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Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams lays out priorities for tenure

Thelda Williams (middle) shortly after being sworn in as Phoenix mayor. (Twitter/@TheldaWilliams1)

PHOENIX — Thelda Williams has only served as Phoenix mayor for two weeks, but she already has her sights placed on two priorities to tackle during her tenure: Public safety and infrastructure.

“I have a list,” Williams told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Chad Benson Thursday about what she wants to accomplish.

Among the items on that list? Hiring more police officers and fireman and heading a review of their buildings.

Williams said the city has been “poor” about keeping up the maintenance with police and fire departments.

Another area that Williams said could be improved was the response times for public safety officials. She said she wants to reallocate some first responders to cut down on areas with long response times.

Williams took over as mayor last month, after Greg Stanton stepped down to pursue a congressional run for U.S. Rep. Krysten Sinema’s (D-Ariz.) seat.

She has served as interim mayor twice before: Once in 1994, when she served for seven months after former Mayor Paul Johnson resigned and again in 2012, when she served for three days after former mayor Phil Gordon stepped down early.

Williams said while this tenure feels like “deja vu in some ways,” it feels different in others because the “city has grown a lot since then.”

“Downtown Phoenix has changed the most,” she said. “It was a dream in ’89 (when she was first elected to the Phoenix City Council) that we would have people downtown, especially after 5 p.m. It would be dead.

“Now it’s very active. It’s a whole new environment, a different dynamic. It’s wonderful.”

Williams will serve as mayor until Nov. 6, when voters will elect Stanton’s replacement in a special election.

Council members who want to run for mayor will be forced to resign by Aug. 8.

Phoenix City Council members Daniel Valenzuela and Kate Gallego, Moses Sanchez, Nicholas Sarwark and Michael Lafferty have already announced their bids for mayor.

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