Phoenix City Council elects Debra Stark as new vice mayor

Jan 4, 2024, 4:15 AM | Updated: Jan 5, 2024, 11:39 am

Vice Mayor Debra Stark...

District 3 Councilmember Debra Stark has been working for the city council since 2016. She has also worked as a public servant for Maricopa County and the city of Peoria. (City of Phoenix Photo)

(City of Phoenix Photo)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council elected District 3 Councilwoman Debra Stark to the role of vice mayor on Wednesday.

Mayor Kate Gallego said she looks forward to working alongside Stark, who she described as a dedicated and diligent public servant.

“As our former planning and development director, she has taken on so many challenges, including improving our processes in that area and speeding up timelines for important projects including affordable housing,” Gallego said.

“She’s also been a great leader on public safety and making sure we have the best, safest transportation system. I’m excited to start working with you as vice mayor to make sure Phoenix remains the best city in the country,” she added.

Stark didn’t comment on her promotion, but she congratulated her predecessor’s accomplishments.

Who worked in the role before Vice Mayor Debra Stark?

Stark will replace City Council District 7 Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari, who wants to represent Arizona’s 3rd Congressional district.

Ansari’s desire to run for Congress came after current District 3 Rep. Ruben Gallego announced he would vacate the seat to run for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s position.

Sinema, who began representing Arizona in the U.S. Senate in 2019, is up for reelection this year. Gallego, a Democrat, isn’t the only politician who wants her spot. Republican Kari Lake is also on the campaign trail, along with Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb.

Before the final vote, Ansari said it was an honor to be Phoenix’s vice mayor in 2023.

“We banned source of income discrimination for renters, we passed a $500 million bond program with critical investments across our city, legalized casitas citywide, ordered our first electric buses and a lot, lot more,” she said before the final vote. “Most importantly, we took very decisive action to engage the 800 residents who were living outside of the Zone. We worked to get them into safer shelter and the statistic that I really want to emphasize is that 69% of those individuals are still in shelter and 7% are in permanent shelter.”

Ansari also posted a short video on social media going into more detail about the City Council’s accomplishments last year.

Stark will start her first session as vice mayor at the city’s next formal council meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 24.

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Phoenix City Council elects Debra Stark as new vice mayor