Ryan Winkle runs for Mesa mayor after being kicked off its council in 2017

Photo Courtesy Ryan Winkle

Axios Phoenix

Ryan Winkle is asking voters to send him back to Mesa City Hall as mayor seven years after the former councilmember was booted from office following a DUI arrest.

Why it matters: Mesa Mayor John Giles is termed out, and Winkle joins a long list of hopefuls who want to lead the Valley’s second largest city through an era of growth and development.

Catch up quick: Winkle was arrested by Tempe Police in 2017 — four months after he took office. He was found to have a blood alcohol content 0.22 and served six days in jail. It was his second DUI.

The Mesa City Council unanimously voted to remove Winkle from office that year for violating the city’s code of ethics.

The latest: Winkle formally launched his mayoral campaign Thursday night.

What they’re saying: “I don’t worry too much about [competitors using the DUI against me] because it’s a fact of life. It’s something that’s made me and made the person that I am,” Winkle told Axios Phoenix.

He said he spent a lot of time in therapy working through his past issues and talks openly about that chapter of his life.

He added the community has been overwhelmingly supportive.

Zoom in: Since leaving public office, Winkle said, he’s continued his community work through his nonprofit, which works with businesses and neighborhoods in low-to-moderate income census tracts to build upward mobility.

He’s also the chair of the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Arizona Fair Housing Center.

What’s next: The election is shaping up to be a competitive one.

Seven other people have submitted statements of interest to run for Mesa Mayor on July 30, including former Mayor Scott Smith and current Councilmember Mark Freeman.

All candidates have until April 1 to submit 1,000 valid signatures to qualify.

If no candidate gets more than 50% of votes, the top two vote-getters will face off in November.

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March 2024