Running unopposed, Queen Creek Council Member Julia Wheatley is virtually assured of being the town’s next mayor.
She will be replacing current Mayor Gail Barney who chose not to run for reelection. The primary election takes place Aug. 2.
Wheatley was first elected to the town council in June 2010, and was reelected in November 2014, and again in August 2018.
According to her councilmember biography, she serves on the town's Budget Committee, the Economic Development Commission, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee and represents the town on the League Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies with a minor in Criminal Justice and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration to extend her interest in law, politics and local government.
Wheatley, her husband, Benjamin, and their four children moved to Queen Creek in 2007.
Below are Wheatley’s responses to a Queen Creek Independent questionnaire:
Name: Julia Wheatley
Occupation: Mortgage officer, Town Council member
Number of years in Queen Creek: 15
Why are you running?
Over 12 years ago, at about 2 a.m. on Black Friday, I left my three-week-old baby in the care of my husband at home so I could go to Target to collect signatures of people that were waiting outside in line for Black Friday specials. There were nine candidates running for three spots. I worked really hard that election and won. It was a great feeling.
I can’t help but think of the similarities between watching the growth and development of my now 12-year-old daughter and what we’ve seen here in Queen Creek over the last 12 years. Whenever we have family that comes to town they are always amazed at all changes in Queen Creek, just like they are amazed at how tall my four kids have grown. Just like raising kids, as an elected official I’m always working on the proper balance; always distinguishing the needs vs. the wants … just doing the best I can.
I’ve probably read over 100,000 pages of council meeting documents. Filed hours and hours of meetings, debates, dialogs and negotiations. We’ve built miles and miles of roads, fire stations, parks, started a police department, welcomed many businesses through our economic development programs, and always try to make Queen Creek a family friendly community. The statistics show that families love migrating to our community.
I hope that during the next four years working as mayor of Queen Creek that I will be able to help navigate the difficulties of such a rapidly expanding town. Over the past 12 years, we have been developing infrastructure and laying the groundwork to build upon an incredible town. We are reaping the benefits of the planning and investment of our town leadership over the years.
Sometimes we don’t see the fruits of our labors for many years. I hope that one day I can look back and be proud of not only who my children have become but also what our wonderful town has become.
How do you envision Queen Creek keeping its small-town feel as the population grows?I am told by residents almost daily that they want to keep the "small town feel" here in town. People want to feel connected. Keeping a small-town feel has everything to do with connectivity. Connection can come from our trails and parks to fun town events like, "What’s Poppin Queen Creek,” our annual “Pancake Social,” and so many more. These events allow residents the opportunity to ask questions and get excited about the new businesses, roadway improvements, fire stations, and most importantly meet face to face with their elected officials. This keeps us connected and links us together as a small town. A small town is a town that is connected to amazing nonprofit entities, faith-based organizations, school districts and charter schools, a growing business community all working together with a spirit of collaboration. I always look forward to the results of the citizen survey that the town council conducts regularly to make sure we are on the right track as a council and to make sure our priorities are in line with the town residents' priorities.
What are your thoughts on plans to build new parks in the town?
Over the years, our town councils have done a tremendous job at investing in critical infrastructure with a fiscally conservative approach for our growing community. Our priorities have been focused on public safety, roads and sustainable water. In a few short years, we will be near build out in most of those critical areas, and it is important that we focus on areas of our community that deliver recreational opportunities to further the quality of life our residents would enjoy.
I was surprised to see how many town residents frequent parks outside of Queen Creek to recreate. As a council member, my desire is for our residents not to have to leave Queen Creek to find recreational amenities.
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