Phoenix, Mesa mayors praised by President Joe Biden in D.C. address

Taylor Seely
Arizona Republic
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Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego was praised by President Biden at the United States Conference of Mayors 2023.

President Joe Biden praised the mayors of Phoenix and Mesa in an address Friday to city leaders from across the country.

More than 200 mayors gathered in Washington, D.C., for a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a non-partisan group that meets to discuss issues facing municipal governments.

At the end of the four-day event, Biden touted the work his administration has done to advance the country's economy and bring back manufacturing jobs. He said the country was beginning "to invest in ourselves again," thanks to the country's mayors.

He spotlighted Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and the jobs a new semiconductor factory under construction would bring to north Phoenix. The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company facility is scheduled to open its first factory in 2024 and a second in 2026.

"Our economic agenda ignited a manufacturing boom, a semiconductor boom, the battery boom, the electric vehicle boom. ... The mayor of Phoenix, Kate ...  I was with her last month to announce a small investment: $40 billion," Biden joked. "Two semiconductor factories and thousands of union workers helping to build them."

Keep reading:Here's how giant semiconductor plant rising in north Phoenix will shape Arizona's economy

Mayor Gallego appreciated the recognition. "It was a real high point to be recognized by President Biden as a city that is doing it right," she said.

Gallego said that throughout the conference she "had many conversations with other mayors about how they can apply to their own cities what we’re doing successfully in Phoenix," like heat mitigation and attracting both big and small businesses.  

Biden praised Mesa Mayor John Giles for how the city spent American Rescue Plan Act funds. He highlighted how the program empowered mayors to act swiftly, allowing them to apply to the federal government for funds directly, as opposed to funneling it through state legislatures.

"In Mesa, Arizona, Mayor Giles ... bought five new ambulances, hired behavioral health clinicians to help the fire department in crisis calls," Biden said.

Mesa "is ahead of where other cities are," Giles said about its work on 911 calls related to mental health. "The president's shoutout was justified, frankly. I'm proud of the fact that we are doing what a lot of communities want to do. And they're trying to catch up to us," he said.  

Gallego and Giles were two of five Arizona mayors registered for the U.S. Conference of Mayors gathering. Tempe Mayor Corey Woods, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers also attended.

Gallego spoke on two panels: "Planning, Priorities and Partnerships: Ensuring Public Safety at Large-Scale Events" and "Transforming America With Investments In Broadband, CHIPS, and Science."

Giles spoke on one panel: "The Role of Cities: National Strategy on Food, Nutrition, and Health."

Reporter Maritza Dominguez contributed to this report.

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