In addition to the restaurant and retail jobs available in Queen Creek, employers are needed with clean industrial and manufacturing businesses, Queen Creek Town Council candidates say.
Queen Creek residents Robin Benning, Jeremy Benson, Jeff Brown, Jason Gad and Leah Martineau have filed petitions to run for Town Council.
The seats of three members of council --- Mr. Benning, Mr. Brown and Councilmember Jake Hoffman --- all who were elected in 2016, are up for re-election. Mr. Hoffman is not running as he is seeking office at the Arizona House of Representatives.
The deadline to register to vote in the Aug. 4 primary election is July 6. If needed, the general election will be Nov. 3. Register to vote at Servicearizona.com or request a form from Maricopa County at 602-506-1511 (maricopa.gov) or Pinal County at 520-866-7100 (pinalcountyaz.gov).
For more information, contact the town clerk’s office at 480-358-3211.
Independent Newsmedia reached out to each council candidate seeking answers to a variety of questions, which will be detailed at yourvalley.net in the coming weeks. Below are their answers on what types of jobs does Queen Creek need; and what is your plan for economic development?:
Clean industries from healthcare to information technology, insurance and financial services are needed in the town, Mr. Benning, 60, said.
“Queen Creek is a great place to raise a family. We have excellent schools, a plentitude of entertainment and shopping venues, and we have many restaurants to serve both our residents and the folks from around our community and the region,” he said.
“We need to continue to build for the future --- to encourage local residents to grow their small businesses and to attract clean industries such as healthcare, information technology, insurance and financial services,” Mr. Benning said.
“As we grow, and being next to the Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport, we will continue to experience economic spillover as new employment opportunities come to the area and our local businesses continue to grow,” he said.
He is on Twitter @RobinBenningQC and on Facebook @ReelectRobin.
Mr. Benning can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-762-1496.
The local economy will better grow if entrepreneurs and business owners are supported, Mr. Benson, 37, said.
“The more we can support our local entrepreneurs --- as well as large and small business owners --- our local economy will grow,” Mr. Benson said.
“As we support emerging business, there will be more job options for residents to choose from,” he said.
He owns iFixem Phone Repairs in Queen Creek Marketplace; and Light Your Garage.
Higher-wage manufacturing, office and tech jobs are needed in Queen Creek, Mr. Brown, 53, said.
“QC over the past six years has had a lot of restaurant and retail jobs, which of course are necessary for a growing population --- but my focus has been and will continue to be on attracting higher-wage manufacturing, office and tech jobs,” he said.
He’ll work to implement two goals that were recently added to a town strategic plan, he contends.
“Looking ahead I will continue to work with staff and Town Council to implement two recently added goals to our corporate strategic plan. 1) Working in tandem with landowners, we will increase speed to market for employment use and manufacturing opportunities; and 2) Develop an internal program to assist ‘strategic projects’ through the development services process,” Mr. Brown said.
“In addition to those two more ‘active’ solutions, I’ll continue to make sure that our regulatory and tax burdens remain low and are not an impediment to attracting good employment opportunities for our residents,” he said.
Mr. Brown is self-employed in consultant services --- since 2007.
Look to the northern border of the town for the next economic development and employment area, Mr. Gad, 46, said.
“Queen Creek has been tremendously blessed in the last 20 years with such economic growth as our community has increased in size. There was a time, not that long ago, that we didn’t even have local grocery stores and our residents would have to drive 30 minutes for basic shopping. We now see many local, quality businesses able to provide goods, services and employment opportunities,” he said.
“In the near term, I want to see us continue to attract local businesses especially in the areas of entertainment and ‘destinations’ for our families. As we look to the future, we need to think and focus strategically on the ‘next stage’ of economic development and employment for Queen Creek,” Mr Gad said.
An employment corridor will open up with the expansion of State Route 24 from Ellsworth Road east to Ironwood Drive, he said.
“In my view, the most important next step will be the expansion and growth of our town’s northern border to the planned extension of the Arizona State Route 24 freeway that will extend east and southeast from Ellsworth Road where it stops today,” Mr. Gad said.
“This future freeway, running along a northern Queen Creek boundary, will provide the vital adjacent zoned areas supporting new types of businesses, industries and employment opportunities for Queen Creek residents much like you see along the 202 Santan freeway in Chandler. As Queen Creek council member, I will do everything I can to accelerate this development and ensure Queen Creek is best positioned for the future,” he said.
He works as a strategic supply chain manager in the financial services industry.
By eliminating burdensome and unnecessary regulations, the Town of Queen Creek can become known as the best place to do business in Arizona, Ms. Martineau, 38, said.
“It is widely known that Queen Creek is not geographically positioned to be a major jobs hub, so I believe the town should focus on being flexible and responsive to the market, which will enable us to be an innovator and trendsetter in terms of commercial activity and locates within the region,” she said.
“We should create the most taxpayer-friendly environment possible and eliminate as many burdensome and unnecessary regulations as we are able to further cement ourselves as the best place to do business in Arizona. Accomplishing these goals will deliver both the jobs and commercial destinations that Queen Creek citizens want,” Ms. Martineau said.
She teaches 11th and 12th grade government and economics at East Valley High School. She previously taught preschool, kindergarten and first grade for 13 years combined.