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What are the duties of the City Council?

  • Enacts ordinances, sets policies, and develops an annual Legislative Agenda for the City of Tucson.
  • Oversees the city budget and capital improvements program.
  • Holds weekly council meetings to address issues and concerns in the community.
  • Responds to constituents’ concerns at neighborhood meetings, through written correspondence, and telephone communication, and staff assistance.
  • Serves on Mayor and Council Subcommittees to deal with specific issues such as public safety, youth and family issues, and community services. A subcommittee is composed of three Council Members, including the Mayor.

Ward 3

Ward 5

Ward 6

Synopsis of the Ward 3 Forum

by Jack Wampler

Here are the highlights from the Ward 3 Forum hosted by PCDP on June 5th, 2021:

Starting with transportation, the candidates had differing views on the Regional Transportation Authority, an independent taxing district approved in 2006 meant to fund transportation projects in Pima County. Juan Padres supports the RTA whereas Kevin Dahl is in opposition to the district. Furthermore, Kevin Dahl noted priorities such as the expansion of the modern streetcar, an improved bus system, and an improvement of walkable areas. Juan Padres highlighted the need for an electric fleet of public busses and vans, more nimble bus systems, and safer walkable areas and crossings. 

On the environment, particularly water waste, Juan Padres highlighted education in terms of our water future, as well as being very watchful of companies that are water wasteful. Kevin Dahl, a longtime conservationist, also spoke on the importance of education and the need to use technology such as water harvesting to decrease water waste. 

Both candidates recognized the crisis of housing affordability in terms of rent and ownership.

Padres pointed out that Ward 3 has never elected a minority Council Member even though the ward is approximately 40% Hispanic and also spoke on the importance of policing but said that the police force should better represent their community and should move towards volunteer and communal policing. Dahl noted his privilege but said that there are improvements that can be made of the TPD, including working more with the community and particularly people of color.

Jack is one of our Summer 2021 Interns

City Council Elections and Why You Should Pay Attention

by Greer Warren

The city of Tucson will hold a primary and a general election in 2021 for City Council Wards 3, 5 and 6.  The primary will be on August 3 and the General Election will be on November 2.  Both of these elections will be BY MAIL ONLY.  You will not have to request a mail-in ballot – it will automatically come to you.  

Tucson does its city elections a little differently than most other places (of course it does).  The primary election will be held only in the Wards that have open seats, so that is 3, 5 and 6. But the General election is city-wide and all registered voters in Tucson will have the chance to vote in these three races.

If you don’t know what city Ward you live in, you can check your voter ID card; you also check at and click on Voter Information.

If you have moved recently, ensure that you RE-REGISTER to vote using your updated address,

Why are City Council elections important?  Tucson is governed by the six-member City Council, with a Mayor and a hired City Manager.  This form of government is called a council-manager form of government. The role of the Mayor in Tucson government is fairly weak, compared with the Council.  City Council decides the budget of the City – what money comes in and what funds are expended.  The current budget for the city of Tucson is $1.7 billion.  The website for the City of Tucson is

It is important that we elect people to City Council who share our Democratic values and vision of what government should be. Much of what we think of as every day quality of life in our city is controlled by the City Council.  Here are some examples of what our City Council spends our taxpayer money on: Police and fire; streets; parks & rec; air & water quality; trash and recycling; water and sewage services; legal services (prosecutor and public defender); building codes and permits; public transportation; infrastructure projects; Reid Park Zoo.

And what can City Council members do for us?  Your elected City Council member is your connection to the city government.  Their offices are staffed with people who stand ready to help you with your questions and issues.  For example, say someone is dumping refuse in the wash behind your house or in a utility easement near you. Say someone is spraying graffiti on your wall.  Say you need some help in determining if you are allowed to build a guesthouse on your property. Say you have a gigantic pothole on your street.  Your City Ward office is a great first call, to get guidance on which department can best handle your needs and also get some advocacy in dealing with the red tape.

Local government is important to you and to your family.  Our local elected officials stand ready to help you!  So, ensure your voter registration is up to date and be on the look-out for your city election ballots in August and November.  If you have questions about the elections or the candidate, you can contact the Pima County Democratic Party at (520) 326-3716.

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