers are joining the Tempe City Council, after Joel Navarro and Corey Woods were elected by voters Tuesday. Four candidates, including Vice Mayor Hut Hutson, were running for the final two spots on the seven-member board. None of the four received more than 50 percent of the vote during the March 11 primary election.

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Navarro received the most votes — about 27.2 percent, according to unofficial election results — while Woods placed second with about 25.6 percent.

Coming in third was Julie Jakubek, with about 24.1 percent. Hutson, seeking a second term, finished last with about 22.7 percent.

With the addition of the 29-year-old Woods and Navarro, 40, the council now has a more youthful look.

In 2004, the average age of the council was 53 years old; five members were 50-plus. But now, the average age is less than 43, with Councilman Ben Arredondo, 60, the oldest.

“I think the people of Tempe are ready for change,” said Navarro, a firefighter in Phoenix. “This is a real exciting time; we are going to bring some good, fresh ideas to the council.”

Added Mayor Hugh Hallman: “Tempe is always willing to look to new faces, and right now it wants a new council.”

Woods is the first African-American elected to the council in the city’s 114-year history. Currently, of Tempe’s population of about 159,000, less than 4 percent are black.

“I didn’t run as an African-American candidate; I ran as a candidate who happened to be African-American,” Woods said.

But the significance wasn’t lost on Woods. Breaking that barrier, he said, meant others could follow his lead.

Hutson, meanwhile, said he harbored no ill will toward those who voted him out.

“I’m just real proud they let me serve,” said Hutson, whose legacy was fiscal conservatism. “They’ve chosen a different direction, and I support them 100 percent.”

Jakubek could not be reached for comment after the official results were announced.

The runoff election was low on fireworks, with the primary difference between the candidates being their stances on the city’s property-tax rate.

Hutson and Jakubek favored lowering the tax, but the winning candidates expressed caution, saying a lower tax rate could slow or stop some planned improvements.

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