Candidates for Gilbert Town Council
Community of Residence: Gilbert
Occupation: Vice Mayor
Education Background: B.S. /Brigham Young University (Geography and International Relations
M.P.A. / University of Colorado
Brief summary of employment history: 25 year employee of the Town of Gilbert, Planning Director and Parks Manager
List of community organizations you belong to: Board of Directors, Gilbert Historical Society; Board of Directors, Superstition Area Land Trust
How long have you lived in the Town of Gilbert/District? 32 years
Scott Anderson was elected to the Town Council in 2016 and is currently serving as Vice Mayor. He has been involved in the planning and development of Gilbert as a staff member since moving here in 1988 with his wife EJ, and five children. In 2013, he retired from the Town of Gilbert.
The founding father of the Gilbert Riparian Preserve, it was his idea to transform a waste water treatment site from simple water recharge into a national award winning project that has become one of the most popular visitor destinations in the state. The preserves have been studied and copied by communities around the world seeking to be more sustainable. While Director of the Riparian Institute, Scott partnered with local organizations and businesses to create the Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory, the only dedicated public observatory in the region.
Before his work with the riparian preserves, Scott was the Planning and Zoning Director for Gilbert for 12 years where he managed a department that saw the Town grow from a population of 20,000 to over 100,000. As Director, Scott created a general plan, managed all planning and zoning processes, including changes to the zoning code, and began work on special area plans such as the Heritage district and San Tan Area Plan.
Scott has a degree in Geography and International Relations from Brigham Young University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Colorado.
Community of Residence: La Aldea Community
Business: New Zeal Intl. / Willis Tower Watson
Occupation: Digital consultant
Education Background: BA- Political Science (State University of New York at Albany, MA- International Affairs (City University of New York), On-going MBA (Southern New Hampshire University)
Brief summary of employment history: I have worked in Finance and Insurance the last 10 years, which includes Vanguard, Nationwide and Lincoln Financial. I current work in technology. I am Project Management Professional, Certified Scrum Master and A Certified Product Owner. (MA. PMP. CSM. CSPO.)
List of community organizations you belong to: Bethel Chandler, Gilbert leadership Class XV, Apolitical (An International group for local government leaders worldwide).
How long have you lived in the Town of Gilbert/District? 6 years
Community of Residence: Gilbert, AZ
Business: Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
Education Background: Central Texas College, Institute for Organization Management (US Chamber of Commerce)
Brief summary of employment history:
Thirty-two years’ experience with Chamber of Commerce industry, 23-years as President/CEO with the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce. Leadership in business advocacy, community planning, downtown redevelopment, community projects, and business promotion. Championed saving the Water Tower and development of Water Tower Park. More than tripled the membership at the Chamber, while building an outstanding leadership team of Chamber professionals.
List of community organizations you belong to:
Gilbert Chamber of Commerce
East Valley Chambers of Commerce Alliance (founder and former Chair)
Gilbert Leadership (founder and Graduate of Class 1)
Gilbert Sister Cities
Positive Paths (founder and former Chair) and named “East Valley Woman of the Year”
Gilbert Police Citizens Academy (graduate)
How long have you lived in the Town of Gilbert/District? 16 years
Give three (3) qualifications/skill sets that make you a leading candidate for Town Council. Explain why these qualifications make you a better candidate than your opponents.
Experience, Vision, and Civility. I have experience working within and understanding the organization of Gilbert after working as an employee for 25 years and now on the Council. Several of the Town’s current success stories were a result of the vision of myself and others in the Town, including the Heritage District, Riparian Preserve and many innovative neighborhood designs. Civility is important because the successes we have enjoyed and will continue to have depends on the way we treat each other in the community. These qualifications are unique to someone who understands, through extensive experience, how Gilbert can continue to succeed.
a. I am a Digital consultant who has a knack innovation trends. I do believe that I bring an experience and expertise that would encourage digital companies in adding value to the economic growth in Gilbert. I do believe that we need a candidate that can drive technology growth in Gilbert.
b. International /multi-cultural relations in Gilbert- Gilbert is growing in population and many people of diverse background who live in Gilbert but are disengaged from Gilbert Town as a whole. These are highly skilled residents that no one has reached out to. These residents work for major corporations like Intel and Deloitte etc. We need a candidate that is conscious of our demographics in Gilbert and can engage this population. As the council represents a larger pool of people in Gilbert, there is still a growing minority that is disconnected. I am an International Relations Expert. I was part of Global Leadership Program in Cordoba, Argentina organized by Global Leadership Institute. I was one of the top 20 global leaders who represent 11 countries to come up with policies that would transform local communities.
c. Legislative Aid and Community Advocacy- I have worked as a legislative aid and a community advocate. I have worked on bills that has been passed into law. I understand how the government works. I chose to run for Gilbert Town Council because I want to be a candidate that is close to the heart of the people. I am a candidate that is your normal neighbor that you can talk and as well a servant leader. I have also been part of community board for youth and education.
Proven Leader – After 32+ years in the Chamber industry, I have served and been fortunate to be recognized at the local, regional, and national level industry boards and commissions as a thought-leader and implementer. I have served on countless Town of Gilbert stakeholder groups determining standards, zoning, general plans, bonds, regulations, budgets, and tax policies. Phoenix Business Journal identified me as top 25 “Most Admired Leaders” for my work in the community and region in 2017.
Business Advocate – My advocacy leadership for businesses at the Town and State level has resulted in significant pro-business regulations (and in many cases the elimination of overburdensome regulations/taxes) and an 85%+ ranking of successful efforts.
25+ years in Gilbert’s growth and success – I have been involved in Gilbert’s planning since the economic and residential boom that started in the 1990’s, a time that has contributed to the Gilbert we love today. I will bring the institutional knowledge, the ability to identify unintended consequences, and the voice of reason as important decisions are made on strategic investments for the future.
