By Maia Ordonez
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton commended Phoenix’s growth in his seventh State of the City address.
Stanton gave his final speech March 6 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, with over 1,000 people in attendance, before he steps down to run for a congressional seat.
Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, introduced the mayor and celebrated Stanton’s accomplishments as mayor.
“[Mayor Stanton] has made our city a national example of the positive power of diversity and inclusion as it relates to a strong community and a very strong economy,” Sanders said.
Jacob Tetlow, vice president of transmission and distribution for Arizona Public Service, who also helped introduce Stanton, said it has been “fascinating” to watch Phoenix grow with Stanton as mayor and that Phoenix has “a great story to tell.”
Stanton opened his speech by praising Phoenix’s economic growth during his time as mayor.
He said in the last year, Phoenix has had near record low unemployment rates and the highest wage growth of any region in the country.
Stanton said Phoenix’s success is something to be “proud” of and happened by choices made as a city, not as a result of chance.
“Together, we have made Phoenix stronger than ever. And more important,” Stanton said. “We have forever changed the course of our future for the better.”
The mayor also mentioned that Phoenix has grown its exports by 20 percent whereas nationwide exports have only grown by 0.1 percent since 2012.
He said that, “more than 100,000 Arizona jobs are supported by businesses taking part in the export economy” and that “improving trade is good for the Arizona economy.”
Stanton also discussed a 2012 problem when Phoenix had one of the highest rates of young people who neither went to school nor had a job. He said Phoenix joined Maricopa County, ASU and Starbucks to host a youth career fair to tackle the issue at hand.
Stanton mentioned that through the leadership of Vice Mayor Laura Pastor, Phoenix teamed up with local nonprofits to establish 12 re-engagement centers that are focused on helping young people get the tools they need to get into the workforce. Stanton said this model is the first of its kind in the nation and that it is “seeing great success.”
Stanton closed his last State of the City address optimistically and said Phoenix is not only growing, but is growing up.
He explained that Phoenix has made smart choices, not shortsighted ones and that every decision and investment has been made with an eye toward the future.
“Serving as your mayor has been the greatest honor of my life,” Stanton said. “I want to thank each and every one of you—for your friendship, for your partnership and for making me more optimistic than ever about what our future holds.”
Editor’s note: Maia Ordonez is a student at the Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communication.