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Steve Farley announces run for Tucson mayor

After weeks of public discussion, former state legislator Steve Farley said Thursday morning that he will join in the Democratic primary for Tucson mayor.

Farley offered no details about his campaign in a brief announcement on social media, but spoke to a group of party insiders Thursday evening.

"I love living in Tucson and I care about our community, which is why I’m running for mayor," he tweeted.

A news release from Farley's campaign provided a longer quote: "I moved here 25 years ago, and I've never looked back. We've got serious challenges ahead of us, but Tucsonans are smart, passionate people. I believe that we can find ways to protect ourselves from climate change and from Donald Trump if we pull together as a community."

Speaking to the Nucleus Club group Thursday night, Farley focused on his experience in the Legislature, and noted his connection to Tucson as a business owner and graphic artist. Farley mentioned his work in the West Side's Menlo Park area, working with low-income students and activists to create a history of eight barrio neighborhoods.

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said last month that he would not seek a third term.

Farley, 56, who served in the state Senate, unsuccessfully sought the Democratic gubernatorial nomination last year, but lost to David Garcia.

Farley said he'll speak about his campaign at a meeting of the Democratic Party's Nucleus Club on Thursday at 6 p.m.

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Farley, an artist who created the photographic murals at the Broadway entrance to Downtown, was a transportation activist before being first elected to the Legislature. He entered the state House after the 2006 election.

During his time as a lawmaker, Farley served as House assistant minority leader, and then as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.

Farley told the Democratic group Thursday about his work on the Tucson Portrait Project, which placed photos on glazed ceramic tiles at the entrance to Downtown. The Broadway underpass was dedicated in May 1, 1999, nearly 20 years ago, and he said that "hundreds of people" tell me that their "beloved relative" is up on that wall. "The thing is there's only 18 of them up there," he said, drawing laughs.

"But that's the point, everyone has someone who represents them." Farley was also involved in the 4th Avenue underpass public art project, that does feature photographs of hundreds of Tucsonans emblazoned on ceramic tiles.

Prior to being elected, he unsuccessfully advocated for a light-rail line along the Broadway corridor, and then worked to establish the Regional Transportation Authority. He also pushed for the Sun Link streetcar line Downtown. Farley noted he worked with then-RTA chair Steve Christy, now a Republican county supervisor, in "crossing bridges" to get the federal funding for the streetcar.

"Our community is strengthened through our diversity and our history," he said Thursday night. "When we listen and when we honor, when we respect each other, and, when we work together, thanks to the hard work of many, that Downtown thriving once again, like it was in the 1940s and the 1950s."

Farley will face at least one opponent in the primary, and likely more. City Councilwoman Regina Romero announced Wednesday that she's running for mayor rather than seeking re-election to her West Side Ward 1 seat.

Developer Randi Dorman is publicly discussing seeking the mayor's seat. Councilman Paul Durham has also floated his name as a possible candidate. He would have to resign to run for mayor.

The Democratic side of the municipal elections will be crowded, with at least three open seats being contested.

Last month, Southeast Side Councilwoman Shirley Scott said she would not seek a seventh term. That leaves Ward 2's Paul Cunningham as the sole incumbent seeking re-election this year. On the GOP side, only former TUSD Governing Board member Mike Hicks has signaled any interest in running; he's anticipated to seek Scott's former seat. Also running for that Ward 4 seat is Democrat Nikki Lee.

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No Republicans have yet come forward to run for mayor.

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1 comment on this story

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4 comments
Jan 10, 2019, 6:46 pm
-1 +0

Hey Dylan, I interviewed Steve Farley today. Check out Senator Steve Farley is Running for Mayor of Tucson to Protect the City, https://blogforarizona.net/senator-steve-farley-is-running-for-mayor-of-tucson-to-protect-the-city/

~Larry

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Farley announces his mayoral bid before the Democrats' Nucleus Club on Thursday night.