7 candidates vying for 3 El Mirage City Council seats. What to know (2024)

Corrections & Clarifications: An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect number of City Council seats up for election. There are three open seats on the council.

El Mirage voters are deciding who will fill three City Council seats in the July 30 election. Residents are voting among three City Council incumbents and four new candidates.

This comes at a time when El Mirage is facing concerns when it comes to economic development, property taxes and transparency with residents.

Voters are deciding between candidates who advocate for business and industrial growth and those who are concerned with overspending on unnecessary expansions and buildings.

El Mirage City Council incumbents Roy Delgado, Robert Jones and David Shapera are hoping to retain their seats.

Four newcomers hoping to replace their incumbent competitors. Specifically, the newcomers are Ryan Eldridge, Scottie Gentry, James McPhetres and Jacquelyn Parsons.

Jones and McPhetres were the only candidates who did not respond to the Arizona Republic's questionnaire.

Arizona local elections:Read our full coverage of the El Mirage council race

Early voting began on July 3. Voters can check on the status of their mailed-in ballot on Maricopa County’s website at https://elections.maricopa.gov/voting/voter-dashboard-login. Thosewho choose to voteby mail areadvised to mailtheir ballotbyJuly 23 or drop it off at aballot drop-off location or voting location by July 30.

Who is running for City Council for El Mirage?

Each candidate touts their own connections to the city.

Roy Delgado, 82, was raised in New Mexico. He joined the U.S. Army and served for 21 years.He moved to Northern California and worked in the oil industry for Union Oil and the job eventually brought him to Arizona.

He first got involved with politics in the late 1970s when he worked with Cesar Chavez on fighting to improve the treatment of farm workers.

He and his family moved to El Mirage in 1997 and he has sat on the council for 23 years and was mayor for a short time. He currently serves as the city's representative for the Community Development Advisory Committee of Maricopa County Human Services Division.

Ryan Eldridge, 47, is a former small business owner who now manages a multi-million dollar security agency with over 200 employees.

Scottie Gentry, 52, has lived in El Mirage since 1971. She attended El Mirage Elementary, Dysart Junior High and Dysart High School. She attended Estrella Mountain Community College in the early 1990s where she studied the administrative justice system.

Gentry was a member of the city swim team and 4-H club in the early 80s. In early 2000 she volunteered with the El Mirage Police Department where she was voted in as secretary for Citizens on Patrol.

In early 2023 she stood up against the City Council to keep Bill Gentry Park, a park named after her father, as a baseball field. She was the treasurer for El Mirage Citizens Against the Bond 2023 and has worked for Tricare and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Robert Jones, 71, has called Arizona home for 61 years and has been a resident of El Mirage since 2002.

He has a business background which includes experience in retail management, sales and distribution, customer service, and is a small business entrepreneur.

Jones spent years as an elementary school teacher until he retired in 2005. He worked on the task force to add Riverview Elementary School as an El Mirage addition to the Dysart Unified School District.

He introduced the first coed Cub Scout pack in Arizona while serving as Cub Master. He also served as a member of the Dysart Community Center’s board of directors.

Jones also serves his community by being on the Cactus Park Homeowners Association, and served as President since 2010. He was appointed to the El Mirage Planning and Zoning Committee in 2007 and, in 2012, served as committee chair.

He completed four years on the City Council before retiring as vice mayor.

James McPhetres, 69, has been living in Arizona since 1987 and has been a resident of El Mirage since 2000.

He is currently on the Peoria Chamber of Commerce board. He owns a small business in Peoria and has been a board member of the Phoenix Asian Lions Club. He is a retired Air Force Veteran.

Jacquelyn Parsons, 61, has been a resident of El Mirage for 21 years. She has worked in the banking sector for 25 years and was the treasurer on the board of Little League. She also volunteers at her local church.

David Shapera, 71, moved to El Mirage in 2002. He was a past member of and chairperson of the El Mirage Planning and Zoning Commission.He was first elected to serve on City Council in 2008.

He has more than 51 years in elected and appointed positions in government. He is a retired Connecticut police officer and was a corporate security and safety executive.

He was a Nevada police officer and a Clark County medical examiner investigator. He taught high school in Clark County and also taught at the Dysart Unified School District which he recently retired from.

What issues are the candidates prioritizing in El Mirage?

All of the candidates expressed their commitment to hearing residents out and making sure they have a voice. Some had more specific plans for El Mirage.

Jones' main priority is to work on the city parks and improve the parks and recreation department. He plans on gathering feedback from the community on the park system and seeing what improvement the city budget could allow.

McPhetres also expressed his support in bringing recreation back into the city by introducing adult and youth leagues.

Parsons wants to focus on making all City Council meetings livestreamed and recorded so that residents who were not able to attend are still informed.

Delgado and Shapera want to prioritize economic development in the area to ensure the city can provide services the residents need.

What are their thoughts on helping the homeless?

Each candidate understands how this is an issue not just in their community but all across the world. Some candidates gave a detailed approach to the issue.

Eldridge wants to bring back the El Mirage Cares program, which educated residents on mental challenges and homelessness. He states the homeless situation is not going to go away, the best thing to do is work with the city and state on finding the best resources to address the issue.

Gentry notes that the city has to be open to helping residents that are in need. She recalls when people she knew were turned away from the Community Action Program office due to the city running out of money. She states the city then turns around and spends over $207,000 on a walking trail which is money that could have been used to help those in need or is homeless.

Arizona primary election 2024:Who is running for mayor, city council?

What are their thoughts on how funds are being used in El Mirage?

All of the candidates believe there needs to be a balanced budget and fiscal responsibility.

Eldridge, Gentry, and Parsons stated how the city can’t keep going out and borrowing money and using emergency reserves, instead they think impact fees should be reinstated.

On a livestream they recalled when the past City Council wanted to extend city hall and build another fire department.

Even though they stated their support of the fire department, they agreed with each other that the buildings were not needed and the city needs to be responsible with spending.

McPhetres also believes the city needs to get back in shape when it comes to spending, but supports the idea of building another fire station.

He states how he does not disagree with the idea of expanding the fire department as long as it’s not done on the backs of taxpayers, the impact fees should be put back in place.

Major Endorsem*nts?

Delgado, Jones, and Shapera are endorsed by Arizona Police Association, the El Mirage Police Employees Association, and the El Mirage Firefighters.

Delgado has raised $11,000 in campaign contributions.

Eldridge, Gentry, and Parsons are endorsed by the Dysart District Board. They participated in a group fundraiser where they raised $2,700.

Eldridge has also raised about $1,300 in campaign contributions. He is also endorsed by Arizona Representative Beverly Pingerelli, Senator Frank Carrol, and Anthony Dodge, host of podcast All American Dream Catcher.

Parsons has raised $150 in campaign contributions and receives support from Councilmember Anita Norton.

Gentry has raised $2,400 in campaign contributions.

McPhetres has not received any endorsem*nts and is self-funded.

Reach the reporter at kweaver@gannett.com.

7 candidates vying for 3 El Mirage City Council seats. What to know (2024)
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