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Gallego continues to emphasize priorities after Phoenix election

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Kate Gallego was elected mayor of Phoenix less than 24 hours ago, but she continued to emphasize her priorities she hopes to tackle during this legislative session and beyond.

“(Public safety) has to be the first priority. We definitely are looking forward to making sure we have strong police and fire departments,” the mayor-elect told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Wednesday.

But Gallego said investing in public safety doesn’t mean just hiring more officers: “We also need support staff. It was taking us months and months just to fulfill a public records request if someone needed a police report.

“We weren’t testing all of the rape kits when I was elected to city council,” she said.

“We need to invest in better technology, so much more of modern policing will require understanding big data and being able to fight against crimes that are occurring online.”

In addition, Gallego said the city needs to start building a so-called rainy day fund and tackle the high debt levels that Phoenix faces.

“My top priority and my background is in economic development, moving us toward high-wage jobs, and we need to plan ahead for the economy of the future,” she said.

“(I would like to) say that we are saving for the future and not borrowing. Of course, we will have to continue to invest for the long term.”

Gallego was elected Tuesday over fellow Democrat and former city council member Daniel Valenzuela by about 21,000 votes after the polls closed.

She will be the third woman in the city’s history to hold the position of mayor and will take over for Thelda Williams, who was serving as interim mayor since Greg Stanton resigned last summer to make a successful run for Congress.

Gallego will be sworn into office March 21.

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