Here is a compilation of all the answers Jack Hastings submitted to the “Council Candidate Q&A” series that the Surprise Independent ran over the last two months. Mr. Hastings is running against Councilman David Sanders and write-in Kawika Henderson in District 5 in the Aug. 4 primary election.
Residents trust me to serve because they know I am fighting to make their voice heard in our growing city. They know that I bring a safety-centered, fiscally responsible approach to government. I have been endorsed by Police here in Arizona. I teach the U.S. Constitution at Valley Vista High School, where I graduated from. I have served on a city commission and passed balanced budgets. I hold a Bachelor Degree from Arizona State University and am finishing up my Masters Degree.
Public safety: I am honored to be endorsed by police. Public safety and the safety of our residents and families needs to be our top priority in Surprise.
Jobs: Our residents want places to work and things to do in Surprise. Residents and families should not be forced to leave Surprise for entertainment and jobs.
Education: I teach social studies at the high school I attended as a student. I am committed to fostering public-private partnerships between schools and local businesses to benefit our residents
How do you keep a balanced budget with the uncertainties of COVID-19?
On a federal and state level, we need to first work to develop a vaccine so that the COVID-19 does not have a long-range impact. However, to keep the budget balanced, we need to cut wasteful spending and be more prepared for emergencies as a city. I have worked to pass balanced budgets on the commission I served on for the city. Throughout this pandemic we’ve seen hundreds of city employees furloughed and city amenities remaining closed for budgetary reasons while other cities are more comfortable financially. Instead of managing taxpayer dollars more responsibility, the city has raised taxes and fees and passed that cost onto you. I don’t believe this is right, we need to manage money better.
The city lost $8 million dollars in sales tax revenue in April due to COVID-19. The larger, long term threat to tourism in Surprise is the lack of attracting people to our city for family-friendly entertainment. Spring Training is a great revenue source, but it only lasts a few months out of the year. We need to diversify our year-round entertainment opportunities in Surprise for all residents from our seniors to our college students. Drawing tourists and giving residents options for entertainment in Surprise helps us capture more of those tax dollars in the city and put them to work for us.
Our City Center and “Downtown” Surprise remains undeveloped after years of promises. Residents and families want places to go and things to do in Surprise. We shouldn’t be forced to leave for entertainment and jobs. Since last year, the city has missed out on five major businesses coming to the West Valley: Nike and Amazon went to Goodyear, Microsoft to El Mirage, and Red Bull and White Claw are building across the street from us in Glendale. We need to cut regulations and incentivize jobs and businesses to come here to benefit our residents.
What is Surprise’s biggest recent missed opportunity?
Last year, the city removed [curbside] recycling. In addition, the city removed Fire Engine 305 from our busiest fire station here in Surprise District 5. The biggest issue with this was that there was no public discussion before these decisions were made. We need to return Fire Engine 305 to service and bring back recycling. In addition, Surprise needs to give residents the chance to have a say in these types of decisions before they are made.
Public Safety. Maricopa is one of the fastest-growing counties in the U.S., and as our city grows, we have to make sure our police officers, firefighters and other first responders aren’t stretched too thin, and that they have the resources to stay safe and keep us safe. I have been on ride-alongs with both Surprise Police and Fire [departments], and they both worry about keeping up with the growth of our city.
The best thing about Surprise are its people. As I’ve talked to more and more residents from different backgrounds, I’ve found that our city is more than just the buildings, but the people that reside in them. We especially have many veterans, who we are so blessed and thankful for. We wouldn’t be here without them. The people of Surprise give me hope for a Better Surprise. Check out our website at JackforSurprise.com