What is your vision for Gilbert in 20-30 years?
Gilbert will be built out and the metrics of our recently adopted City of the Future initiative will show that we continue to be a sustainable community.
In 20-30 years from now, I see Gilbert as a hub of young entrepreneurs. I see Gilbert becoming a Silicon Valley for young families with big dreams. I also see it as a place where those new entrepreneurs will honor the history and those who have made Gilbert a welcoming place for all of us.
My vision is that the decisions made by Town leadership today means the Town of Gilbert is financially sustainable to provide best in class services for its residents and businesses through innovation and strategic investments 20 and 30 years from now. The Town is already a leader in setting the standard for quality of life throughout the community, embracing diversity of thought and participation. Our children and grandchildren will be provided excellence in education and career opportunities.
What are the top two (2) priorities you would like to see accomplished during your term on the Town Council?
There would actually be three priorities, as outlined in the City of the Future initiative, including a strong economy (diversity and stability), a prosperous community (clean, safe and vibrant) and an exceptional built environment where our infrastructure meets the needs of our current and future quality of life.
a. As a council member, we would place a higher priority and emphasis on small businesses ahead of big corporations
b. We would honor those who long lived residents without forcing them to relocate under eminent domain
c. Greater investment to mental health hotlines that would decrease the rising suicide rate among young people in Arizona
I intend to ensure the Town of Gilbert has a financially viable transportation long-term plan in place to address traffic congestion, road safety, and convenience.
I will lend my expertise to ensure the Town of Gilbert proactively expands economic development through pro-business regulations, taxes and environment. Councilmembers and constituents must recognize the importance and impact of all small, medium, and large businesses throughout our community.
How will these priorities further the long-term sustainability and economic growth of Gilbert and tie into your future vision for Gilbert?
These priorities will ensure that Gilbert remains as a top ranked community in many categories and our quality of life will remain consistent over time.
An empowered and skilled young population would further lead to start-ups that would transform Gilbert as the technology hub. This would encourage highly skilled residents irrespective of race and background. A stable resident would also mean stronger families and a stronger community.
A strong transportation plan will ensure moving goods and commerce throughout the community which in turn translates into valuable tax dollars for the Town. A strong and successful business community will reduce the taxes paid by residents and ensures vital infrastructure is maintained and replaced in a timely manner.
If elected to the Town Council, who would you consider to be your stakeholders and how would you propose to represent them?
My stakeholders are as diverse as the community. My responsibility is to listen to anyone who has an influence on making and keeping this community prosperous.
First and foremost, the town of Gilberts residents are my constituents and also stakeholders. I am a neighbor, a father, a husband and a friend. I will hear the heart of neighbors. I connect with neighbors just like good neighbors do, with a knock on the door and pumpkin pie on my hand. I will listen to the issues that affect them. I will not make promises that I cannot deliver to get votes. I will work with our neighbors who are shunned because they are different. I will involve highly skilled neighbors in our council process. I will encourage them to share their opinions as they have a stake as well in our community. I will not only listen to those I know, or I feel comfortable with. I will listen to every single resident irrespective of their political affiliation or religion. I am a man of faith, who believes in Jesus Christ unashamedly but that would not deter me to have a dinner with my Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Atheist neighbor.
All residents and businesses would be my stakeholders and their feedback will be invaluable in making sound decisions for Gilbert’s future. I’d ensure the appropriate stakeholders are reached out to through an easy to use/participative medium that allows timely feedback. Ensuring businesses are listened to and represented is a top priority for me as their success is directly related to the success of the entire community.
What experience do you have with complex budgets?
My responsibilities during my career with the Town included developing an annual budget. In addition, I have been considering complex town-wide budgets for the last 4 years.
I have worked as legislative aid which includes analyzing budget that comes from the Ways and Means committee. As someone who works also in project management, I had to determine budget for the project that has to be implemented on regular basis. I am a fiscal conservative with some decorum.
I’ve served several years on the Town’s budget steering committee and have attended the various Town financial retreats which provides me with valuable insight into the process and priorities. I have managed and developed an annual non-profit organization budget for 25+ years. I also started two additional non-profits; setting up the initial structure to meet IRS regulations and I was responsible to not only meet the financial responsibility but also live within our means of all organizations.
How would you propose to interact with the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce and how do you see your respective roles on issues that may come before the Town Council?
The Chamber plays an important role in our City of the Future initiative. A strong economy, prosperous community and exceptional built environment all depend on input from the Chamber and its members. I will continue to seek out input from our business community in an effort to receive all information that may affect Gilbert’s ability to remain sustainable.
I respect and honor the chambers of commerce as they connect all the businesses within Gilbert. I hope for their neutrality and respect to all the candidates running irrespective of their affiliation with Chambers of Commerce. As much honor I have duly given the Chambers of Commerce, I hope for that same honor. Issues that comes before the council will be viewed on case by case basis. I will listen to the opinion of the residents before making a decision. I will not push my political preference above those I represent. I will analyze every issue that we would have to vote on. I will talk to the people. I will ask pertinent questions. I will not put the interest of businesses at expense of those who call Gilbert home. I will ask three questions before voting on any issue. These questions are: How does it benefit the residents of Gilbert, What changes will it cause, and who will this impact in the future.
I will be a champion for the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce and its members through pro-active, strategic efforts to reach-out and learn of business issues, as well as, introducing the Chamber to new business partners. I will be an active participant in Chamber events representing the Town of Gilbert. I will have an eagle-eye on any issues that come before the Town Council that may impact business and I will reach out to the Chamber to receive feedback prior to making these important decisions.