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Election 2024

Apache Junction mayor candidates explain their visions for city

Posted 7/9/24

Apache Junction residents Ari Kalan and Chip Wilson met the April 1 filing deadline to run for the position of mayor for a two-year term and will appear on the primary ballot.

The 2024 primary …

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Election 2024

Apache Junction mayor candidates explain their visions for city

Posted

Apache Junction residents Ari Kalan and Chip Wilson met the April 1 filing deadline to run for the position of mayor for a two-year term and will appear on the primary ballot.

The 2024 primary election is Tuesday, July 30, with a voter registration deadline of July 1. The 2024 General Election is Tuesday, Nov. 5, with the voter registration deadline Oct. 7.

Register to vote at https://servicearizona.com/VoterRegistration/selectLanguage.

The Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent sent questionnaires to the candidates about their plans for their next terms. In alphabetical order, they are below:

Ari Kalan
Ari Kalan

Name: Howdy! My name is Ari Kalan.

Age: I am 36 years old and will be 37 when I take office.

Education: After graduating from Apache Junction High School in 2006, I furthered my education at Central Arizona College and Arizona State University. I later obtained my KB2 Arizona general contractor’s license.

Present or most recent business/employment: I am a self-employed licensed general contractor, owning and running a construction business named Kallan Brothers Construction. We take on all scopes of projects ranging from bathroom renovations, home additions, commercial suite buildouts and new home builds.

Previous public office, boards and commissions: Currently, I sit on Apache Junction’s Planning and Zoning Commission serving my second term. I am also the vice president and secretary for a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to help fund youth sports in Apache Junction and the surrounding area.

Twitter, Facebook, website and/or e-mail address for constituents to learn more about you: If you would like to learn more about me and my campaign, you can visit my Facebook page @AriKalanForAJ. You can also email me directly at AriforAJ@Gmail.com.

What is your vision for the community?: I envision Apache Junction holding on to what’s always made our city a unique and great place to live by doing all that we can to retain our small town rural atmosphere, lifestyles and appeal. It is important that we develop an entertainment district in the heart of AJ for our growing local population that embodies the distinctiveness of our city. With the expansion of Apache Junction to the south, it is important to make sure that we don’t become a divided city. As a community, it is necessary that we make sure that the new expansion and historical AJ remain connected not just as a city but as a community with purpose and direction.

What are your top three campaign issues and why?: Over the past few years the city has approved many apartments and rental housing communities owned by corporations. It is imperative that future housing developments give residents the opportunity to have something to call their own and give them a vested interest in the community. We also need to develop an entertainment district to give residents a place to go and enjoy time with family and friends without having to leave the city. This will help the city capture tourism revenue that would otherwise be spent in neighboring cities. As a city that survives on sales tax, this would keep AJ thriving well into the future. We need to make sure that with the current and inevitable growth, we grow responsibly and make sure that our infrastructure and amenities can withstand the influx of traffic. I will work closely with ADOT and keep the pressure on them to resolve the daily and seasonal traffic backup on the 60 by adding at least one more lane in both directions from Signal Butte through past Gold Canyon. Furthermore, I will work toward a solution to connect residents to the closest current transportation hub on Power road.

What makes you different from the other candidate for mayor? How will you make a difference on the City Council?: Not only do I live in Apache Junction, this is the city that I grew up in. I understand what this city means to the people who live here as well as its appeal to newcomers. As a father of three young children I am passionate to make sure Apache Junction remains a beautiful and safe place to live. On the council, I am able to bridge the gap between the past and future of the city by being a voice for our deep-rooted residents and a representative for our residents to come.

Name one un-funded or under-funded program or project you would promote as a member of the City Council and why: As a member of the City Council, I would promote an incentive and grant program geared toward helping small businesses more easily open in our city’s historic and older buildings. By securing Historic Preservation Tax Credits and exploring all other avenues we can help these businesses quickly open and keep and create the distinctiveness of our city.

