Executive Committee Member Spotlight

City of Peoria
Incorporated: 1954
Population: 154,065
Elevation: 1,140 ft.
County: Maricopa
Area within Limits: 170.48 sq. mi.

Name, title & city/town: Cathy Carlat, Mayor of Peoria
Year elected to office: Elected Mayor November 2014, has served on Peoria City Council representing the fastest-growing district since 2005
Years served as Mayor: Took office January 2015
Years served on the Executive Committee: New member of the Executive Committee as of August 2015
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA, moved to Phoenix in 1969

Why did you decide to serve in local government?
When I was a young mother living in Plano, Texas, I watched the transformation of the area when Ross Perot moved his company headquarters (Electronic Data Systems) from Dallas to Plano. Other corporations followed, and it was a game changer for the city. The corporations were contributing to the community; they were giving to the schools, building parks and contributing to the arts. The children set their sights high - they were working harder in school so they could compete for these jobs and continue to rise up the corporate ladder. They were staying in town to raise their families, and the community itself became very strong and family-oriented. It changed everything for that city. When my family moved to Peoria, I saw a lot of similarities with Plano. I knew I had something to offer this community, an aspirational vision and a focus on economic development.

What are the biggest challenges facing your town today?
Arizona has benefited from explosive growth over the past few decades - Peoria, especially. We have some of the fastest growing areas in the Valley. I do think with that growth comes some significant responsibility on the part of Valley leaders to make thoughtful and careful choices about how we plan for the future. For one, ensuring we have the water supply to support future growth in the desert is very important. In Peoria, we've been banking our water and diversifying our water portfolio strategically, because we don't want future residents to find themselves in a water shortage.

What opportunities do you see for your community?
I see so many opportunities. I'd like to bring more high-paying jobs to Peoria so residents have more time at home enjoying all the things that make our city so great. I'd like to make better use of our natural resource, Lake Pleasant, and develop a statewide or nation-wide conference and tourist attraction.

Another area I am particularly interested in is preserving our open spaces here in the Sonoran Desert. Peoria has pristine views of untouched desert, and that's one of the reasons why people are so attracted to living in our city. I believe protecting certain areas from development actually benefits the economy and boosts investments. Certainly property values are higher, and our quality of life is top-notch, with all the miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails citizens can enjoy. It's also a great attraction for potential businesses looking for a home.

What are you most proud of during your time in office?
I'm doing what I said I would do. I campaigned on a set of priorities and promised that I would remain focused on them. As soon as I took office, I got to work right away on those promises. I'm able to look citizens in the eye and let them know that I'm checking off that list.

I also brought the council together soon after I took office; we established a vision for the city and set some goals and guidelines. I'm really proud of that, because a cohesive and forward-thinking council is crucial to getting work done.

I think we've had some great strides in economic development in the past nine months - we've seen historic companies like Aviage Systems open their doors in Peoria, and we've had some companies commit to putting down roots in areas I am looking to revitalize.

I do appreciate my ability to make things happen as mayor and help citizens that need something. I'm happiest if I can help a citizen's life change for the better.

Why is the League important to cities and towns in Arizona?
The value of the League is the might derived from 91 cities and towns speaking in one voice. There is no government entity closer to the citizens of this state than the leaders elected to represent residents at the local level. By working together through the League, cities and towns have a stronger and more effective voice on statewide policy issues that affect our residents.

League of Arizona Cities and Towns
1820 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ  85007
Phone: 602-258-5786
Fax: 602-253-3874

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