From the countless years of little league and school sports for my kids to my service to the Cactus League and the Peoria Diamond Club before that, baseball has been a big part of my life for many years. Not only is it “America’s Past Time,” but it is also the original sport where numbers matter.
Even before this era of modern analytics and “moneyball,” generations of fans spoke in hushed tones about batting averages, home runs, strikeouts, and other important numbers. People kept score on their own and stadiums tracked most games around the league in real time. Maybe that’s why records and rankings really seem to matter so much in baseball. Perhaps, also, it’s why Peoria’s records and rankings mean so much to me and why I want to run for Mayor to rack up even more wins for our city.
When you look at our city by the numbers, you find a community that is definitely heading in the right direction. Peoria scores high in both national and local rankings, and when you take in our track record, it comes as no surprise Peoria Arizona was named “No. 1 city to live, work and play in Arizona” (Ranking Arizona, 2021) and No. 1 best city to live in Arizona and the 29th in the country by Money Magazine (2018). For the stat-minded, that’s literally one in a million.
The numbers show that Peoria is a safe community. We have a mayor and council who work well together and a proven track record of commitment to public safety. Our hard work has paid off with Peoria being named in the “Top 15 Safest Cities in the U.S.” (Wallethub, 2019 and 2017) and “22nd Safest City in the United States,” according to the Phoenix Business Journal (2018). Not satisfied to rest on our past success, the council also recently voted to invest even more money into both police officers and firefighters to ensure our first responders can be there when you need them most.
We are also hitting home runs when it comes to attracting jobs and economic opportunities. The City was ranked 4th Best Place to Get a Job (Wallethub, 2018) and the No. 1 city with booming employment growth by CNBC (2017). The proof is in job numbers as well – Peoria’s labor force commuting to jobs in other cities is down to 69 percent from nearly 90 percent just a few years ago. Our city also remains a top tourist destination, racking up recognition as Best Winter Destination in the U.S. (Expedia, 2017) as well as a Top 10 Unique Destination by USA Today (2019).
Peoria also offers outstanding choices for those of all ages and abilities who live in our city. Certainly, our active adult population can agree with Forbes, who ranked Peoria in the Top 25 places to retire in the country (2017). The city has also scored top 10 “Best City to Raise a Family” (2017) and Top 5 disability-friendly cities in the U.S. (2016) by Wallethub.
In the 180 square miles where Peoria resides, it houses Lake Pleasant, more than 30 parks, 20 miles of trails, the Seattle Mariners’ and San Diego Padres’ spring training complex, a historic downtown, and is home to a lively entertainment district. Rent.com has also taken notice of the staggering number of parks, trails, Lake Pleasant Regional Park, and multiple mountain preserves, and ranked Peoria number seven on the list of cities with the most open space, and the city scored as the 12th highest city for green space in the U.S. (2019).
However, the most important number I care about is “One Peoria.” My vision as mayor would be to see our city as a single community who can come together to build a stronger place to live, work, and enjoy an active lifestyle. We cannot and should not be pitting parts of the city against one another or creating divisions along regional, economic, social, or other lines. We have come too far and worked too hard to erase our good work by those who want to foster discord and division. As I said before, our city is heading in the right direction and the numbers don’t lie. I am running for mayor to build on what has been done in the past by excellent leaders like mayors Keegan, Barrett, and Carlat, and to take Peoria to the next level.
If we focus on “One Peoria” – one community, we will continue our domination of countless rankings lists. Every part of our city is All-Star-worthy, and that makes for one spectacular team.