***

Chip Wilson
Chip Wilson

Name: Chip Wilson

Age: 76

Education: High School graduate from a small high school in Spencerville, Ohio. Also have three years of college while in the Air Force working on an electrical degree. Also a certified electronic technician that repaired and certified electronics test equipment for all military aircraft.
Present or most recent business/employment: Presently retired from the Air Force with over 22 years of service. Also retired from the Boeing Co. as an electronic technician that repaired and certified all the Boeing test equipment, after over 17 years of service at the Boeing facility in Mesa.

Previous public office, boards and commissions: Was elected as an Apache Junction City Council Member in 2007 and in 2017 was appointed to serve as Vice Mayor by the City Council Members for 4 years. In 2020 was elected as mayor and have served in that position now for 3 1/2 years. I have served the citizens of Apache Junction as a part of the city council for over 17 years. Also was elected by the membership as the President of the Superstitions Horsemen’s Association for 7 years.

Twitter, Facebook, website and/or e-mail address for constituents to learn more about you: My email address is Walterchip@aol.com and Facebook

What is your vision for the community?: I will continue to direct our city for controlled growth that will also preserve our small town feel of our community. I will also resist any attempt to eliminate the rural areas of our community. These large lot areas, the northern and eastern part of our community, are what need to be protected and preserved. The new growth to the south is for the higher-density developments. I also want to get the flood control retention basin on Weekes Wash accomplished. This wash currently affects over 4,000 homes and is a major expense for the city in repairs, removal of debris, and emergency response for people who are in need of assistance during the flooding of the monsoon seasons. This will save lives of not only the citizens of our community but it will also save the lives of our police officers and firemen that have to be placed in danger during this flooding event. This will also reduce the cost of insurance and remove most of these homes from the increased flood insurance premiums they are currently paying. This is my very top priority and the city has currently received a $44.5 million grant from the federal government. We are also working on obtaining additional funding from Flood Control District of Maricopa County and Pinal County. We are also working to obtain the land from the Bureau of Land Management and State Land Department and have worked with SRP for the utilities right away they had.

What are your top three campaign issues and why?: 1. Working with Pinal County to finish the retention basin in the central area of our community. This will control the flooding that occurs in the central and downtown areas of the community.
2. Preserving the rural areas of our community and control and slow the growth that will help preserve the small town feel of our great community. I want to preserve the ability of a person to have livestock to include horses. It is great to see someone riding their horse in our community and it is what this community is known for. Seeing that horse and rider is the announcement that “I have arrived in Apache Junction, a great horse community.”
3. To get the Weekes Wash Retention Basin under construction and completed. This will be a major safety issue for citizens and first responders of our community. This will also prevent flood damage to residents’ property and city property throughout the entire eastern and southern part of our community.

What makes you different from the other candidate for mayor? How will you make a difference on the City Council? I have been involved with the city now for over 30 years. I started out addressing the City Council over horse-related issues. I was the president of the Superstitions Horsemen’s Association for seven years before running for office of City Council. I am also the president of the Arizona Horse Council and have represented them several times at the U.S. Capitol concerning horse-related issues. I also set on the Arizona Department of Agriculture Large Animal advisory board. I’ve been setting on the Apache Junction City Council for several years that now I am recognized as the representative of Apache Junction throughout the state. I will continue to represent Apache Junction at every activity that the city is involved with like currently I am the chairman of the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. I am also the Apache Junction representative on the Maricopa Association of Government Regional Council, Pinal Partnership Board member, Greater PHX Economic Council, Phoenix East Valley Partnership/Economic Vitality Committee, and the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. I will also continue to contact our state representatives and senators to include the governor to address legislative bills that affect the city. I will also address our national representatives and senators about issues and needs of our city and area. I have had several conversations with them about Weekes Wash and Highway 88. I’ve been successful in obtaining some needed funds and recognition of our desires and needs for our area.

Name one un-funded or under-funded program or project you would promote as a member of the City Council and why: The funding of the Weekes Wash Retention Basin because it will help not only 4,000 homeowners but will save lives of our firemen and police officers as they respond to emergency situations during the Monsoon seasons.